With considerable speed and grace, on Monday 16 March, Rupert Murdoch replied to Alastair’s letter, promising to co-operate with the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel inquiry, and explaining how News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee have already complied with requests from the police and the IPCC.
Questions about the role of News of the World and surveillance of chief investigating officer and his family were part of James Murdoch’s formal written submission to the Leveson Inquiry
My original blog on the letter is below.
Today, on the anniversary of his brother’s brutal murder in 1987, Alastair Morgan makes an impassioned appeal to Rupert Murdoch to fully co-operate with the Independent Panel Inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, chaired by Baroness O’Loan.
The full text of the letter Alastair just hand delivered to Rupert Murdoch is here . But the personal appeal towards the end is particularly striking:
The work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel is almost entirely dependent on disclosure and I am appealing to you today – on the 28th anniversary of my brother’s murder – to ensure that News Corporation discloses all relevant material in confidence to the Panel.
Daniel’s murder, the police corruption and the ensuing years of failed investigations have been agony for the whole family. Daniel’s children have grown up without a father and my mother is now 86 years old. We need to know the truth about what happened to Daniel and why. You are in a unique position to help us finally lay Daniel to rest.
We feel that information released should include:
News International emails deleted in 2010, but reconstructed in 7 ‘datapools’ by the software company Stroz Freidberg, and available for search on the Nomad system;
Any relevant News International paperwork, formerly stored at the Crown archives; and
The results of any internal investigations, such as the interviews carried out by lawyers from Linklaters in 2011-2012.
Finally, I would also ask you to urge any of your employees or former employees who have information about the murder or activities of Southern Investigations to contact the panel.
Having spent nearly four years working on this story in the wake of the Milly Dowler scandal, I’ve become more and more convinced that phone hacking was just the tip of an iceberg of illegal news gathering in the British press: and that the Daniel Morgan Murder explains the dark mass beneath.
Indeed, my personal opinion is that it’s no coincidence that Glenn Mulcaire was hired as News of the World’s phone hacker just as Southern Investigations was disbanded. The length of time it took police to investigate that properly is also unlikely to be a coincidence.
The Daniel Morgan murder, and the police corruption around it, created a criminal-media nexus in the late 80s has spread outwards and upwards throughout the last three decades.
The Real Reason for Closing News of the World?
Rebekah Brooks explained to a packed ‘town hall’ meeting of News of the World journalists when she closed the paper in July 2011, she added that something worse than Milly Dowler would come out in a year or so to explain the decision.
But what could have been worse? The hacking of 7/7 victims or families of the two girls murdered in Soham? There’s little that could be worse than the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl, except perhaps the revelation that the world’s biggest selling English language newspaper had been colluding with suspected murderers for several decades.
There’s little doubt Brooks knew about the surveillance of the senior investigating officer around the murder in 2002. Not only were her editors Greg Miskiw, Alex Marunchak and Mazher Mahmood’s photographer Bradley Page involved in the surveillance, but Glenn Mulcaire’s notebooks from the time are filled with details on Cook and Hames.
According to Nick Davies in his book Hack Attack News Corp knew well in advance that a phone hacking story could go ‘Main Street’ and capture the public imagination. Sources say the Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn approached Labour press supremo Tom Baldwin and told him “you can have Andy, but not Rebekah” a full two weeks before the Milly Dowler story broke in July 2011. (Tom Newton Dunn vigorously denies this, saying he would not use this language and it wasn’t within his remit).
Three months previously in March 2011, the pre-trial case against the murder suspects in the Daniel Morgan case had collapsed at the Old Bailey. News Corp must have been aware of the information leaking out once the contempt of court threat had lifted. The full story of the News of the World‘s complicity with the murder suspects, and interfering with the murder investigation was bound to come out.
But then they had a stroke of luck. The MSC discovered correspondence between the Sun crime correspondent Mike Sullivan and Dave Cook about a potential book. No money had been changed hands, and Cook’s story was completely in the public interest. But it was enough to silence him if disclosed to the Met. Cook was promptly raided and interviewed under caution over misconduct, the day he was supposed to become a core Leveson participant in January 2012.
Three years on no charging decision has been made and Cook has remained muzzled.
