Met Police chief apologises over failings in Daniel Morgan case
Dame Cressida Dick said it was a “matter of great regret that no-one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family”.
It comes after an independent panel set up to look into the case published a scathing report in which it accused the Met of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder.
The force’s first objective was to “protect itself” by failing to acknowledge its many failings since his death, the panel’s chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said.
Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.
The inquiries so far are estimated to have cost more than £40 million.
In a statement, Dame Cressida said: “It is a matter of great regret that no-one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family. For that I apologise again now.
“I have been personally determined that the Met provided the Panel with the fullest level of co-operation in an open and transparent manner, with complete integrity at all times.
“I recognise this is a powerful and wide-ranging report. We will take the necessary time to consider it and the associated recommendations in their entirety.”
In a statement through their lawyer, the family of Mr Morgan said: “We welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.”
The report, which runs to more than 1,200 pages, expressed concern that within the Met “a culture still exists that inhibits both organisational and individual accountability”.
It found: “The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his family to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional competence, individuals’ venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.
“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.
“Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”
The panel also said the “demonstrated links between personnel at the highest levels of the Metropolitan Police and people working for a news organisation liked to criminality associated with the murder of Daniel Morgan are of serious and legitimate public concern”.
The initial investigation into Mr Morgan’s death was heavily criticised, with the murder scene not searched and left unguarded, and no alibis sought for all the suspects.
A later probe by Hampshire Police, brought in to investigate amid fears of corruption, was compromised when a senior Met officer was appointed to work with the team, the report said.
Dame Cressida was also criticised for her refusal to allow the panel team access to a police data system.
Daniel Morgan’s brother, Alastair Morgan, told reporters the Met chief should “absolutely” be considering her position in light of the report.
The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt said: “You heard from the panel that the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense.
“The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.”
Downing Street later said Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has confidence in the Met Commissioner.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the Morgan case as “one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the Metropolitan Police”.
Speaking in the Commons, she said the report was “deeply alarming” and a “litany of mistakes” made by the force “irreparably damaged” the chances of a successful prosecution for the private investigator’s murder.