Tomorrow marks the 28th Anniversary of the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, and his family’s amazing decades-long campaign for justice. The police corruption around the most investigated murder in British criminal history has been described by an assistant Metropolitan police commissioner as one the biggest stains on Scotland Yard’s history. But Daniel’s murder also leads straight back to the doors of the British press and its relationship with private investigators. It is “the cradle where the dark arts were born” as a senior police officer once described it to me.
Andy Coulson‘s News of the World sent a man to jail after luring him to sell them drugs he was terrified of carrying by promising him a job. He was sentenced to four years in prison before his conviction – after he’d already served his time.
In a case which has hardly received any publicity, according to high court documents, Albanian Besnik Qema was asked to supply News of the World cocaine and a passport on a promise of job as security for a wealthy Arab family.
The High Court documents detail how in January 2005, Mazher Mahmood had asked Florim Gashi, a contact of his who he had used in previous “set-up” stings to find someone who could be implicated in a story he or the News of the World wanted to run about false passports, drugs and guns. Gashi then adopted the identity of a female called Aurora and through an internet chat room used by expatriate Albanians established contact with Qema.
Scotland Yard investigated Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood 9 YEARS AGO – in 2005 just four months before they initiated a phone hacking case into his newspaper. Like operation Caryatid, there isn’t a trace of a follow up or outcome despite the evidence that triggered the investigation being accepted in TWO courts. Instead, just 8 months after opening the investigation, the Yard publicly declared; “it would not rule out working with the paper again” after the collapse of a trial both Met and NotW brought to court together.
These events started when in 2004 when the Met Police [SO13] joined forces with News of the World on a fake sheikh sting “Red Mercury -Dirty Bomb”. Both the Met and Mahmood have confirmed working together since, as Mahmood told the Press Gazette; “the entire job I was basically working for Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism squad”.
A year earlier, another fake sheikh story: a Victoria Beckham kidnap plot case was thrown out by the Crown Prosecution Service before the trial started because the main prosecution witness had been paid £10,000 by Mahmood. Continue reading
“Our man Maz collars crook Number 105,” NOTW headline cited of all the number of investigations that led to conviction.
— Peter Jukes (@peterjukes) February 20, 2014
In the aftermath of the phone hacking trial, the Guardian’s Nick Davies, who played a pivotal in exposing the News of the World scandal, still had unanswered questions. This time, not for News UK (formerly News International), but the Metropolitan Police who having sat on the evidence in 2006 and refused to reopen it in 2009 finally managed do their job in 2011. Davies reported:
“Lord Justice Leveson concluded that the Caryatid team had made mistakes in handling victims of the hacking and had failed to follow leads to other perpetrators but had acted in good faith, primarily because officers had to deal with far more serious crime involving terrorist plots to commit mass murder. That conclusion is clearly well-founded. Specifically, there is no evidence that any Caryatid officer showed any fear or favour towards News International.”
He went on “however, the objective fact is that Scotland Yard’s conduct enabled News International’s coverup to succeed. Here, there are two key questions. Why was the hacking inquiry not passed to another squad to be completed? And was that decision in any way influenced by a desire to placate Murdoch’s company?”