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Metropolitan Police faces £4 million lawsuit over how it handled Daniel Morgan murder inquiry

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MORE than 27 years ago, South Norwood private investigator Daniel Morgan was found dead in a pub car park with an axe in his head.

Yet after all that time, the culprit has never been brought to justice and what actually happened that night outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham remains equally unclear.

And now another ugly fall-out from the brutal murder could be brewing for the Metropolitan Police as the total spent on five failed investigations and other inquiries nears £100million.

A £4 million lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police has been launched by four men who were facing trial for Mr Morgan's killing and another former police officer who was charged with perverting the course of justice in the case.

The men suing the Met include Jonathan Rees, who for almost 30 years has been treated as one of the main suspects in the case and who spent two years in custody charged with the murder of his former business partner.

Mr Rees, who has always denied murder, made a complaint to the Metropolitan Police after his case collapsed in 2011. The complaints detail a number of allegations about the behaviour of investigating officers.

In March this year, the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) launched Operation Megan – a criminal inquiry into these claims.

Mr Morgan, 37, was found in the Golden Lion car park on March 10 1987 with an axe in his head. He had met Mr Rees, with whom he ran Southern Investigations in Thornton Heath High Street, at the pub earlier that evening.

Mr Rees is seeking to clear his name and disprove what has become a largely accepted narrative that the original investigation was mired by corruption. He argues it was initial incompetence – not corruption – which has scuppered the investigation to find the killer right from the start. He does, however, argue corruption plagued the 2006 investigation.

The Advertiser has seen a report compiled by Detective Chief Inspector Farley, of Hampshire Police, in 1988, which suggests the initial investigation into Mr Morgan's death was hindered by police incompetence rather than corruption.

DCI Farley was damning about the forensic investigation carried out at the scene. He said there was an "obvious lack of direction, co-ordination, management and supervision" and that the "initial effort must be described as pathetic".

Mr Rees was originally charged with murder in 1989 along with three others after an inquiry by the Met but the charges were dropped.

Mr Rees was again charged with murder in 2008, along with James Cook and his brothers-in-law Glenn and Garry Vian following the 2006 investigation.

Court papers for the £4 million action against the Met Police claim a lack of clear evidence in the 2006 investigation and the "serious misconduct in relation to creation and management of their evidence" of the officers investigating.

Glenn Vian, 56, of South Croydon, Garry Vian, 54, of Croydon, James Cook, 64, of Kingswood, Sid Fillery, 68, of Norfolk and Jonathan Rees, 60, of Weybridge, have made the £4 million claim to the High Court based on false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, malicious falsehood and misfeasance in a public office.

They have claimed damages for loss and economic loss arising from their arrests and criminal charges.

Mr Rees believes the charges and negative press attention, coupled with the narrative that the investigation into Mr Morgan's murder only collapsed because of police corruption and not a lack of evidence, has made him virtually unemployable.

An independent panel review into Mr Morgan's murder was due to present its findings later this year although it has been held up by delays including a change of chairperson.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said of Operation Megan: "Following the receipt of a public complaint containing a number of allegations in relation to the MPS handling of Daniel Morgan murder investigation an investigation was started by the Directorate of Professional Standards. That investigation is ongoing. There have been no arrests."

Alastair Morgan, Daniel's brother, declined to comment when asked by the Advertiser.

Metropolitan Police faces £4 million lawsuit over how it handled Daniel Morgan murder inquiry


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