Arresting News of (Dis)organised Crime and Corruption

THE LOVERS’ LANE MURDERS

Historic Gangland Execution Re-examined After Ex-Cop’s Corruption Claims

lodge lane
The crime scene

The crime scene photos were unsettling even to the most weathered detective with a ready shield of flippancy.

Two distorted torsos could be made out through a windscreen impacted by blood and human tissue.

The man in the driving seat of the Mercedes was probably the first to be shot in the head at close range from the back seat. The 12-bore shotgun then turned on his girlfriend next to him.

“It was one of the most vicious things I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some ‘orrible things,” one veteran homicide detective recalled.

The couple had been kidnapped from her nearby home and forced to drive through rush hour on the last working day before Christmas.

Witnesses, including an off duty police officer, were struck by the erratic driving. They saw two men in the back seat of the Mercedes and one man in a Golf GTi with very low spoilers directly behind it.

At a junction, a driver got between the two cars until one of the men in the back of the Mercedes turned with a look so scary that the eyewitness pulled away.

Eventually, the Mercedes and Golf turned off the busy Epping Road into Lodge Lane. The dirt track led to an unlit lovers lane car park enveloped by forest and far enough away that two flashes of shotgun fire could get lost in the glare of headlights on the main road.

It was 7.30pm on Friday 22 December 1989. The two assassins covered in blood splatter and firearm residue slid into the Golf, which joined the metal crowd heading home through east London.

The black Mercedes remained unnoticed until the early hours of Saturday morning, when a police car turned into Lodge Lane looking for doggers.

The Essex cops were hoping to try out a new hand held thermal imaging device on the Mercedes, which was parked facing the forest. But neither passenger gave off a warm Ready Brek glow. Either the equipment was faulty or they were dead.

Within hours a Metropolitan police murder squad detective and crime scene manager arrived. A fleeting theory of murder-suicide was dispelled when no gun was found in the car.

After the Christmas break, a well-placed informant told his police handler the names of two men apparently responsible for the kidnap and shooting and a third man said to be behind it all.

The trio were well known gangland faces. The informant, also a face, was concerned for his safety because one of the three had “bent old bill wrapped around him,” he warned.

Arnold and Gooderham
Maxine Arnold and Terry Gooderham

Three decades later the murders of Terry Gooderham, 39, a pub stock taker, and Maxine Arnold, 32, an insurance clerk, remain unsolved. Corruption had been a problem from the start, police sources say.

Some time ago, The Upsetter learned that the detective who handled the informant was retired and still troubled by the double murder. ‘Mark’ (not his real name) couldn’t shake the case.

“It involves people’s lives and most importantly the lost lives of two young people in the most vicious and appalling circumstances,” he said. 

We made ourselves busy in the underworld and among retired detectives. Last week, our efforts paid off.

The double murder of Gooderham and Arnold is being re-examined. The new investigation is run by a joint group of anti-corruption and cold case murder detectives overseen by a ‘gold group’ of senior officers at Scotland Yard.

This is what we understand so far.

The Grey Overcoat

Mark heard about the lovers’ lane murders on his way back from a holiday abroad. “I know someone who’ll know about that,” he told his wife.

It wasn’t Mark’s case, but what’s the point having quality informants if you don’t tap them when something like this happens. The informant he had in mind had proved himself over the last six years.

The meeting took place in the first week of January 1990. The informant appeared on edge, wired even. He didn’t know Mark was coming. But after three hours he offered up three names and a motive.

David Hunt and Jimmy Holmes, he said, had allegedly taken up the contract because Gooderham was on the verge of going to the police about a pub protection racket.

Krays
Reggie and Ronnie Kray

The man behind the racket was named as Connie Whitehead, who in the late 60’s had gone down with the Kray twins as an accessory to their murder of Jack ‘the hat’ McVitie.

The informant was no stranger to violence but Mark recalls his man was “terrified” of Hunt and Holmes, two up-and-coming violent gangsters operating in east London. There was also concern that what he was saying would get back to Hunt through his supposed corrupt police contacts.

Mark knew of Hunt’s reputation and had heard the corruption rumours. He immediately drove to a police station near the crime scene, sat in his car and wrote a two-page intelligence log of what he’d just heard.

An informant’s name never appears on the log. Mark’s was registered under the pseudonym ‘David Hampshire’. The real identity was held in a central registry at Scotland Yard and by a senior officer on the police division where Mark worked.

“I sat for a long time thinking how the fuck do I get this [log] into the system” without any corrupt interference. The next day Mark confided in a trusted superior who assured him the murder squad would be made aware of the intelligence.

But a few days later something extraordinary happened. “I was at Snaresbrook Crown Court when a high-ranking officer based at Scotland Yard arrived in his chauffeur-driven car.”

The senior officer wore an expensive grey overcoat and wanted a private word with Mark.

“I was told the information I had submitted on the log was wrong, the informant had been spoken to and basically retracted, he’d been on pills, his head fucked. I was told thanks very much now leave it to the murder squad.”

