Ex-business partner charged over detective's 1987 murder

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The Independent Online

The former business partner of a private detective murdered in 1987 is one of four men charged with the crime.

William John Rees, 53, also known as Jonathan, of Village Close, Weybridge, Surrey, was charged with the murder of Daniel Morgan, 37, who was found with an axe embedded in his head outside a south east London pub 21 years ago.

James Cook, 53, a builder from Tadworth, Surrey, Garry Vian, 47, who is unemployed and of no fixed address, and his brother Glen Vian, 49, of South Croydon, Surrey have also been charged with the murder.

Sidney Fillery, 61, a former Detective Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police, was charged with perverting the course of justice.

Fillery, now a barman living in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was involved in the initial investigation but later taken off the case.

All five men will appear in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court tomorrow.

A sixth man - a serving Pc arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office - was released on bail yesterday.

He is believed to be 24-year-old Pc Dean Vian, the son of Garry Vian, and has been bailed until June 2 pending further inquiries.

Scotland Yard said the detention of the 24-year-old was not connected to Mr Morgan's murder, but to recent events linked to the other five arrests.

Mr Morgan, a private investigator from Islington, north London, was discovered outside the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham on March 10 1987. He had been struck repeatedly in the head with an axe.

His family always maintained he was killed by a professional hitman. A £900 Rolex watch was missing but the £1,100 cash he was carrying was still in his pocket.

It is believed he was about to expose a south London drugs network involving corrupt police officers when he was murdered.

A re-investigation into the murder by Scotland Yard was launched in 2006.

During the probe, a number of key witnesses came forward, Scotland Yard said. The force has long maintained that the identity of those responsible for the axe attack was one of the "worst kept local secrets".

On Monday, officers arrested the five men over the murder.

The investigation that led to the latest arrests is the first to use new legislation through which offenders can turn Queen's evidence against co-conspirators in return for their sentences being cut.

The Crown Prosecution Service said they last reviewed the case in 2003 but at that time it was not possible to advise prosecution.

It was then subject to a number of further police investigations and public appeals.

A full file of evidence from the most recent investigation was reviewed by the Special Casework team in London.

Reviewing lawyer Stuart Sampson said: "There has been a great deal of speculation in relation to this killing but it is only recently that crucial witnesses have come forward to assist a prosecution.

"The CPS and police have been working together in order to ensure that there is a case which can be put before a jury with a realistic prospect of conviction."