Inquiry to probe unsolved murder of private eye

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The family of a murdered private investigator have said they hope a fresh inquiry into his unsolved death will help them get on with their lives.

Daniel Morgan was found with an axe in his head in a pub car park in south-east London on March 10, 1987.

Home Secretary Theresa May said an independent panel, chaired by Sir Stanley Burnton, a retired lord justice of the Court of Appeal, is to be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Morgan’s murder.

Mrs May said the panel would look at “police involvement in the murder” after Scotland Yard admitted corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the original investigation. After numerous separate police investigations into the case between 1987 and 2002, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the final attempted prosecution of five suspects in 2011.

Mr Morgan’s family, who have waged a long campaign for those responsible for his murder to be brought to justice, welcomed the Home Secretary’s decision to appoint an independent panel.

His brother Alastair said on behalf of mother Isobel, sister Jane and himself: “Through almost three decades of public protests, meetings with police officers at the highest ranks, lobbying of politicians and pleas to the media, we have found ourselves lied to, fobbed off, bullied, degraded and let down time and time again.

“What we have been required to endure has been nothing less than mental torture. It has changed our relationship with this country forever.”

He added: “Over most of this period, we witnessed a complete unwillingness by police and successive governments to face up to what was occurring, and ultimately a complete failure by police leadership to deal effectively with serious police criminality.

“We trust and hope that the panel, through its examination and publication of all relevant material and information, will assist the authorities to confront and acknowledge this failure for once and for all, so that we may at last be able to get on with our lives.”

The cost of the five police inquiries and inquest into the death of Mr Morgan, as well as three years of legal hearings, is unofficially estimated at £30m.

The Home Secretary said the panel will put Mr Morgan’s family at “the centre of the process” with the support of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).