Who is Daniel Morgan? The murdered private investigator 'failed' by police

Daniel Morgan was born in Singapore on November 3 in 1949 and raised in Monmouthshire, Wales, with his brother, Alastair, and a sister, Jane.

Daniel Morgan was murdered with an axe outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham
Daniel Morgan was murdered with an axe outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham

After leaving school, he attended an agricultural college at Usk in South Wales before he moved to Denmark to work on farms.

He spent several years working as a sales representative in Scandinavia, but then returned to the UK and began working as a travel guide for foreign tourists.

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In his late 20s, he married Iris and they moved to Norwood, South London, where they went on to raise their two children Sarah and Daniel.

In 1977, he began working as a private investigator in London and three years later he set up his own private investigation business called DJM Investigations, but the name of the company was changed to Southern Investigations when it moved to Thornton Heath in London.

His murder

In March 1987, the 37-year-old was murdered with an axe outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, where he had been drinking with his partner Jonathan Rees.

Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over Mr Morgan’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.

In 2008, five people were arrested and charged in connection with the case. Mr Rees, his brothers-in-law Glenn and Garry Vian, and an associate, James Cook, were charged with Mr Morgan’s murder, while former police officer Sid Fillery was charged with perverting the course of justice.

The prosecution collapsed three years later after police failings relating to disclosure of evidence and handling of informants. In the wake of the collapse, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell and Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin both acknowledged that corruption hampered the early investigations into Mr Morgan’s death.

In 2019, Mr Rees and the Vian brothers were all awarded six-figure sums in damages after successfully suing the Metropolitan Police for malicious prosecution. A High Court judge ruled that Mr Rees and Glenn Vian should each receive £155,000, and Garry Vian should get £104,000.

In 2013, then home secretary Theresa May announced that an independent panel was being set up to examine the case and a report was 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.

Officials said that parts of the report may need to be kept secret due to national security or human rights concerns, but the panel insisted it had already worked with lawyers and Metropolitan Police security experts over eight years.

However, earlier this year Home Office officials agreed the report could be published in full on June 15 if they were allowed to read it beforehand.

The report

The long-awaited report heavily criticises the Metropolitan Police and states the force owe's Mr Morgan's family an apology.

It adds: "The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his family to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional competence, individuals’ venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.

“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.

“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 Metropolitan Police’s first objective was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Daniel Morgan’s murder, panel chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said.

'Deeply alarming'

Home secretary Priti Patel told MPs: “It’s devastating that 34 years after he was murdered, nobody has been brought to justice.

“The report sets out findings from its review of the last three decades, it’s over 1,200 pages long and three volumes. It is right that we carefully review its findings.

“The report itself is deeply alarming and finds examples of corrupt behaviour – corrupt behaviour was not limited to the first investigation, that the Metropolitan Police made a litany of mistakes and that this irreparably damaged the chances of successful prosecution of Daniel Morgan’s murder.”

Family's reaction

In a statement, the family said: “We welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – 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.”