The whole set up felt wrong. If the informant woke up the next day and realised he had mouthed off while on drugs he could have phoned Mark personally and retracted. They had that sort of relationship, but he never called.

Instead, the high ranking officer was standing in front of him. The man in the grey overcoat had nothing to do with the murder squad but he was responsible for all other serious crime in London, which meant his was the word of God.

Who was Mark, a detective sergeant, to question God’s word over that of a criminal informant, whose motives are almost always dishonourable – money, revenge or taking out the competition.

Hunt
David Hunt

At the time, Mark was waiting for a transfer to south London. “I was glad to leave the east end after eleven years. The informant was going to be no use to me in south London so I left him behind. I would recruit new ones. I accepted what I was told, that [Hampshire] had got it wrong.”

Flagging

Terry Gooderham and Maxine Arnold led an unorthodox life. He spent half the week in her Walthamstow flat from where they were kidnapped, and the other half with another woman in Chingford.

A detective close to the Chingford woman said she was unaware of Maxine. “Until Old Bill turned up with sniffer dogs to do the Christmas tree – they thought drugs didn’t they. That’s the obvious thing when someone gets their head blown off,” he said.

Maxine’s mum, Violet, had gone round to her daughter’s flat after the couple didn’t show up for a drink on the Friday night of their murder. It looked like they had left in a hurry and Violet also noticed that Terry’s auditing books were no longer there, a retired detective told Mark.

Terry kept these books and loads of cash at the homes of the two women with whom he was living a double life, the source added.

On the twelfth anniversary of the double murder, Violet made a TV appeal for witnesses to put her mind at ease “and let Terry and Maxine rest in peace.”

A former detective joined in to offer a possible motive for the unsolved crime. “I personally think [Terry] did stumble over something in the course of his bookkeeping and it was so important there was a large risk of him coming to the police about it, and because of that he was killed.”

The TV appeal yielded no actionable intelligence. That remained the position come the twentieth anniversary of the murder in 2009.

By then, Mark had recently retired after a 30-year career that took him all over the world as a specialist organised crime detective.

But the more he relived that day in January 1990 when the high-ranking officer in the grey overcoat approached him outside court, the more he believed there was something improper going on.

Firstly, the high-ranking officer had nothing to do with the murder, so why was he getting involved and personally? Secondly, irrespective of his seniority in rank, he should never have known the real name of the informant. Thirdly, the informant should not have been seen without going through Mark first.

A ‘flagging system’ in operation at the time had been set up to stop blue-on-blue situations where one police officer is chasing a criminal who is an informant for another officer.

Officers can flag informants, criminals, operations, locations as an early warning system if information comes into the central police intelligence collating system. Flagging can be done for honest reasons and crooked ones.

The protocol at the time was that the officer with the flag is told about the intelligence and the officer who runs the informant, but never the informant’s real name. The two police are then supposed to speak and consider options. It allows the informant handler to also assess if the approach is legitimate or for some corrupt motive.

Mark was coming to the view that the high-ranking officer had flagged one of the three names, then used his rank to find out who was giving information about him.

The question was whether this was for a corrupt purpose, to tip one of them off perhaps, or possibly to protect another police operation at an advanced or crucial stage against.

In those days, said Mark, a murder did not always trump other police investigations.

Tiger to Crocus

One year before the lovers’ lane murders, east London detectives had launched an operation against Hunt and his organised crime group.

Holmes
Jimmy Holmes

Operation Tiger ran from a secret base because Hunt was suspected of having corrupt contacts in Plaistow police station, which covered his stomping ground of Canning Town and Custom House.

Operation Tiger also looked at Hunt’s key associates Jimmy Holmes, Tony Bowers and Bobby Reading. The gang was variously suspected of involvement in lorry hijacks, pub and club protection, prostitution and drug supply.

Detectives on Operation Tiger said it was not sophisticated police work in that they lacked funding for a surveillance team and there was no phone taps. Tiger’s strength was in a number of local informants and the determination of its detectives.

Legend has it that two turned up at Hunt’s house in Varley Road and gave him the option of leaving Canning Town or facing the consequences. Whatever his reasons, Hunt did leave in October 1988 and moved to a new, bigger home in Rahn Road on the edge of Epping Forest.

Shortly before the double murder in December 1989, Operation Tiger was closed down for lack of resources, said the detective chief inspector who ran it.

But immediately after the murder, an increased amount of intelligence started coming in, recalled former detective chief inspector Norman McNamara. The intelligence concerned corrupt east London police helping local villains.

A new secret operation codenamed Crocus was set up in 1990 to deal with this corruption intelligence, which became the forerunner of Scotland Yard’s anti-corruption Ghost Squad set up a few years later.

The high-ranking officer in the grey overcoat had no involvement with Operation Tiger, or the double murder inquiry and, according to sources, had shown an unusual concern about the corruption intelligence being collated by Operation Crocus.

At the time he was secretly under investigation for unrelated corruption offences.

