Daniel Morgan's family call for Leveson II to go ahead

Murdered private detective's relatives believe inquiry into press relations with police will finally solve 1987 case

Daniel Morgan
Private detective Daniel Morgan was murdered in 1987

The family of murdered private detective Daniel Morgan has appealed to Theresa May to launch the long-delayed second part of the Leveson inquiry, the BBC reports.

Morgan was killed in south London in 1987. He is said to have uncovered police corruption and had approached a journalist about it shortly before he died, The Guardian says.

The unsolved case, which is riddled with accusations of cover-ups, journalistic malpractice and police corruption, has been taken up by phone-hacking campaigners due to the links Morgan's business partner had with the News of the World and other newspapers.

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What is the Daniel Morgan case?

Morgan, 37, was found dead with an axe in his head outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London, where he had been drinking with his business partner Jonathan Rees. It was claimed he had discovered serious corruption in the police and had approached a journalist to expose it.

His firm, Southern Investigations, often worked for newspapers and reporters, including the News of the World's "fake sheikh" Mazher Mahmood, according to The Independent, while Rees regularly acted as a middleman for police to sell confidential information to the press.

Rees was questioned about the murder by his personal friend Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, who had been drinking with the two men the night before the killing.

Fillery's involvement, in the words of one detective, "ripped the guts out of the case" as it made it difficult for police to make subsequent charges stick. He retired from the force about a year later and subsequently went to work for Southern.

Rees, meanwhile, later worked for News of the World for £150,000 a year.

What is Leveson II?

The Leveson inquiry was set up after the 2011 revelations that journalists at Rupert Murdoch's News International had been involved in phone hacking to obtain stories. Its first findings on the culture and conduct of the media were published in 2012.

The second part of the inquiry, referred to as Leveson II, "is the investigation into how the cover-up of phone hacking was conducted", said Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson last year, and the relationship between police and the media. It is not known when it will take place.

What has Morgan's death got to do with Leveson?

The two were linked when former Met detective and BBC Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames said she had been targeted by the News of the World over her involvement in the case.

Her husband, Dave Cook, also a detective with the force, had appeared on the TV programme asking for information about Morgan's murder. They were subsequently put under surveillance by the newspaper working with Southern, which wanted to "make life difficult" for Cook, Hames told the Leveson inquiry.

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks claimed the paper was investigating rumours the couple were having an affair.

Hames has launched a legal challenge to culture secretary Karen Bradley's decision to consult on whether to go ahead with Leveson II, the BBC reports.

Why is Leveson II delayed?

Leveson II was initially postponed until the prosecutions of News of the World journalists were out of the way. But those are now over and there is no sign of it - because, the Daily Mail says, there is no political appetite for a time-consuming, costly inquiry.

There is also an ongoing consultation about section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which is to force publishers to sign up to a Leveson-backed regulator.

The measure, which was passed by parliament five years ago but has never been enacted, says that any non-compliant British publisher could be required to pay both sides' legal costs in libel cases, even if they win, something papers say could prove ruinous in an already tough business environment.

The Sunday Times has said it would never have published its expose into cyclist Lance Armstrong's drug taking had section 40 been in place.

The consultation closes on 10 January.

What now?

The appeal by Daniel Morgan's family comes 30 years after his death and five police investigations into the case. Four men were charged in 2008, but the prosecution collapsed three years later.

As home secretary, Theresa May ordered a panel to be set up in 2013 to investigate corrupt police and their relationships with journalists.

Morgan's family has accused the police of obstructing and delaying the inquiry, which is likely to complete its findings in autumn 2017.

His brother Alastair, who runs a podcast to draw public attention to the case, last year told the Guardian: "I believe Daniel was murdered because he was going to expose police corruption. I would be very disappointed if there were glaring question marks left behind by this panel which they couldn't address because they don't have statutory powers. The panel cannot say, 'I want you to answer these questions.' There are no sanctions that can be imposed.

"I want people dragged up before a judge and grilled, cross-examined by counsel. If there isn’t a Leveson II, then I fear that we are not going to get to the bottom of this case. "

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