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Calls for Scotland Yard to come clean over Daniel Morgan 'cover-up' in wake of Stephen Lawrence review

Did corruption prevent killer being caught?
  • @TomJHarper

Calls for Scotland Yard to “come clean” about an alleged 27-year cover-up of the Daniel Morgan murder has intensified in the wake of the review into the Stephen Lawrence case.

Alastair Morgan, whose brother, a private investigator, was found with an axe embedded in his skull in 1987, told The Independent that it appeared there was evidence of a corrupt “firm within a firm” operating inside the Metropolitan Police. He called on the force to release all documentary evidence to a separate judge-led panel investigating the unsolved case.

On Thursday the Ellison report, an independent review of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence – another killing that has been tainted with allegations of police corruption – found a direct link between the two cases.

Mr Morgan said: “We have always suspected that there could be overlaps between the two cases. It is essential that we get to the bottom of this.” He said he was concerned by revelations in the Ellison report that nearly all material gathered by Operation Othona, a top-secret anti-corruption investigation set up by the Met in 1993, was destroyed in 2003, because that meant it was likely that information concerning his brother’s case had been lost.

The Ellison team also found that key intelligence of police corruption, known by the former Met Commissioner Lord Stevens that related to the Lawrence murder, had been withheld from the Scotland Yard legal department, which was in charge of disclosure of information to the 1998 Macpherson inquiry into the fatal stabbing of the black student.

Mr Morgan told The Independent: “This is absolutely shocking. Lord Stevens has a lot of explaining to do. Why did he not tell his legal department? He also played a key role in the investigations into Daniel’s death and the documents from Operation Othona appear to have been shredded when he was commissioner.”

The review of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, conducted by Mark Ellison QC, found that the former Detective Sergeant John Davidson – a suspected corrupt officer who worked on the lamentable initial investigation in 1993 – could be linked to Met inquiries into the Daniel Morgan case.

Scotland Yard told the Ellison review that the link was false, but the report cast doubt on current police assurances, concluding: “We have some reservations about accepting this assertion.”

The report also concluded that intelligence relating to Mr Davidson was withheld from the Met’s directorate of legal affairs by Lord Stevens, and was treated with “near to absolute secrecy”. Mr Davidson has denied any corruption.

The report says: “The MPS legal team was unaware that there were also anti-corruption intelligence files mentioning officers involved in the initial murder investigation, and that Deputy Commissioner Stevens was communicating with the [Macpherson inquiry] chairman directly regarding this intelligence.

“Had counsel for the MPS been aware of such material, we are told they would have wanted to understand the nature of it, in order to advise as to whether or not it should be disclosed to the chairman, particularly given the widening of the ambit of the files that the inquiry wished to consider.”

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has appointed an independent panel to look at “police involvement” in the murder of Daniel Morgan, who was killed in a car park amid claims he was about to reveal police malpractice to the News of the World. She told the Commons the Morgan inquiry may “uncover material relevant to the question of corruption”. Lord Stevens did not respond to a request for comment.