By Universal Repute

A May 1990 police report on the double murder linked the deaths to “prolific organised crime operating primarily in east and north London.”

The report went on:

“Preliminary research into Hunt and Holmes have revealed they are engaged on various criminal activities, primarily protection in respect of pubs in east London, the organisation of Acid House parties and the supply of drugs and the take over of clubs in the West End.

Hunt is presently being paid protection money by several public houses in the Canning Town area … By universal repute, no criminal activity takes place in that area of East London without his agreement.

It is also said by sources that very little of what occurs in Plaistow police station remains secret from this criminal fraternity and they even target this police station with long range listening devices.”

Connie
Cornelius Whitehead

The murder squad were also onto Cornelius ‘Connie’ Whitehead. According to sources, detectives had set up a covert observation post on a warehouse Whitehead had in Stratford.

Lorries full of booze were hijacked and allegedly slaughtered (unloaded) in the warehouse and then sold to various pubs at a cheap price. Whitehead had numerous pubs, including the Beckon Arms, in east London.

The murder squad suspected the pub protection racket involved taking over pubs in distress by getting the licensee in debt or using menace. Mark’s informant had told him the same thing during their three-hour chat.

Although never arrested for the double murders, Hunt became aware he was a suspect when Peter Wilson, a crime reporter on the Sunday Mirror, knocked his family home in Rahn Road in March 1992.

Wilson had just received a briefing from detective superintendent Bill Peters, the senior detective in charge of the murder. But when Wilson made his enquiries Hunt flew into a rage and head butted the reporter so expertly it broke his eye socket.

Wilson reported the assault and Hunt was arrested. But on reflection, the journalist withdrew the charges fearing for his safety.

Peters told The Upsetter that a number of criminal families, including the Adams family from Islington, were linked to the double murder. One theory was Gooderham was suspected of stealing, while Maxine Arnold was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Hunt, said Peters, was a rising star who despite their efforts “had the propensity to not get touched by the Met.”

Holmes is Where the Hatred Is

Jimmy Holmes was arrested in 1992 for robbery and possession of a gun. The detectives, who were not connected to the murder squad, interviewed him about other alleged crimes, including the double murder. He stayed quiet but was jailed for mortgage fraud connected to the gang’s porn interests.

Chez Hunt
The Morleys

However, in 1995, when Holmes came out, he fell out spectacularly with Hunt, who had moved into a 20-acre mansion called The Morleys.

The fall out was over the spoils of their criminal enterprise, Holmes claimed in an interview with The Upsetter in 2010.

He explained how cocaine abuse had become a way of blocking out the horrors of his life of violence since he joined up with Hunt in the mid-Eighties.

After the fall out, Holmes embarked on a guerrilla campaign to embarrass and undermine his former friend. This included speaking to intelligence officers from the Met. But when they asked about the lovers’ lane murder Holmes denied any involvement.

Only, in our interview about his time with Hunt, he said:

“We moved into serious armed robbery, drug smuggling, pub protection rackets, porn, prostitution and other serious stuff, which I can’t mention because loads of it is still on Old Bill’s open files.”

Holmes claimed he and Hunt carried out contract shootings, but not killings. “I can ride a bike,” he said enigmatically. “So sometimes I rode a bike for him.”

Pressed if he and Hunt were involved in the double murder, Holmes said:

“Some things I just can’t go anywhere near and I wouldn’t like to speculate. I’ve been put in the frame for that. There are certain things I can say and I can’t say.”

For his part, Hunt has always denied any involvement in any murder, contract shootings, torture or the assault on the Mirror journalist.

He said Holmes was his friend, godfather to one of his children and legitimate business partner who he tried to help through his drug addiction.

These matters were aired during an unsuccessful libel action that Hunt brought in 2013 against The Sunday Times. When considering the circumstances leading to the assault on Wilson, the judge, Mr Justice Simon, said:

“I am quite clear that Mr Wilson’s evidence of an assault was a truthful account, and that the Claimant’s denial was knowingly untruthful. Although the Claimant came across as mild-mannered and courteous, this part of the case showed that he could not be relied on as a witness of truth, that he was capable of sudden violence when his interests were directly threatened and that he was not frightened to ‘take on’ a journalist, notwithstanding the possible consequences.”

The judge found that Hunt was a violent organised crime boss involved in fraud, money laundering and witness intimidation. He did not find that Hunt was involved in murder or drug trafficking.

Waking Up

Mirror
Daily Mirror 23 December 2019

On the 30th anniversary of the double murders, The Upsetter and The Mirror published an article revealing for the first time the corruption concerns of Mark.

Retired detective superintendent Albert Patrick, who carried out a review of the double murder in 2012, recalled seeing an intelligence log on the file and confirmed that Hunt, Holmes and Whitehead were suspects.

“There was more than one source of intelligence,” naming the suspects, said Patrick, adding that a witness had provided “almost a spitting image” of one of the two men in the back of the Mercedes. “Sadly we submitted DNA but nothing came out of it,” he recalled.

