Opening segment Crossposted from Byline – do chip in and support my column on the criminal media nexus there if you can
Rebekah Brooks worked at News of the World for all but two years from 1989 to 2003. How much did she know know Southern Investigations and police inquiries into their role in the murder of Daniel Morgan?
We can all make mistakes.
In my last piece I erroneously said there was only one mention of the Daniel Morgan murder in the News of the World. In 1989, soon after the CPS dropped charges against him in a second murder investigation, the Sunday tabloid published an interview with Jonathan Rees, Daniel’s former partner.
The interviewer, News of the World’s crime editor Alex Marunchak, failed to mention that he had by then formed a successful business relationship with Rees and his private detective agency, Southern Investigations.
Fast forward eleven years, and there’s one more mention of Daniel on April 16 2000 .
Daniel is named as the second alleged victim of the infamous gangster Kenneth Noye. The first victim is Daniel’s friend DC Alan ‘Taffy’ Holmes who was found dead with gunshot wounds in July 1989, only months after Daniel’s murder in March.
The article claims Holmes’ death was a murder, not the suicide decided by the inquest. Though there are still lingering questions about the likelihood of ‘assisted suicide’ or murder, the description of Holmes’ death is inaccurate. The gunshot wound was not to the head but the chest, which is unusual in a police suicide because officers would know that the chances of fatality are lower.
But the paragraphs on Daniel Morgan are even more tendentious. The piece goes on to say:
“Police believe he was killed because he was on the verge of exposing corruption within the police force that would have implicated Noye and senior officers at the time”
There is no evidence that Noye was involved in either death, but there is plenty of evidence that Daniel Morgan was trying to sell his story of police corruption to a national newspaper. Two witnesses from the 1980s alleged Daniel was selling his story to Alex Marunchak at News of the World. Marunchak has denied this several times.
An officer close to the murder investigation in the late 90s even claims that Morgan and Holmes visited a newspaper office together .
Though Marunchak does not appear on the byline of this April 2000 article he was still a senior editor at News of the World with a specialist knowledge of crime and policing. On 20 April 2000 he co-wrote a crime story with reporter Robert Kellaway quoting a ‘flying squad commander’ who thanked the News of the World “for their assistance.” He presumably edited, approved or saw the article above.
But there’s something much more important about this date 16 April 2000….
By then Rebekah Brooks was editor of Britain’s best selling newspaper.
The News of the World Regional Crime Squad
Rebekah Brooks joined News of the World in 1989 and rose rapidly from the magazine to deputy features editor, features editor and then deputy editor before transferring to the sister daily the Sun for a two year stint from 1998 to January 2000, when she was appointed the youngest ever editor of Rupert Murdoch’s famous Sunday tabloid…..