The murder of Daniel Morgan

I have recently become interested in the case of Daniel Morgan, who was killed in March 1987.


Morgan worked as a private investigator.  His business partner was Jonathan Rees, who later became one of the main private investigators used by Fleet Street.  Rees was first arrested in connection with the murder in 1987; and in March 2011 he was acquitted of the murder when a trial collapsed at the Old Bailey.


The original police investigation into the death of Morgan was worse than desultory; it was undoubtedly corrupt.   There were then a number of inquiries and case reviews, none of which ended with a successful prosecution.  Over 25 years the case smacked of police corruption and systemic failure.  In this way, the case is akin to that of Stephen Lawrence.


Recently the case came back into the news because of an incident in 2002-3 when the police officer commanding the investigation and his wife, a presenter of Crimewatch, were subjected to surveillance by the News of the World, with whom Rees had close connections.   The wife was Jacqui Hames, and yesterday she gave sensational evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.  She alleged that the News of the World allowed its resources to be used so as to frustrate the murder investigation, which was still then ongoing.  This alllegation brings the Morgan case within the remit of module 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, on “press and police”.  The Leveson Inquiry may well follow it up.


My first post on the murder of Daniel Morgan was today at the New Statesman, and it deals with that significant allegation of Hames.  Also today, Tom Watson MP in an adjournment debate managed to get the government to order a full forensic review and to keep open the prospect of a proper judicial inquiry.


For 25 years the family of Daniel Morgan have campaigned for justice.  Their website is here and their fine campaign can also be followed on Twitter.


9 thoughts on “The murder of Daniel Morgan”

  1. Do you think the forthcoming witness statement to come from Ian Hurst will shed further light? There appears to be an Irish dimension taking shape with a connection to at least one of the players in the Morgan murder fiasco and a disturbing sense of “omerta” surrounding this case.

  2. It’s strange that the cases with the biggest Legal repercussions are spread throughout the organisation. TheMorgan case having strong links to the Central office, The Hurst case linked into the Irish branch, and the Sherridan case into the Scottish reporting.

    That it is spread so widely amongst different branches of the organisation makes it seem that they problems were even more systemic than we are so far assuming from the evidence presented

  3. Just to enjoy the new blog, even if I repeat what I said on the New Statesman blog

    As I’ve said recently, the News International Scandal (and it’s bigger than hackgate or bribegate) is the British equivalent to the Dreyfus affair.

    Like Watergate, it began with a minor crime that eventually exposed the rest of an iceberg. Unlike Watergate or Poulson, where the press was pretty united in condemnation, we not only have politicians compromised by this scandal, nor just the police, but the press as well, with a large contingent from Littlejohn and Kavanagh trying to make the Leveson the scandal, to James Delingpole who calls it merely a ‘vendetta by the BBC and Guardian’..

    This is a cultural war, much like Dreyfus was. And surprising figures from all spectrums of politics (e.g. Peter Oborne today) going Rupert, J’Accuse!

  4. I agree Peter. I’m interested too to understand why the the BBC in the reporting of Leveson allows itself to be sidetracked by stories if horses and token changes in NI management. This is the big story. Yet again it is not on the main news agendas save for C4. I’m by no means a conspiracy theorist but there must be much more to this story than we have yet been allowed to know.

  5. Good comment from Peter Jukes above.

    I’m going to stray slightly:

    This sort of issue is often framed in terms of justice or injustice, but isn’t the (alleged) behaviour entirely rational if viewed in terms of power? Maybe the point is, I’m intent on retaining my power, the justice or injustice of my actions is irrelevant.

    Power corrupts. The more I see of the world the more I see the truth of this statement.

    A couple of interesting follow up questions would be:

    1) Why does power corrupt?
    2) What can be done to stop it happening?

  6. There’s some excellent background on the Morgan murder here, taken from the book Untouchables by Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn

    Watching Leveson today, given Hayman and Yates knew about Jonathan Rees and his links to News of the World, as well as the Morgan murder, it seems incredible that they didn’t join the dots and both continued to believe phone hacking at the NotW was limited to one rogue reporter.

  7. There is a third person not yet mentioned in this enquiry, and his name is Ian Michael Paye. He was running an accountancy service at the same address as Southern Investigations in 2001, and is a known embezzler of company funds. Why is he not included as part of this enquiry? At this point he is on Companies House register as a current and former director or secretary of more than 25 dissolved companies.

  8. @Peter Jukes
    Exactly right this is a cultural phenomenon. Not so much a war I think as a facade that has finally crumbled, revealing the true mechanisms and structures.

    The great builders of the facade have either taken their leave or are self-evidently coming to an end. Murdoch is, for all the demonisation, an old man, nothing more; Blair has skulked to Rome; and Thatcher is now a memory (a film no less!).

    There is a drawing back; and years of illicit (or semi-illicit) connections are being left exposed – a flotsam of journalists, cabinet members, spin-doctors, Lawyers *coughs*, cops – the list goes on.

    But this is one body that is crumbling; parts that once meshed in collusion are now tearing at each other in condemnation. There is a lot of wiping of hands in this I think. Blair’s was a bloody regime; shoulder to shoulder with that man who once described Freedom as a consuming fire.

    Tom Watson has done some great work; I only hope he clears enough space for the Left to stand back and reflect.

    I wish that there really was a ‘spectrum of politics’ from which we might build new possibilities. For decades I’ve seen only grey.

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