Priti Patel will meet family of murdered PI Daniel Morgan over report

Priti Patel will meet family of murdered private eye Daniel Morgan after Home Office delayed report that is expected to link Met Police ‘corruption’ with cover-up of 1987 fatal axe attack

  • Daniel Morgan was murdered outside a south London pub on March 10, 1987
  • The father-of-two was killed outside the Golden Lion in Sydenham, south London
  • Scotland Yard’s investigation into the killing was stymied by corrupt officers
  • Home Office has delayed the publication of a report into the brutal murder 
  • But Home Secretary Priti Patel says she will meet the family before report 

Home Secretary Priti Patel intends to meet relatives of unsolved murder victim Daniel Morgan after they reacted with fury when her government department delayed a report on his death. 

Private investigator and father-of-two Mr Morgan, 37, was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10, 1987. No-one has been brought to justice over his death.

The Metropolitan Police has previously admitted corruption hampered the original murder investigation.

A panel examining the case had been due to publish its findings on Monday, before being told by the Home Office that no Parliamentary time could be found to allow this to happen.

Instead it announced that it wanted to review the document, expected to contain ‘a sizeable chapter’ on police corruption, and could keep parts of it secret if necessary citing ‘human rights and national security considerations’.

MailOnline has been told Ms Patel is planning to meet relatives of Mr Morgan before the report comes to discuss its findings. Home Office sources also insisted today it will not edit the document.

It came hours after the Morgan family lawyer Raju Bhatt told the Radio 4 Today programme they had ‘every reason’ to be suspicious about the motives behind the move to review the report.

He said: ‘From the family’s perspective they have every reason to be suspicious about the motives behind this very belated and completely unwarranted intervention by the Home Secretary.

Private detective Daniel Morgan, pictured, was murdered in London on March 10, 1987

Morgan was hacked to death with an axe outside the Golden Lion in Sydenham, south London 

Home Secretary Priti Patel intends to meet with the family of Mr Morgan to discuss report

‘We have to remember that the Home Office itself was complicit in the failings to confront this police corruption all through these decades until the panel was set up.’

The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel said it had been told a publication date would not be agreed until the Home Office reviewed the report to ensure it complied with human rights and did not compromise national security.

It released a forceful statement on Tuesday, saying: ‘A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013.

‘The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel’s independence.’

Then-home secretary Theresa May announced in 2013 that an independent panel was being set up to examine the case.

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

Mr Morgan’s family said on Tuesday that the report’s delay was a ‘kick in the teeth’ and served only to ‘betray and undermine the very purpose of the panel’.

Relatives of Daniel Morgan outside The Old Bailey in London following the collapse of a murder trial. Mother Isobel Hulsmann, widow Iris Morgan and brother Alistair Morgan seen here

The private detective was hacked to death with an axe as he left the pub. In 2013 the then Home Secretary Theresa May ordered an independent panel to investigate Mr Morgan’s murder

In a statement, they added: ‘The Home Secretary’s intervention is not only unnecessary and inconsistent with the panel’s independence.

‘It is an outrage which betrays her ignorance – and the ignorance of those advising her – with regard to her powers in law and the panel’s terms of reference.

‘It also reveals a disturbing disregard for the public interest in safeguarding the independence of the panel and its report.

‘For us as the family of Daniel Morgan, the Home Secretary’s belated and unwarranted interference in this process is simply unacceptable.’

The panel said that it has already worked with lawyers to ensure its report complies with human rights legislation, as well as a specialist Metropolitan Police team to ensure it poses no security risks.

It also said that the role of the Home Secretary was limited to reporting to Parliament on the panel’s work, receiving its report, laying it before Parliament, and responding to its findings. 

The controversy erupted as Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan called on Ms Patel and the Home Office to ‘stand back’ from the policing agenda and allow officers to assert their independence.

He told The Times he was concerned the Home Secretary had interfered in operational matters, which could create the impression ‘policing is seen as the extension of Government’.

A Home Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Under the terms it was commissioned in 2013, it is for the Home Secretary to publish the report which we hope to do as soon as possible.

‘The Home Secretary also has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations.

‘This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it.

‘As soon as we receive the report, we can begin those checks and agree a publication date.

‘The Home Secretary fully supports the family first approach and is hoping to meet them to discuss the report and its findings in person.’

Who is Daniel Morgan and why was he murdered?

Daniel Morgan, who worked as a private detective, was killed after leaving a pub

March 1987: Married father-of-two Daniel Morgan is found dead with an axe in his head in a pub car park in south London.

April 1987: Six suspects, a detective sergeant Sid Fillery, Morgan’s former business partner Jonathan Rees, brothers Glenn and Garry Vian, and two other Met officers are arrested but later released without charge.

1988: Rees denies murdering Mr Morgan at an inquest and a coroner rules the death an unlawful killing.

1989: Three men are arrested over the murder. Two are charged but charges are later dropped due to lack of evidence.

2002: Detective David Cook appears on TV’s Crimewatch to appeal for information about the case. A fourth police inquiry puts evidence before the CPS, but no prosecutions are brought.

2005: A fifth inquiry, led by Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook, is launched.

2008: Rees, the Vian brothers and another man are charged with murder.

2010: A key witness in the case is dismissed. Two other witnesses are also later dropped. The fourth man arrested is cleared.

2011: The Director of Public Prosecutions pulls the case and Rees and the Vian brothers are also formally acquitted.

2017: Sid Fillery is awarded damages for being unfairly accused of perverting the course of justice. A High Court judge dismisses the claims of Rees and the Vian brothers.

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