Whitehead, now 84 and in poor health, was approached at home. “I don’t know nothing about it,” he said.

Mark had hoped the Met would get in touch after the Mirror article and maybe even start an investigation. The police did neither.

So he contacted Crimestoppers, his local chief constable and finally, in June 2020, the police watchdog. He had a list of concerns: Had his January 1990 intelligence log gone missing? Why had no one from the murder squad come to see? Had his informant been frightened off? Why had the high-ranking officer in the grey overcoat interceded?

The watchdog passed Mark’s complaint to the Met’s anti-corruption squad in July. Initially, he was told they were satisfied the January 1990 intelligence had reached the murder squad.

But Mark felt fobbed off and a face-to-face meeting was arranged with the anti-corruption head of intelligence. “Why are you doing this?” he asked. “I’m here to wake up the Met,” Mark replied.

They discussed a 2002 anti-corruption report, Operation Tiberius, which said the Hunt and Adams organised crime groups had corrupt east London detectives working for them since the 1990s and could infiltrate and contaminate murder inquiries “at will.”

The intelligence chief said he had spoken to the author of the Tiberius report and felt “two thirds was speculative.” Mark knew many of the 42 officers named in the report as corrupt.

“I joined a police corrupt force,” he replied. “The Met needs to open its eyes. If I was a corrupt officer I would have had Hunt flagged. It’s not going away. The only reason you are not looking at this is because you don’t want to open up Tiberius.”

In September, Mark got word that the Met didn’t have the resources and the matter had been put to bed. The intelligence chief had also retired.

Last month, Mark put out a call to former detectives announcing he was investigating the case himself. Two detectives on the original murder inquiry made contact.

“They were both adamant my intelligence log was never given to the murder squad,” said Mark. One of the former detectives said the same high-ranking officer in the grey overcoat had tried to get information out of him. He was particularly interested in a corruption briefing given to Scotland Yard that led to Operation Crocus.

lodge lane
The crime scene

Further information came to Mark that the initial crime scene cordon was poor and by the time CCTV was recovered from a nearby petrol station it had been wiped.

Last week the Met confirmed in an email to Mark it had started a “homicide investigation” with anti-corruption and cold case murder detectives.

In a statement this evening, the Met said:

“These murders were subject to a homicide investigation at the time. As with all unsolved cases, these murders are subject to periodic review to consider if they can be advanced with the passage of time. No charges have been brought.

The murders were last reviewed in 2015 but the case could not be progressed further. The MPS has recently been contacted by a former officer presenting possible new information relating to the murders. As with all information this will be carefully assessed and this is ongoing at this time.”

legacy
For the full story

A statement from Hunt’s lawyer said:

“Mr Hunt denies any involvement in the murders of Terry Gooderham and Maxine Arnold. He also denies that he was involved in any way with any corrupt police officers.”

Heartbroken

Maxine Arnold’s mother died without seeing justice. But her remaining family have welcomed the new probe. A relative said:

“It’s a good thing that they are looking at it again, hopefully it will come to something. I just feel so sorry for Maxine, she was such a lovely girl and her life was wasted. She would have been 64 in September and she was just 32 when she was taken from us. What happened destroyed her mum who never got over it. She used to say to me how she hoped the killers would be caught before she died but they never were. It was all too much stress for her, her heart was broken.”

And so it goes.

MAXCOIN

Mosley Puffed By ‘Independent’ Film He Funded

Max Mosley will be lionised in an “independent” documentary made by a film company in which he and his wife are major shareholders, The Upsetter can reveal.

Mosley: It’s Complicated, which is billed as “unauthorised”, is expected in cinemas next month.

NOTW
30 March 2008

Actor Hugh Grant is among the fawning usual suspects to be found praising Mosley for taking on the press after a tabloid sting in 2008 exposed his predilection for sadomasochistic orgies with prostitutes.

The documentary makers were granted special access to the scandal-ridden Formula One motor racing boss turned privacy campaigner, who died of cancer aged 81 on May 23.

Yet over 95 minutes, Mosley is unchallenged about a violent racist past and support for his Nazi-sympathising parents, Sir Oswald Mosley, the British Union of Fascists leader, and Lady Diana Mitford, a friend of Adolf Hitler. 

There are no critical voices in the film about the post-war period when blacks, Jews and Indians were terrorised by the racial hatred Mosley and his father incited during anti-immigration and pro-apartheid demos.

Mosley, apparently dressed as a Teddy Boy, whipped up racial hatred during the Notting Hill riots in 1958 and the following year campaigned in same area where his father gave an election speech on the exact spot that Kelso Cochrane, an immigrant from Antigua, was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths. 

moselyAlso missing is any account of a now notorious election leaflet that Mosley published in 1961, which makes a direct link between “coloured immigration” and the spreading of “terrible diseases.”

Nor is Mosley asked to explain why he never unreservedly apologised for the views he claims to have abandoned overnight in 1963 – when he realised his father’s political ambitions would not succeed.  

Anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate (formerly Searchlight) have turned far-right activists and neo-Nazis experiencing a crisis of conscience. Some have even been trusted to go back inside the movements of hate as double agents. But the first step is an apology for the things done and said and, importantly, an explanation for why the far-right attracted them in the first place.

Mosparents
Mosley with his parents outside court in 1962

Instead, Mosely tells Michael Shevloff, the writer, producer and director of the documentary:  

“I was influenced by my parents, particularly my father, a controversial figure. But everything he did in his life, he did because he thought it would be for the benefit of other people.” 

Media Diamond

Shevloff, 56, who is based in Los Angeles, produces Top Gear USA and other light entertainment shows. The Mosley documentary is his directorial debut. The British filmmaker is understood to have met Mosley when making a documentary on F1 racing drivers in 2013.

Media Diamond Limited, the company that owns rights to the Mosley documentary, was set up in 2017 with Shevloff as the only director. Unusually, he paid nothing for his controlling shares.

The company’s accounts, however, show that Mosley and his wife, Jean, are the real financial backers. Mosley met her when they were seventeen at a social function of the Union Movement, Sir Oswald’s post war fascist party.

Jean does not appear in the documentary but Mosley paid £600,000 for their shares in Media Diamond. This financial link is not declared by the documentary or in any promotion material. 

Shevloff does not deny that Mosley bankrolled the documentary. He said:

Shevloff
Shevloff to the left of Mosley

“The film is unauthorised. It is completely independently conceived, created and edited. The film was shown to Max Mosley. He had no editorial input or control. The film is my portrait of his life and an account of the time that we followed him. Media Diamond is an active production company with various projects.”

Shevloff praises Mosley as “an extraordinary man” who saved “tens of thousands” of lives due to his work on car safety. 

The documentary opens and closes with Mosley campaigning for better crash-proof cars in India and musing over the effect of accidents on a brown population he now wants to protect.

Mos poster
Max ‘Breaking Bad’ Mosley

Shevloff denied the emphasis on India was an attempt to offset his subject’s past racism. The director said:

“Max Mosley’s road safety work began over 25 years ago, after Ayrton Senna’s death. I think it is perhaps the least known but most interesting part of his life.”  

His governing role at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and successful libel battle over the sex scandal, which eventually led to the closing of The News of the World and ended his dominance of motor sports, are the other key pillars of the documentary.

In it, Mosley says he suspects one of three unnamed F1 figures may have been behind the tabloid sting but denies a friend’s claim that he leaked a picture of Jean-Marie Baluster in Nazi uniform at the height of their feud over the sport’s leadership.

MaxBern
Ecclestone (left) and Mosley (right)

Bernie Ecclestone, Mosley’s long-term F1 business partner, gives an on screen apology for not supporting him during a FIA vote of confidence that followed the orgy scandal and reveals he told Margaret Thatcher she should give Mosley a job in her cabinet.

“He could have been an excellent prime minister for the UK but, when pushed, he thought his father’s history might have held him back. I believe, as do many prominent people, that he was wrong. We need a few more Max Mosleys in this world,” he said.

Old Max
Max Mosley (13 April 1940-23 May 2021)

Friendly Hacks

Since winning £60,000 in damages from his privacy case against The News of the World, multi-millionaire Mosley, directly or through a family trust, has funded more than this documentary.

The neo-Mosleyite beneficiaries include: IMPRESS, an attempt at a new press regulator; Byline Media, an attempt at real journalism; and Byline contributor Brian Cathcart’s attempt to remain head of media ethics while accepting £45,000 to complete a book.

HughGrant
Hugh Grant, Hacked Off

Cathcart is also a founder of the privacy pressure group Hacked Off, which has Hugh Grant on its board. The actor said of Mosley in the soon-to-be-released documentary:

“Max is an ex-barrister and brilliant at thinking tactically outside the box and fearless, ready to take on the biggest monster. I’m glad he’s my friend not my enemy.”

Mosley may be in the great dungeon in the sky, but his millions remain here for friendly hacks.

Sadly, Hacked Off has decided transparency does not extend to its donors and therefore won’t confirm (or deny) that it too has taken Maxcoin.

And so it goes.

PANEL BEATING

The Inside Story of Priti Patel’s Battle for the Daniel Morgan Report

The family of Daniel Morgan are right to be “suspicious” of Priti Patel’s last minute block on publication of the long-awaited report into the private investigator’s notorious unsolved murder in 1987.

Ludicrous reliance on the old chestnut of “national security” to justify stopping yesterday’s planned publication, after an 8-year inquiry costing £15m, has proved a spectacular own goal.

It has left the Home Secretary looking even more shifty and dismissive of a family failed for 34 years by no less than five flawed police investigations and the entire criminal justice system. 

