The still unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, which took place almost 30 years ago, has recently received an increasing amount of publicity, not least via the top-rated Untold Murder podcast. But now Private Eye magazine has also taken up the case, which at first seemed like A Very Good Thing - until Master Emmanuel Strobes and his team declined to publish a letter correcting their copy.
Daniel Morgan - case still unsolved
The Eye ran an item titled “Judge Dread” in Issue 1433, which pins the blame for the 2011 collapse of the trial of those suspected of involvement in the murder on former Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook, telling readers “Eye readers may recall how the resulting prosecution collapsed in 2011, in large part because of Cook’s repeated mishandling of key supergrass witnesses. He had apparently ignored warnings from his boss, Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, to stop all undocumented contact with them”.
Note use of the tell-tale “apparently”. This was too much for the Untold Murder team, who put the Eye straight by correcting what they called “three widespread myths about the collapse of the trial of the five murder suspects in March 2011”. These were:
“1 The Supergrass Gary Eaton was dropped as a witness in February 2010 because a ‘sterile corridor’ had not been maintained between the debrief team and the murder squad. This obviously did not collapse the trial as hearing continued for another 13 months.
2 There is no evidence of DAC John Yates warning DCS Cook about contact with the Supergrass. Cook warned Yates that Eaton was constantly calling him.
3 The trial collapsed not because boxes of evidence were withheld by the investigation team from the defence. The trial collapsed because cleaners in an old Met building found boxes of evidence from a completely different department, the DPS, that they had abandoned and forgotten years before. On discovery, the defence was immediately notified. In total, there were over a million documents involved in the trial, covering five investigations over 25 years.”
The Eye might have taken issue with one or more of those points, but the magazine is well-known for allowing those of dissenting view to have their say in the letters column. On this occasion, though, it declined to publish the letter containing those three points.
Why that should be has not yet been adequately explained. But the effect of maintaining the line established by the article in Eye 1433 can be put plainly: it has been to suggest wrongdoing on the part of former DCS Cook, at a time when it is in the interests of one party to the Daniel Morgan case to be able to shout “look over there”.
And that party is none other than Daniel Morgan’s former business partner Jonathan Rees. As the Guardian has reported (as so often, very little of the press establishment will touch this story), “Rees and three other men charged at the time are suing the Metropolitan police, alleging officers were so determined to get them that its pursuit was malicious”. The problem in their doing so is that their status as prime suspects gets aired.
So the Guardian report also tells, “The alleged conspirators in the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan have been named in court … The high court heard allegations from lawyers acting for the Metropolitan police that Glenn Vian struck two fatal blows with the axe having been paid to carry out the killing by Jonathan Rees”.
Why would Rees have his business partner murdered? Well, Daniel Morgan was believed to be on the verge of exposing Police corruption, and “Rees carried out extensive work as an private eye for the News of the World, and earned up to £150,000 a year for the tabloid by providing it with information and stories, despite claims of him having links to police officers suspected of corruption”. That nice little earner would have been finished.
Instead of that corruption being exposed, in the wake of the killing, it ensured that inquiries into the case were perpetually stymied by the intervention of a succession of bent and inept coppers. Former DCS Cook was leading an effort to get the case cracked, and to court. Former DAC Yates, on the other hand, became known mainly for having to leave the Met as a result of his behaviour over the phone hacking scandal.
The Eye’s source for its article, whomsoever he be, knows full well that Rees has previously confessed to targeting Cook. It looks for all the world that not only is he doing it again, but that someone who should know better is aiding and abetting him.
There will be more Untold Murder podcasts later in the year. There will also be more posts on Zelo Street covering the Daniel Morgan murder and its aftermath. Stay tuned.