As the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre continues to pretend that the Daily Mail has fought a lone and valiant battle against Police corruption in general, and for the memory of Stephen Lawrence in particular, the catalogue of misbehaviour has inevitably opened up to reveal one other case: that of private investigator Daniel Morgan, murdered in a pub car park in 1987.
Morgan had set up a firm called Southern Investigations. He had also taken an interest in Police corruption, which, given what we now know about its extent within the Metropolitan Police, would have provided plenty of scope for his talents. His relationship with business partner Jonathan Rees deteriorated during his last months, the reason becoming all too clear later.
Because Police corruption was a nice little earner for Rees. After Morgan’s death, the cop who had investigated the killing, Sid Fillery, replaced him as Rees’ business partner after obtaining a discharge from the force on medical grounds. The two of them enjoyed the fruits of hacking, blagging, bent bank officials, bent coppers, bent public servants, and grateful hacks.
This last is partly why the only serious investigation of Rees and Fillery came from the deeply subversive Guardian, and mainly through the efforts of Nick Davies. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fourth Estate could not have given a flying foxtrot about solving the Morgan murder, and the Screws even helped Rees snoop on detectives who reopened the case, in 2002.
All of this should be considered before going near the Mail’s apparent conversion to the cause of openness and justice, typified by “Corrupt officer in Lawrence case could be linked to murder of private investigator found with an axe in his head” today. It has been alleged that John Davidson “was in the pay of Clifford Norris, drug-smuggling father of David Norris”, who was jailed for the Lawrence murder.
The suspicion that Norris had pals inside the Met was there from the moment the news of Stephen Lawrence’s murder emerged. Although Davidson was not directly involved in the subsequent investigation, “a number of the officers involved in the Daniel Morgan investigation can be linked to DS Davidson”. He has since retired to Minorca, where he runs a restaurant and owns property.
Anyone who has read the Guardian coverage of the Morgan case, and read Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News, can see the scale of potential Police corruption. And they may also know that most other papers didn’t want to touch the entire area until recently. Well, fair play to Paul Dacre: better late than never. But let’s not have the Mail pretend that it has been other than absent in the meantime.
And let’s not forget Daniel Morgan’s family, who are still fighting for justice.