The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has been cleared of ‘maliciously’ pursuing convictions against three men linked to the unsolved murder of a private detective.
Daniel Morgan: Murdered in 1987
Daniel Morgan was found dead in a pub car park in 1987, prompting five investigations and one of the highest-profile corruption scandals in the MPS’ history.
Four men – Jonathan Rees, Sidney Fillery and brothers Gary and Glenn Vian – were charged in relation to the killing in 2008 but the case against them collapsed three years later.
The defendants took action against the MPS, claiming they had been overzealously pursued by former Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook.
However, the High Court ruled on Friday (February 17) that the MPS was justified in its actions against Mr Rees and the Vians.
Mr Fillery won a claim of misfeasance in public office and will be awarded damages in the future.
The MPS claimed it was “right and justifiable” to pursue these men.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: “It is not right to make any comment about the murder of Daniel without recognising that over the last 30 years Daniel’s family has fought tirelessly to seek justice for him.
“No one has ever been convicted of his murder, nor have they stood trial. Daniel and his family have not had justice.
“Whilst we welcome this judgment, I am mindful that the work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel is ongoing, and we continue to work with them, as they seek to fully examine the circumstances of Daniel’s murder, and the handling of the case since 1987.”
Mr Morgan, of Southern Investigations, died after being struck from behind with an axe outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London.
He had been meeting Mr Rees, his partner at the firm, and it was reported that he was about to hand information to the News of the World
relating to police corruption.
Mr Rees was initially treated as a suspect but was interviewed by Mr Fillery, a close personal friend who at the time was a detective sergeant.
In the months that followed Mr Fillery replaced Mr Morgan at Southern Investigations.
The MPS admitted that its first investigation into the case was marred by corruption and that opportunities to address this later were missed.
In 2009, a fresh inquiry began led by Det Chief Supt Cook, but this too collapsed in 2011 due to issues with how witnesses were handled.
The four defendants claimed that Det Chief Supt Cook had been “malicious” in his pursuit of them.
Then Home Secretary Theresa May established the Daniel Morgan in 2013 to examine police involvement in Mr Morgan’s murder, the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible and the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers, and journalists at the News of the World
The panel’s report is due to be released later this year.