So perhaps Brooks was being pessimistic about how long it would take the real reason for New of the World’s closure to come out. The legal restrictions around Cook, and around Marunchak and Rees who were arrested around suspicions of computer hacking have muffled any disclosure or debate because of the possibility of contempt. But that can’t last forever. And i doesn’t apply to those like Brooks, Miskiw or Mulcaire who have either been acquitted or served their time
So now is the time for senior News International journalists to come clean. I really hope Rebekah co-operates with the inquiry. She really has nothing to lose and could redeem her role in all this.
And just as he apologised to the Dowler family, I hope Rupert Murdoch does the honourable thing today, and fully commits to providing full disclosure to the panel so that this disturbing chapter in Fleet Street can be closed, and the Morgan family can find some kind of peace.
A Timeline of the Daniel Morgan Murder
|10 March 1987||Daniel Morgan’s body is found slumped by his BMW in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, South London.|
|Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, of Catford Police Station, is assigned to the case. He fails to tell his bosses of his associations with Jonathan Rees – Morgan’s former business partner in Southern Investigations– for whom he had moonlighted in the past.|
|April 1987||Six people, including Fillery, Jonathan Rees, Rees’ brothers-in-law (Glenn and Garry Vian) and two other Met officers are arrested on suspicion of the murder, but all six are released without charge in due course.|
|April 1988||Inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court where evidence is heard from witnesses including staff from Southern Investigations.|
|Kevin Lennon, who worked as an accountant, tells the inquest he had watched Rees’s relationship with Morgan deteriorate, and that Rees told him six months before the murder that he had found the perfect solution to the problem: “My mates at Catford nick are going to arrange it. Those police officers are friends of mine and will either murder Danny themselves or will arrange it.”|
|Rees is asked if he murdered Daniel Morgan. He replies: “I did not.”|
|The inquest returns a verdict of unlawful killing.|
|July 1988||Hampshire Police appointed ‘to investigate allegations that police were involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan and matters arising therefrom’ under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).|
|The Met, Hampshire Police and the PCA agree to alter the terms of reference of the investigation – it then proceeds ‘in the furtherance of prosecuting the suspects Rees, Goodridge (an associate of Rees), Wisden (Goodridge’s girlfriend) and anyone else for the murder of Daniel Morgan’.|
|February 1989||Rees, Goodridge and Wisden arrested by Hampshire Police on suspicion of the murder – Rees and Goodridge charged with murder; Wisden charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the murder.|
|May 1989||All charges discontinued.|
|March 1990||PCA certify satisfaction with Hampshire investigation and confirm that it had revealed ‘no evidence of involvement by any police officer in the murder of [DM]’; ‘no evidence to support Mr Lennon’s allegations [of such involvement ]’; ‘no evidence to suggest that any member of the murder investigation team took deliberate action to prevent the murder being properly detected’; and ‘no grounds for disciplinary action against any officer other than strict admonishment (administered to two officers in relation to their involvement in Belmont Car Auctions matter)’.|
|1990 – 1997||DM’s family continue to raise their concerns in relation to the murder through MPs, meetings with senior police officers and publicity in the media.|
|July 1997||New Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw MP to Chris Smith MP: ‘[T]he murder of Daniel Morgan was first investigated by the MPS and was then the subject of a full re-investigation by the Hampshire Constabulary. The Commissioner informs me that there were some allegations that a senior police officer was involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan. He has, however, assured me that those allegations were fully investigated at the time and proved to be incorrect.’|
|November 1997||DM’s family, Chris Smith MP and Richard Livesey MP press their concerns in meeting with MPS Commissioner Sir Paul Condon, Deputy Commissioner John Stevens and Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Roy Clark, resulting in an assurance that the case would be reviewed – in fact, a third investigation was then commenced and conducted without the knowledge of the family.|
|April 1998||Goodridge’s claim against Hampshire Police for malicious prosecution settled upon their admission that they had prosecuted him without probable or reasonable cause.|
