A former Scotland Yard detective has claimed he held a meeting in 2002 with the former News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks, and told her a surveillance operation ordered by News International had tried to “undermine” a re-opened murder investigation.
Dave Cook, a former detective chief superintendent, said he had been told the NOTW had been offering assistance to those suspected of the Morgan murder. “They were trying to undermine me and the investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan, it’s as simple as that,” Mr Cook told the BBC. “I brought this to the attention of Rebekah Brooks. I had the meeting… She chose to do nothing about it.”
Mr Cook had not previously spoken openly about his 2002 meeting with Mrs Brooks, the former chief executive of News International.
He had appeared on the BBC’s Crimewatch in 2002 and announced he was heading a new investigation into the 1987 killing of Daniel Morgan. But shortly after the programme was aired, Mr Cook said he noticed unmarked vans parked outside his London home and discovered the vehicles were leased to Rupert Murdoch’s UK print division. Concerned for his safety, he claims he took his children and drove away in the family car. One of the parked vehicles followed him, he said.
When a photographer was confronted by the police about the surveillance, he claimed to be part of a NOTW “kiss n’ tell” operation trying to find out if Mr Cook was having an affair with a woman called Jacqui Hames.
But Ms Hames was Mr Cook’s wife, the mother of his children and they had lived together for years. The two main suspects of the re-opened murder inquiry were involved with a south London private investigation firm that regularly fed stories and confidential police information to the NOTW.
Details of the surveillance operation have previously been given to the Leveson Inquiry by Ms Hames, who had been a detective and a presenter on Crimewatch.
Scotland Yard’s 2006 investigation into phone hacking knew that the private investigator used by the NOTW as a specialist hacker, Glenn Mulcaire, had been tasked by the tabloid’s former news editor, Greg Miskiw, to compile a dossier on Mr Cook.
Miskiw was jailed for phone hacking last month. Also last month, Mrs Brooks, her husband Charlie, and her former secretary were all found not guilty of the charges against them following a lengthy trial at the Old Bailey.
Mrs Brooks told a parliamentary committee in 2011 that her recollection of the meeting was that it involved a discussion on a different topic.
The BBC said their reporters tried to contact Mrs Brooks but had so far received no response.
A Home Office-ordered independent review, headed by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, is currently looking into how Mr Morgan’s family were treated by the police and the criminal justice system in the years that followed the 1987 murder.