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EXCLUSIVE: Man charged twice with Daniel Morgan murder 'wants justice' after cases against him collapsed

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THERE have been five failed police investigations in the 27 years since Daniel Morgan's murder, all of which failed to achieve a single conviction and have yet to bring a suspect to trial.

Private investigator Jonathan Rees has been charged with the murder twice – once in 1989 and again in 2008 – but both cases collapsed before they came to court.

It was at about 9pm on March 10, 1987, that Mr Rees left his business partner Mr Morgan at The Golden Lion pub, in Sydenham.

He says he left to meet a business acquaintance at another pub, closer to home, for a few drinks before he got a takeaway and went home.

About three hours later, he received a knock on the door from the police. Mr Rees was told Daniel, 37, had been found "fatally attacked" in the Golden Lion's car park and asked if he would be able to accompany them to the police station for questioning.

Father-of-two Mr Morgan, who worked with Mr Rees at their Thornton Heath-based firm Southern Investigations but was primarily a bailiff, had been found with an axe embedded in his head.

The Yorkshireman may never have been convicted of the murder, but his life since 1987 has been plagued by the case and an inability to clear his name.

He still holds a faint hope the killer will be found but believes that because the Metropolitan Police settled on him as the chief suspect from an early stage that is now unlikely to happen.

He says there are more than 20 other suspects who were not properly investigated by officers in the aftermath of the crime, adding that police decided to pursue him due to circumstantial evidence that was later discredited.

Mr Rees, now 60 and living in Weybridge, Surrey, said: "The difficulty we've always had with this case is they've had bundles of hearsay - theories, local gossip, urban myths – they've never had any evidence.

"They decided in the early days that I was involved in Daniel's murder and they become blinkered on that; they become obsessive about that."

Although it has become an increasingly complex case as the years have gone by, recent media reports seem to have settled on the narrative that the investigations were mired by corruption from the outset. Mr Rees feels this deliberately points the finger of blame at him even though he has never been convicted.

The first investigation, Mr Rees argues, was hampered because of the "incompetence" of the officers involved. This was corroborated by a Hampshire Police review, seen by the Advertiser, which branded the initial forensic investigation as "pathetic".

He was due to stand trial in 2011 with four other men – Glenn Vian, 56, from South Croydon; Garry Vian, 54, from Croydon; James Cook, 64, from Kingswood, Surrey; and Sid Fillery, 68, from Norfolk.

These men have now launched a £4 million compensation action against the Met based on false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, malicious falsehood and misfeasance in a public office.

The serious allegations levelled at police officers in the lawsuit have prompted the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) to launch a criminal inquiry into Mr Rees' official complaint to the Met, called Operation Megan.

Mr Rees, who says the Met have made him "virtually unemployable" as a result of successive investigations and prosecutions against him, spent 23 months in custody in 2008 and another ten on "oppressive" bail conditions waiting for a trial which never came.

"My saving grace that I think stopped me from going mad over the last 27 years, is because it made me mad," he said.

"I don't know if it's my stubborn northern streak but I dealt with them [the police] head on, aggressively, the same way they were dealing with me.

"I confronted them and I got angry about it and it kept me going."

The private investigator is also fighting to have a previous conviction from 2000 overturned.

He served three years of a seven-year jail term after being found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice for conspiring to plant cocaine on a woman to discredit her in a custody battle. He maintains he was set-up by a secret police informant and is innocent of the crime.

And Mr Rees is in no doubt about wanting his pound of flesh in return for having his name dragged through the mud during the various police investigations without any credible evidence against him.

"At the moment, I'm still angry and I still want blood," he said.

"I want them gripping the rails. I want to see them suffer for what they did to me and my family."

EXCLUSIVE: Man charged twice with Daniel Morgan murder 'wants justice' after cases against him collapsed


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