From the blog of Neil Chenoweth, who has done more than most to track News Corp’s PayTV career. At the end of this blog about Ray Adams, former Met commander and deputy head of NDS security (reporting direct to Murdoch himself), Chenoweth sketches out an interesting timeline around the murder of Daniel Morgan (alleged to be about police corruption) and the suicide of policeman, Taffy Holmes.
The question all this raises is: What was Ray Adams doing in 1987? Three separate corruption-related investigations saw major cross-over of personnel. These are the key dates in 1987:
February: Commander Thelma Wagstaff was appointed head of SO11, the criminal intelligence division of Scotland Yard. But by mid-afternoon of the day of her appointment, Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn write in their book Untouchables, it had been reversed and the SO11 job given to the newly promoted Commander Adams.
February: A detective called Derek Haslam arrested a mid-level drug dealer called Raymond Gray, who made a series of claims about a senior Met officer.
March 10: Daniel Morgan, a partner of Southern Investigations, found dead in car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London. Mr Morgan’s family believe he was on the verge of exposing police corruption when he was murdered. Bawdsey documents: DS Davidson* “was attached to the investigation into the axe murder of former policeman Daniel Morgan in 1987″. Met later tells Ellison it can find no record of this.
April 3: Morgan’s partner Jonathan Rees, his two brother-in-law, detective sergeant Sid Fillery, who was part of the initial murder investigation, and two other detectives arrested, but released without charge.
April 9: Gray tells Haslam that Adams received series of corrupt payments dating back to 1973. CIB2’s deputy assistant commissioner Peter Winship opens Operation Russell under the Police Complaints Authority into Gray’s claim and into an unrelated allegation about Adams having an improper relationship with his former informant Kenneth Noye.
May: Adams has meeting with his friend Detective Sergeant Taffy Holmes, who has been described as a former partner of Davidson, to discuss the investigation into Adams. (Adams has told the Guardian that he did not know who Davidson was and that the corrupt payments targeted by Operation Russell were made to another police officer).
Holmes had been part of the investigation of the ₤26 million Brinks Mats robbery which had led to Noye being convicted of handling the stolen gold, after he was acquitted of stabbing an undercover officer to death. Holmes was in a long-term relationship with Jean Burgess, the ex-wife of armed robber Henry Burgess.
Untouchables quotes Haslam on Holmes: “He told me [in early June 1987] that he believed he had been photographed meeting with Henry Burgess and Ray Adams in Jean Burgess’s back garden a few weeks before.”
The Guardian wrote in 2012 that a Met inquiry found Holmes had met Adams during the corruption inquiry and was believed to have passed him details of the allegations and of the investigation’s progress.
June/July: Untouchables quotes Adams referring to what appears to be a second meeting:
“Adams denied having an unauthorised secret meeting with Holmes on a golf course that backed on to his home. He said he was walking his dog and bumped into Taffy who used to go shooting on the golf course. The conversation was limited to warning Taffy to be careful because the dog was off its lead.”
Ellison quotes a report by Commander Wagstaff which confirms that Adams had at least two meetings with Holmes. Wagstaff concluded:
a) That the investigating officer came to the following conclusions capable of amounting to reprehensible conduct by Mr Adams during the course of a complaints investigation:
Mr Adams had failed to report meetings with Detective Constable Alan Holmes as he should have done; and
he had also, contrary to what he asserted, engineered a meeting with DC Holmes via a criminal intermediary against DC Holmes’ wishes, as he needed to know what he was going to say to the complaints investigators about an earlier meeting they had had, which in the opinion of the investigating officer bordered on interfering with the complaints investigation;
and that in each of these respects his conduct was considered by the reporting officer to be highly questionable and unprofessional.
b) That otherwise the investigating officer found the various complaints concerning Mr Adams to be unsubstantiated by the balance of the evidence before him.
July 29: Holmes, under pressure to give evidence against Adams, shoots himself in his backyard.
“Just before he killed himself Taffy told his [former] partner, detective sergeant John Davidson, that he planned to kill Haslam, who he believed had comprehensively betrayed him to CIB2.”
“An inquest found he had killed himself, on the eve of Adams being interviewed by corruption investigators. . . . Holmes, a close colleague of Adams, was close friends with Davidson and had partnered with him. On his final day alive Holmes spent most of his time in the company of Davidson, who has denied allegations he was corrupt in the Lawrence murder investigation or during his policing career.”
October: Customs and Excise investigators catch Officer XX received packages from Clifford Norris. Bawdsey file states that Adams later reinstated Officer XX to active role in Surveillance after recommendation he be dismissed. Adams said he never heard of Officer XX.
It should be stressed that no adverse findings have ever been made against Adams, or Davidson.Both retired with full pensions.
*CORRECTION from Neil Chenoweth’s post: this is reported not John Davidson, but Malcolm.