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I first read about the murder of Daniel Morgan in The Guardian, as a teenager. Morgan was a private investigator, who was found with an axe in his head, in a pub carpark in south London in 1987. It is a shocking way for anyone to die, but as we learn more about Morgan’s life we find this is a complex, twisting story which ends up touching on some of the biggest scandles of modern Britian.
Morgan had been becoming more and more concerned about police corruption, and it is rumoured that before his death had been talking with a journalist looking to expose deep criminality within the Met Police. There were colossal mistakes made in the investigation into Morgan’s death, in fact, so many that it was reinvestigated a total of five times making it probably the most investigated death in history.
Host of the show Peter Jukes, has written not one, but two books about the murder, and along side Daniel’s brother Alastair, is the definitive expert on this confusing case which touches on the Stephen Lawrence murder, as well as the News of The World phone hacking scandal. It will not be a surprise to many that the News of The World would be tangled up in this most shady episode as they became a by-word for the absolute worst of tabloid journalism, souring countless lives, with it’s underhand tactics.
However if anyone is looking for a story with a satisfying end, they will have to have patience. An independent panel was formed in 2013 and it’s report was not published until 2021. It’s publication came at a time when the Met Police was under renewed scrutiny due to the death of Sarah Everard, coincidentally born the same year as Morgan was murdered, at the hands of a serving police officer, who’s criminal sexual behaviour had been ignored for years. The Home Secretary wrote to then Commissioner of the Met Police, Cressida Dick, who has since resigned, for a response to the report. With the current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and the Home Secretary at loggerheads over who will replace Dick, it feels like it may be a long time until the families of Morgan, Everard, and the many others who have doubtlessly suffered at the hands of corruption and apathy will get to see the reform of the institution which has harmed so many, while promising protection.