Cooked Up

patel
Poster by Paparaw – go get one

The Upsetter has pieced together the run up to what appears to be an 11th hour panic by Patel when confronted with a report widely expected to damn many, not just the Metropolitan police 

It starts shortly after Patel became home secretary in July 2019. Baroness Nuala O’Loan, chair of the Daniel Morgan Inquiry Panel, was summonsed to see permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, whose new boss wanted to know why an inquiry costing £2m per year was taking so long. 

O’Loan is understood to have put the blame squarely on the Met’s internal probe into lead detective Dave Cook, whose coaching of supergrass witnesses had undermined the prosecution of five men suspected of Morgan’s murder. 

It was the collapse of their trial in March 2011 that eventually led to then home secretary Theresa May setting up the independent panel in 2013.

The trial judge’s criticism of Cook and a complaint of malicious prosecution by acquitted prime suspect Jonathan Rees forced the Met to investigate the retired detective chief superintendent.

Six years later in 2019, O’Loan told Rutnam the Met’s investigation of Cook was still on-going and she was therefore unable to interview him and complete her report.

It was only in April 2020 that Cook was told he would not be charged with perverting the course of justice – a decision backed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as not being in the public interest.

DCS Dave Cook

In August, the panel finally interviewed Cook, who alleged he’d been kept under investigation for so long because the Met wanted to “silence” him from revealing details about wider corruption in the supergrass debriefing unit and other skullduggery.

The panel inquired into these allegations but were separately critical of Cook’s own conduct and notified him in writing of where they felt he had fallen short of honesty and integrity in trying to put away those he believed were guilty, otherwise known as noble cause corruption, or if you prefer, corruption.

8 Days in May

By early 2021, the panel had pretty much notified everyone else it intended to seriously criticise and had given them a chance to respond. This includes the Home Office for its lack of oversight of five police investigations costing north of £50m.

Publication of the panel’s report was set for May 17 – the same day a loosening of lockdown rules meant people could get hammered inside a pub, which looked like a good day to bury bad news.

But on 10 May, a new permanent secretary at the Home Office contacted O’Loan with news of a delay.

Rutnam had resigned over a bullying scandal that has dogged Patel’s ministerial career and recently won a £360,000 settlement paid by the taxpayer to save the Home Secretary’s blushes.

Matthew Rycroft, Patel’s new permanent secretary, told O’Loan publication of the report had to go back a week to the 24 May because the death of Prince Philip and the local elections had left limited space in the parliamentary timetable before the Whitsun break.

O'Loan
Baroness Nuala O’Loan

There was no mention of national security but, according to informed sources, Rycroft did say that Patel would only make a written statement to parliament rather than present the report and debate its conclusions and recommendations in the chamber of the House of Commons.

This suggested that Patel had no intention of taking ownership of the report or the past mistakes by her department. She was content to do what Home Office officials had agreed with the panel in 2013 and receive the report one day before laying it before parliament.

That approach made political sense. Her hands were effectively clean so why associate herself with a report about events a long time ago, when many voters weren’t even born, that didn’t stir the media in the same way as the Stephen Lawrence scandal.

However, looked at another way, Patel’s hands off approach was a snub to the Morgan family, whose concerns, Theresa May had promised, would be at “the centre of the process”.

So imagine O’Loan’s surprise when days later on 14 May the Home Secretary personally wrote raising national security concerns and blocking publication until her officials had risk assessed the report.

Laughably, Patel claimed in the letter to O’Loan that she was exercising her responsibility as Home Secretary under the Inquiries Act by calling in the panel’s report to check compliance with the Human Rights Act (legislation so despised by her wing of the Tory party).

Firstly, the panel was not established under the Inquiries Act. The family’s wish for a public inquiry had been rejected by Theresa May, who set up an independent panel with less powers to compel witnesses and co-operation. 

Secondly, the Met had already risk assessed the report and it is further understood that MI5 had not raised any national security issues with the panel.

Not even over the activities of Jonathan Rees, whose private detective agency had targeted government figures for the mainly Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloids. Rees’s Southern Investigations had also tried to unmask ‘Stakeknife’ – an undercover agent inside the IRA – on behalf of The News of the World.

Despite all this, the spooks had no concerns, a source close to these events said. And on a more practical level, who could Patel get to do these checks anyway without deferring to the Met and the panel?

Murdoch Killed Morgan

The Home Secretary’s heavy-handed intervention was a spectacular own goal and immediately branded an attempt to cover up official misconduct by the police establishment.

Conspiracy theories spread through Twitter and the mainstream media. The funniest being that Patel was H – the dull but corrupt police puppet master in Line of Duty – to the more predictable speculation in The Guardian and elsewhere that this was all about protecting Rupert Murdoch’s media interests.

In truth, the Morgan family have campaigned for most of the last 34 years alone. Rival media used the murder and the family’s isolation to open a new line of attack in the phone hacking scandal.

REES
Jonathan Rees

These late arrivals to the Morgan cause highlighted the willingness of Murdoch’s UK media empire to contract Rees in the dart arts of news gathering despite being the number one suspect for an axe murder and having a conviction for planting drugs on the wife of a client locked in a custody battle.

