The brother of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan told a meeting at the House of Lords yesterday why he suspects press involvement in the crime.
And he also urged politicians to continue pushing for the second part of the Leveson Inquiry to take place in order to investigate corruption involving the police and the press.
Former detective and Crimewatch host Jacqui Hames also spoke at the meeting and explained why she believes the News of the World sought to derail a fresh investigation into the Morgan murder in 2002.
Morgan’s murder, in 1987, has been the subject of five failed police investigations and is currently being probed by an independent panel looking into police involvement in the crime.
Alastair Morgan, who has been campaigning to get justice for his brother for 28 years, gave evidence yesterday to the meeting of MPs and peers chaired by Labour shadow home secretary Andy Burnham.
He said that, according to one source, Daniel had gone to a newspaper prior to his death revealing that he wanted to expose police corruption.
After four failed police investigations, Morgan’s former business partner Jonathan Rees was charged with murder in 2008 and former detective sergeant Sid Fillery was charged with perverting the course of justice. That trial collapsed in 2011 because of problems with evidence from informants.
Fillery was involved in the first Morgan murder inquiry before retiring from the police service to join Rees as his business partner in Morgan’s place.
Alastair Morgan said: “When the private investigator took over my brother’s company with the prime suspect you’d think the British press would be scratching their heads and saying: ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ But not a bit of it.
“They saw it as a business opportunity and within weeks of my brother’s murder the News of the World was in business with them. There were commercial transactions that went on and which continued well over a decade. And not just the News of the World. There was also Mirror group newspapers and those are the ones that we know of.
“I knew there was corruption in the investigation within three weeks of my brother’s murder, I had seen it.”
Morgan said that evidence from a former Southern Investigations book-keeper showed that the “police had planned to kill my brother… arrange for him to be killed by someone on a charge in exchange for letting them off the charge”.
Morgan said it took him 25 years of campaigning to get a meeting with the Home Secretary and that he accepted the offer of an independent panel – rather than a public inquiry – from Theresa May because he believed the second part of Leveson would go ahead.
He said: “If there are issues it can’t get to, I saw Leveson two as a possible way of dealing with the subjects the panel can’t deal with.”
Hames, representing Hacked Off, also gave evidence and explained how her ex-husband, former detective chief inspector Dave Cook, was put under surveillance by the News of the World when he opened up a new investigation into the Morgan murder in 2002.
She described how “myself and my family” became targets of press intrusion after Cook made a fresh witness appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch, which she was presenting at the time.
She said: “We know from telephone interception that suspects in Daniel Morgan’s murder were attempting to derail the inquiry by targeting David as investigating officer and bringing down his reputation…
“We were targeted by white vans, all sorts of people were following as around. We were put under a witness protection scheme.
"They tried to take financial information from our private accounts."
She said that one of the vans was traced back to the News of the World and a photographer was spotted who worked for the paper.
Hames said that then News of the World editor Rebekah Wade (now Brooks) was approached “unofficially” by the Met Police to explain the paper’s actions.
She said the explanation came back that the paper was pursuing a tip off that Hames and Cook were having an affair. They were married with two children at that time.
She said that anyone else accused of intimidating a police officer working on a murder inquiry “would have received a lot more robust treatment”.
She described the Met's approach to the News of the World as "almost more a tip-off that they had been rumbled".
Hames said she discovered in 2011 that her phone messages had been hacked by the News of the World, but that this had been known about by Met officers since about 2006.
She said that in that time she had been working on sensitive inquiries involving witness protection: “It would have been a huge security issue.”
Writer and broadcaster Peter Jukes also gave evidence to the committee. He is currently producing a podcast investigating the Morgan murder.
He noted that Cook is currently still under investigation for leaking information to the press some four years and a half years after his arrest. There is no suggestion of money changing hands.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided in November 2015 that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute Cook over leaks made to a journalist revealing failings in the Morgan murder inquiry. But he awaits a charging decision over another claim that he had unauthorised contact with a journalist.
Yesterday's meeting also heard from the: Orgreave campaign, seeking more openness about a 1984 confrontation between police and miners; the Sikh Federation, which is seeking information about UK state involvement in the 1984 Golden Temple massacre in India; and a group campaiging for striking construction workers who were arrested on reportedly trumped up charges in 1972.
Burnham said: "What unites many of the campaigns represented here today is that they have been the victims of alleged collusion between government, police and the press."