|September 1999||DM’s family become aware of the third investigation when it is aborted upon discovery of an unrelated criminal conspiracy involving Rees and several others (including a serving Met officer) – all arrested for conspiring to plant cocaine in the car of woman seeking custody of her child from her ex-husband client of Southern Investigations – all charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Fillery arrested on unrelated money-laundering matter but subsequently released on police bail and never charged.|
|April 2000||DM’s family meet DAC Clark to discuss progress including proposal for a formal ‘murder review’ in relation to the case, and request disclosure of the Hampshire/PCA report in view of continuing reliance by the Met on its stated conclusions.|
|December 2000||Rees is convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and is jailed for seven years.|
|July 2001||Fourth investigation into the murder gets underway covertly, under immediate command of Det Supt David Zinzan and overall command of DAC Hayman, following outcome of murder review.|
|June 2002||Crimewatch broadcast on the launch of the overt phase of fourth under the immediate command of Det Ch Supt (DCS) David Cook as SIO.|
|October 2002||Arrest of several civilian associates of Rees on suspicion of involvement in murder of DM, all subsequently released without charge.|
|November 2002||Issue of judicial review proceedings on behalf of DM’s family to compel the Met to disclose the Hampshire/PCA report.|
|2003||Fillery arrested, charged and convicted of offences relating to possession of paedophile images found on his business computer.|
|July 2003||The Met relent on eve of judicial review trial and consent to order by the High Court requiring disclosure of the Hampshire/PCA report to the family.|
|September 2003||The Met inform the family of decision by CPS not to bring any prosecution upon Zinzan/Cook investigation|
|February 2004||Submission on behalf of the family to the then Home Secretary Rt Hon David Blunkett MP seeking a public judicial inquiry.|
|June 2004||Home Office reject request for a public judicial inquiry.|
|July 2004||Adjournment debate in the House of Commons in support of the family’s call for a public judicial inquiry, addressed by Chris Smith MP and Roger Williams MP.|
|May 2005||Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Chair Mr Len Duvall proposes to commission a report into the murder from the Met Commissioner pursuant to section 22(3) of the Police Act 1996.|
|October 2005||MPA resolves to commission report as proposed by its Chair Mr Len Duvall – the Met’s then Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, compelled to admit under questioning by the MPA that Fillery’s role in the first investigation had “compromised” it.|
|January 2006||Fifth investigation into the murder gets underway, under the overall command of DAC John Yates and the immediate command of DCS David Cook as SIO.|
|April 2006||Report by DAC John Yates on behalf of the Met to the MPA with a formal acknowledgement that the handling of the case “suffered significantly from the taint of corruption”.|
|April 2008||Rees, the Vian brothers and James Cook are arrested and charged with the murder. Fillery is arrested and charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.|
|February 2009||DAC John Yates confirms at a meeting with the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of London: “This case is one of the most deplorable episodes in the entire history of the Metropolitan Police Service. This family has been treated disgracefully.”|
|September 2009||Legal arguments begin at the Old Bailey.|
|February 2010||A key supergrass is dismissed as a witness by the trial judge and the prosecution of Fillery is stayed.|
|November 2010||Trial judge dismisses second supergrass as witness and prosecution offer no evidence against James Cook.|
|January 2011||A third supergrass is withdrawn as a witness for the prosecution when police are accused of withholding evidence which proves he is a registered police informant.|
|11 March 2011||Prosecution admit defeat and offer no evidence against Rees as well as the Vian brothers, bringing the entire prosecution to an end without any trial.|
|Public acknowledgement by Det Ch Supt Campbell on behalf of the Met that “police corruption was a debilitating factor in [the] earlier inquiries” which had therefore “failed the family and the wider public”.|
|31 March 2011||Public pronouncement by the Met’s then Acting Commissioner Timothy Godwin at a full MPA meeting acknowledging “the repeated failure of the MPS over the years to confront the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice”.|
|August 2011||Submission on behalf of the family to the Home Secretary calling for a public judicial inquiry.|
|29 February 2012||Adjournment debate in the House of Commons in support of the family’s call for a public judicial inquiry, addressed by Tom Watson MP.|
|October 2012||Proposal on behalf of the Home Secretary to appoint an Independent Panel to look into the circumstances of the murder.|
|November 2012 – May 2013||Discussions between the Home Secretary and the family with reference to the terms of reference and make-up of the Panel.|
|10 May 2013||Home Secretary’s parliamentary written statement to announce the appointment of the Panel.|