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Met Police accused of ‘institutional corruption’ over unsolved axe murder of private detective

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A long-awaited report into the axe murder of a private detective has accused the Metropolitan Police of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved killing.

An independent panel examining the murder of father-of-two Daniel Morgan in a pub car park in 1987 found “multiple very significant failings” during the initial Met Police investigation.

A second probe by Hampshire Constabulary “did not pursue, to the fullest extent possible, evidence that serving or former police officers were involved” in the murder, the panel found.

Daniel Morgan
Image: Daniel Morgan was killed with an axe in a pub car park

There was evidence of “a culture” within the Met in 1987 which allowed “very close association” between police officers on the team investigating Mr Morgan’s murder and “individuals linked to crime”, it concluded.

In a 1,251-page report, the panel said Mr Morgan’s family have “suffered grievously” because his killers have never been brought to justice, and the Met Police had failed “to acknowledge its many failings over the 34 years since the murder”.

“Concealing or denying failings for the sake of the organisation’s public image is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption,” the panel said.

It added: “The multiple police failures over many years, the death of witnesses and the passage of time, mean that it is most unlikely there will be a successful prosecution for Daniel Morgan’s murder.

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“In failing to acknowledge its many failings over the 34 years since the murder of Daniel Morgan, the Metropolitan Police’s first objective was to protect itself. In doing so, it compounded the suffering and trauma of the family.”

Following the report, Mr Morgan’s family said they welcomed the recognition that they have been “failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day”.

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Met Police ‘failed public over decades’

Asked whether Met Police chief Cressida Dick should considering resigning in light of the report, Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair responded: “Absolutely she should.”

Home secretary Priti Patel said the report was “deeply alarming” and described the Morgan case as “one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the Metropolitan Police”.

She said she had written to Ms Dick asking for a detailed response to the panel’s recommendations.

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Priti Patel ‘alarmed’ by Met Police report

In the report, the panel, chaired by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, said it faced “hurdles” from the Met Police after it was set up in 2013 by then-home secretary Theresa May.

This included the actions of Ms Dick who initially refused the panel access to a data system during her time as an assistant commissioner, it said.

In a statement following the report, the Metropolitan Police said it accepted “corruption was a major factor in the failure of the 1987 investigation” and apologised to Mr Morgan’s family.

“We deeply regret that no-one has been convicted of Daniel’s murder,” the force said. “We have not stopped pursuing justice.

“The report is extremely detailed covering 34 years and multiple police operations. We will respond in more detail later today.”

Dame Cressida Dick has been urged to resign as Metropolitan Police commissioner. File pic
Image: Dame Cressida Dick should consider her position as Met Police chief, Daniel Morgan’s brother said

Mr Morgan was killed in the car park at the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, southeast London, in March 1987.

Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no one has been brought to justice for killing the father-of-two.

Scotland Yard has previously admitted corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the original investigation.

The independent panel examined questions relating to the murder including police handling of the investigation; the role corruption played in protecting Mr Morgan’s killer; and the links between private investigators, police and journalists connected to the case.

Daniel Morgan was killed in the car park of the Golden Lion pub
Image: Mr Morgan was killed in the car park of the Golden Lion pub

Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair told Sky News before the report was published he was hopeful his family would finally get some answers in their three decade-long fight for the truth surrounding the killing.

The findings were due to be released in May, but a last-minute intervention by the Home Office sparked a furious row with the panel and Mr Morgan’s family.

Mr Morgan’s family branded the delay “a kick in the teeth” and called on Priti Patel “to try to understand her limited role in relation to the panel and the need for sensitivity and basic human decency in the exercise of her powers”.

The Home Office insisted that it had an obligation to make the checks and was not seeking to edit the document.