A report published by an independent panel into the death of murdered private detective Daniel Morgan has accused the Metropolitan Police of “a form of institutional corruption.”
In a statement released with the report, issued by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, the panel concluded that the Met’s first objective was to “protect itself”.
The statement also said that the family and the public were owed an apology.
It said: “By not acknowledging or confronting, over the 34 years since the murder, its systemic failings, or the failings of individual officers, by making incorrect assertions about the quality of investigations, and by its lack of candour, which is evident from the materials we have examined we believe the Metropolitan Police’s first objective was to protect itself.
“In so doing it compounded the suffering and trauma of the family.
“We believe that concealing or denying failings, for the sake of an organisation’s public image is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit, and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”
The father-of-two was found with an axe embedded in his head in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham on 10 March 1987.
But his murder remains unsolved 34 years later.
The report has also condemned the actions of Home Secretary Priti Patel, who blocked the publication of the report on May 24.
The statement said: “We do not wish to rehearse the discussions which subsequently took place, other to say how disappointed we were that the Home Secretary chose to adopt this stance when she did.
“We do not believe the Home Secretary’s approach was justified in this case.”
Mr Morgan first began working as a private investigator in London in January 1977, and in 1980, set up his own private investigation business, DJM Investigations.
On the night of his death, March 10 1987, Daniel Morgan was having a drink with his business partner, Jonathan Rees, at the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham.
Mr Morgan was said to be on the point of uncovering police corruption, but he was found with an axe lodged in his skull.
His watch had been stolen, but his wallet and £10,000 had not been taken.
His trouser pocket was torn, and notes that witnesses had seen him writing earlier, were missing.
A month after Mr Morgan’s death, six men were arrested on the suspicion of murder – Mr Fillery, Morgan’s friend Jonathan Rees, two police officers, and the Vian brothers, Glenn and Gary.
But all six were released without charge.
Two months later, Detective Constable Alan Holmes, thought to have worked with Morgan on exposing police corruption, committed suicide under mysterious circumstances.
Allegations of police corruption and drug trafficking were made in the five police inquiries held in the 20 years following Morgan’s death.
A spokesperson from the Met said: “The Metropolitan Police Service deeply regrets our failure to bring those responsible for the murder of Daniel Morgan to justice.
“There is no doubt our failings compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family and for this we profoundly apologise.
“We accept corruption and the malicious acts of corrupt individuals were a major factor in the failure of the first investigation.
“We have worked hard to put the actions of these individuals right ever since.
“The Met of today is not the Met of 34 years ago. We’ve transformed how we investigate homicide and major crimes as well as how we identify misconduct, root out corruption, liaise with families, work professionally with the media, handle informants, and conduct forensics, covert operations and vetting.
“In the Met, we want to be the most trusted police service in the world. We are working to earn this trust by being true to our values of professionalism, integrity, courage and compassion.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.