It really does read like the plot of a noir conspiracy thriller.
It all started back in 1987 with the grisly murder of a South London private investigator. Daniel Morgan was found in the car-park of the Golden Lion public house in Sydenham with an axe embedded in his face. The professionalism of the murder (the axe handle had been covered with elastoplast to hinder fingerprint recovery) bore the almost unmistakable hallmarks of a contract killing.
Thereafter, it is a tale of botched investigations, police corruption and institutional mendacity that has rumbled through the decades before finally erupting on Number 10’s doorstep this summer. And we’re not talking six degrees of separation either; there is only one name between the Prime Minister and the man suspected of murdering Daniel Morgan.
The chain is short and sweet like a donkey’s trot. Daniel Morgan’s business partner in Southern Investigations was Jonathan Rees. Jonathan Rees was the prime suspect in Morgan’s murder and from 1993 until he was jailed in 2000 for conspiring to plant cocaine on a mother during a custody battle, Rees worked as an investigator for the Murdoch-owned tabloid .
Rees was rehired by NOTW editor Andy Coulson after his release from prison in 2005. "No one pays like the News of the World do," is reportedly how Rees fondly summed up his employer in conversations recorded during the covert police investigation conducted in 1999 which led to his incarceration.
In spite of his prison sentence for attempting to frame an innocent mother (or perhaps because of it?) and in spite of the Guardian's long exposé of his illegal activities on behalf of the Murdoch red-top, Rees was back in business with Coulson signing off his retainer. He continued to retain Rees until April 2008 when the investigator was finally charged with conspiring to murder his former business partner.
Two years later, and still utterly oblivious (allegedly) to the activities occurring on his watch, Andy Coulson resigned from editorship of the News Of The Screws over the phone-hacking scandal only to find himself working for David Cameron within six months, first as a Tory media apparatchik and then as Her Majesty’s Goverment’s spin doctor. It has also transpired that since Coulson's resignation from that role, he has still been received by Cameron at Chequers.
Morgan's business partner, Jonathan Rees, counted many officers as friends.
Last March, Rees was cleared of Morgan’s murder. His brothers-in-law, Glenn and Garry Vian also beat the rap. Another bit-part player, Jimmy Cook, had already been cleared at an earlier hearing.
There was a fifth member of this enterprise that also avoided conviction. Sid Fillery, a former police detective from Catford, who moonlighted at Southern Investigations, was cleared at an earlier hearing of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Mr Fillery had also avoided jail in 2003 after admitting to downloading child pornography from the internet. (It's been reported that a year after Morgan's killing, Fillery left the Met on medical grounds and took the dead man's place as a partner at Southern Investigations.)
It seems that this attempt to bring Morgan’s killers to justice had been sunk by the testimony of unreliable ‘supergrass’ witnesses.
According to the Guardian, which has provided consistent coverage of both Morgan’s murder investigation and the whole Hackergate fiasco; “Morgan's brother Alastair and his elderly mother believed, with credible evidence to draw on, that he was killed because he was about to expose a network of corrupt police who were involved in widespread criminality and used Southern Investigations as a conduit for drugs and money. Morgan's business partner, Jonathan Rees, counted many officers as friends. One of his specialities was to use his "friends" in the force to provide information which he sold to tabloid newspapers.”
I guess the higher up the food chain Rees got, the more reasons there were to protect him...
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