Daniel Morgan murder: Met admits failings and pays damages in settlement with family | Daniel Morgan #Daniel #Morgan #murder #Met #admits #failings #pays #damages #settlement #family #Daniel #Morgan

The 36-year fight for justice by the family of the murdered private detective Daniel Morgan has finally ended with the Metropolitan police admitting liability for their errors and corruption, and paying damages.

Morgan was found dead in March 1987 in a south London pub car park with an axe through his head. His family believe he was about to expose police corruption when he was silenced. In his apology, the Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, admitted it “prioritised its reputation at the expense of transparency and effectiveness”.

The Met has previously admitted that police corruption helped shield his killers and no one has ever been convicted of the murder.

The Morgan family issued a statement on Wednesday morning announcing their acceptance of a financial settlement made by the Met after it faced being sued in court.

Sir Mark Rowley, commissioner of the Met since September 2022, on Wednesday morning issued an apology to the family and admitted liability for the past failings of his force.

“I unequivocally and unreservedly apologise for the failure of the Metropolitan police service to bring those responsible for the murder of Daniel Morgan to justice. From the earliest stages, his family have been repeatedly and inexcusably let down by the Metropolitan police.

“This case has been marred by a cycle of corruption, professional incompetence, and defensiveness that has repeated itself over and over again. Daniel Morgan’s family were given empty promises and false hope as successive investigations failed and the Metropolitan police prioritised its reputation at the expense of transparency and effectiveness.

“No words can do justice to the pain and suffering that has been a feature of the family’s lives for more than three decades as they have fought for justice, a fight which no family should have to endure. Their tenacious campaigning has exposed multiple and systemic failings in this organisation.

“I have met with the family and listened to vivid and moving accounts of the devastating impact those failings have had on their lives. They have explained how their trust in policing has been eroded. The personal commitment I made to tackling corruption in this organisation when I took over as commissioner has never been stronger.”

An official inquiry ordered by Theresa May when she was home secretary, which reported in June 2021, found that Rowley’s predecessor, Cressida Dick, obstructed the panel appointed by the government to investigate claims that corruption blighted the hunt for Morgan’s killers and that the Met had failed to root it out. It also found the Met was institutionally corrupt.

Morgan and his business partner at the time of his death, Jonathan Rees, ran an investigation agency called Southern Investigations, which carried out extensive work for the News of the World tabloid newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch, which was shut down due to the phone hacking scandal.

The Morgan family’s civil claim issued in December 2021 alleged misfeasance in public office as well as breaches of the Human Rights Act.

The legal claim dated back to 1987 and alleged wrongdoing immediately after the killing, when one suspect turned out to be a detective who worked for a short period on the murder investigation, with police failings continuing through to recent years.

The Met announced in 2007 that the motive for the murder was probably that Morgan “was about to expose a south London drugs network possibly involving corrupt police officers”.

In a statement issued through their lawyers, the Morgan family said: “The family of Daniel Morgan, deceased, proposed to bring civil claims arising out of his murder on 10 March 1987 and the ensuing investigations into that murder against the Metropolitan police commissioner.

“As a result of a formal mediation process in July 2023, the parties were able to agree a mutually satisfactory settlement of the proposed claims, including an admission of liability on behalf of the commissioner in respect of the conduct of his officers in response to the murder.”

Neither side would confirm or deny media reports that claim the Met will pay out a total of £2m in damages and legal costs.

The Morgan family added: “At the request of the family of Daniel Morgan, all other terms of the settlement are confidential to the parties. Accordingly, the parties will not be making any further comments to the media about the terms of settlement or the mediation.”

In a Guardian interview in 2017, Morgan’s brother, Alastair – who spearheaded his family’s fight against the state for justice – said: “I’ve been in the wilderness. It has been horribly frustrating and painful for decades.”

Alastair Morgan felt not only the Met had failed his family, but also other organs of the state that were supposed to hold it to account. He told the Guardian: “I had a duty to my brother, to my family and to society not to give up. What has emerged has vindicated me. It is worryingly corrupt, in ways that are subtle, but very powerful.”

Two sticky plaster strips were wrapped around the axe handle used for Morgan’s murder in a bid to prevent fingerprint evidence being left behind. The last investigation into the murder ended in 2011, with the case against the accused collapsing in court even before a jury could hear any evidence.

That led to the then acting commissioner, Tim Godwin, admitting that police corruption in the first investigation was a significant factor in the failure to bring to justice those responsible for the murder.

Godwin also said that Morgan’s family were entitled to an apology for the repeated failure by the police to acknowledge this corruption.

It would take much longer for the Met to finally reach a deal with Morgan’s family.

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