The many complex reasons for the Met’s failure to solve the Morgan murder thus became entangled and lost in criticism of the same force’s failure to properly investigate complaints about tabloid monitoring of celebrities’ phone messages for scoops.

Dave Cook helped push the theory through tame journalists in large measure because he felt senior Met management had failed to support him after the News of the World put him very briefly under surveillance in 2002 following his appointment as the public face of the new murder hunt.

The issue of whether media and police corruption worked in tandem to frustrate solving the Morgan murder gained enough traction, especially after the Leveson Inquiry into press standards concluded in November 2012, that it became part of the panel’s terms of reference to examine:

“the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them.”

Control Freakery

Ironically, Patel’s move against the panel has re-energised what was waning media interest in the Morgan murder, as reporters struggled to grab editors’ attention until the Home Secretary’s letter of 14 May made it a political story.

Her decision to “vet” the report smacks of political control freaky mixed with a dysfunctional relationship with her civil servants.

A furious O’Loan went public on 18 May with a press release describing Patel’s interference as an attack on the panel’s independence. Fieldfisher, the panel’s lawyers, suggested a legal challenge was possible if the Home Secretary didn’t back down. 

Crisis meetings continued over last weekend with the panel refusing to hand over the report. Patel went on the offensive claiming on Channel 4 News that it was the “right” thing for her to see the report ahead of publication.

Dick Fight

Clearly the Home Secretary wants more time and one theory is because she is considering the future of Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.

As The Upsetter recently revealed in The Times, Dick is expected to be criticised in the report over obstructing the release of sensitive police documents to the panel. 

According to Theresa May, the panel would take a year to report from when the Met disclosed all the necessary documents. She told Parliament in 2013:

Dick
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick

“Recognising the volume of material that must be catalogued, analysed and preserved, the Panel will seek to complete its work within a year of the documentation being made available.”

As an assistant commissioner at the time, Dick’s job was to liaise with the panel over the disclosure process. She was familiar with the Morgan case having just overseen a largely self-serving joint report with the CPS into the collapse of the murder trial.

Sources say Dick tried to persuade the panel’s first chairman, Sir Stanley Burnton, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, to agree to be the only person who could see certain documents. 

The Morgan family got wind of what they saw as Dick’s “grooming” of Sir Stanley, who lost their confidence and resigned on 19 November 2013 citing “personal reasons”. The former judge went on to sit on the interception of communications commission.

Nuala O’Loan became the new chair of the panel in July 2014 and is said to have been frustrated with the continued delays in releasing police material, including after Dick became Met commissioner in April 2017.

Alastair Morgan, Daniel’s brother, blames Dick for his 89-year-old mother, Isobel Hulsmann, not getting to see the report before she died in November 2017.

He told The Upsetter:

“I hope that the Commissioner is criticised in the report because it has taken too long because of the activities of the police and most of this time it was on her watch. This meant my mother died before seeing the report.”

And in spite of the criticism coming Cook’s way, the former detective still retains his support. Morgan said:

“I know there had been obstruction in the Met. The prosecution of Dave Cook was designed to slow down the panel from completing its work.”

The son of Daniel Morgan was given special dispensation to fly to the UK for publication of the report. Opening up for the first time in The Guardian, Daniel Morgan junior said:

“For us, the Met is a failed institution – one that can’t demonstrate the capacity to admit failure and act upon it accordingly. Instead, the Met seems solely focused on protecting itself … I urge the DMIP to take whatever steps are in its power to stand up to the home secretary, to ensure that its independence and integrity are not compromised.”

Confidence in the Met is already rocked by repeat racial profiling of black people and criticism in the Daily Mail of “a culture of cover up” over the VIP paedophile scandal.

This may present Patel with an opportunity to replace Dick, whose contract ends next year but could be extended until 2024.

For now, three powerful women, the Home Secretary, the Met commissioner and a Baroness are duking it out in private making it unlikely the Morgan family and the public, who picks up the bill, will get to see the panel’s report any time soon.

And so it goes.

Update

In a humiliating climb down for Priti Patel, the home secretary will not be given the report ahead of publication to vet at will on supposed national security grounds.

In a statement on 28 May, the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel said:

An agreement has been reached that a small team from the Home Office will be permitted to read the report in advance of publication, under strict viewing conditions, at the premises of the Panel. As was always envisaged, the Home Secretary will be provided with a copy of the report to read before publication.

There are no redactions in the Panel’s report, which is complete. In the unlikely event that any redaction is applied by the Home Secretary, this will be clearly indicated in a footnote.

It is further understood that any redactions Patel wishes to make will be run past the Morgan family, who she has managed to alienate even further with such a clunky power play.

Barring further ego tripping, the report will be published by parliament on 15 June.

BLACK DEATH: AN UPDATE

Met police to examine corruption in 1959 racist murder

 

Cartoonist Ken Sprague
Cartoonist Ken Sprague

The Metropolitan police will examine corruption concerns surrounding the unsolved murder of a black man in Notting Hill after his family petitioned for an apology on the 62nd anniversary of his violent death at the hands of racists.

It follows an exclusive article published by The Upsetter with journalist Mark Olden, whose investigation into the murder of Kelso Cochrane in 1959 has raised questions about the police handling of the case.

Kelso
Kelso Cochrane (courtesy of Millicent Christian)

Asked if the Met would apologise and support the Cochrane family’s call for release of National Archives files, that are closed to public inspection until 2054, the force issued the following statement:

“The murder of Kelso Cochrane in North Kensington in 1959 remains unsolved. As with all unsolved murders, this case is not closed and any evidence that comes to light will be assessed and investigated accordingly.

In light of recent coverage of the case and concerns raised by Mr Cochrane’s family via petition we are assessing the historical material held by police in relation to the murder. We will be contacting Mr Cochrane’s family so that we can better understand their concerns with the original investigation.”

Josephine Cochrane, Kelso’s daughter, has long believed there was an establishment “cover up” of her father’s murder.

Josephine Cochrane

In response to the Met’s statement, she said:

“For years, we were without our father and were always wondering where he was and what happened to him. It left us with a lot of unanswered questions, as well as the pain of abandonment and going through life hard. I didn’t have a dad and made bad choices because I didn’t have someone who can guide me.”

Josephine, 68, who lives in New York and is a social worker, says the Met “have never fully contacted us to let us know what happened to our father.” She wants an apology and the National Archives files released.

“I want the files opened because there are things in there we need to know.”

The Met intervention comes on the eve of the first anniversary of the George Floyd murder by a US police officer.

A Black Lives Matters demonstration will march through London this weekend.

 

 

BLACK DEATH

Apology Plea to Met Police Over Murder 62 Years Ago Today

Cartoonist Ken Sprague
Cartoonist Ken Sprague

 

A gang of around five white youths overpower a solitary black man on a London street at night. One of them drives a knife deep into him. The fatal attack is unprovoked and over in seconds. 

A few witnesses come forward, but they cannot identify the gang with court-proof accuracy. There’s an added complication. The murder occurs in an area targeted by the far-right and home to a tight-knit community with a large criminal population who look dimly on those who assist the police.

The names of those believed to be responsible are whispered around the neighbourhood. At first, the police deny the crime is racially motivated, but it becomes a cause célèbre for activists to rally around and demand change.

Kelso
Kelso Cochrane (courtesy of Millicent Christian)

The similarities between the murder of Kelso Cochrane on a slum street in North Kensington on 17 May 1959, and that of Stephen Lawrence near a bus stop in Eltham in southeast London 34 years later are striking. 

But while the Lawrence case burns in the public’s consciousness, Kelso Cochrane’s murder became an historical footnote, even though it too was a defining moment in UK race relations.

No Quiet In London

“There is no quiet in London these days,” Radio Moscow told its African listeners eleven days after Kelso’s “savage murder”. 

By then, activists including Claudia Jones, the chain-smoking communist who’d been thrown out of America during the McCarthy witch-hunts, and Amy Ashwood Garvey, the ex-wife of the black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, were demanding justice. 

They formed the Inter-Racial Friendship Co-ordinating Council in response to the murder and were granted an hour with a Home Office official to call for a new law banning incitement to racial hatred. 

Oswald Mosely
Fascist Oswald Mosely

The killing occurred in an area that had become synonymous around the world with racial violence. The month before, Sir Oswald Mosley, Britain’s wartime fascist leader, announced he would stand for parliament in North Kensington in the 1959 general election.

And the previous summer his acolytes and son Max Mosely were agitating during the Notting Hill race riots – when marauding white mobs attacked lone black men, before the latter fought back. 

All this put anti-racism on the national agenda, and in 1965 the UK passed its first Race Relations Act.

But the murder of Kelso, who came to the UK in 1954 with dreams of becoming a lawyer, lived in a bedsit just off the Portobello Road, and earned £15 a week as a carpenter, soon faded from the headlines.

And while the Lawrence family waited 18 years for partial justice when two of the white gang – Gary Dobson and David Norris – were finally convicted of the 18-year-old student’s murder, Kelso’s family have had none.

Today, on the 62nd anniversary of the murder, his daughter Josephine, who lives in New York, her sister Karen, surviving siblings in Antigua and his extended family in London are supporting a petition for the Metropolitan police to apologise for its failings.

The petition, organised by activists in North Kensington, is also supported by the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission.

Little Chance of Justice

After hundreds of hours of testimony at the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Sir William Macpherson concluded in 1999 that the Met was “institutionally racist” and “fundamental errors” had littered the murder investigation. 

By contrast, in Kelso’s case there’s been no inquiry, no trial, no apology and no access to the murder case files, which remain closed until 2054, when there will be little left of the dead man’s family. 

moselyThe evidence in the public domain indicates that Kelso had little chance of getting justice back in 1959, an era when the Dixon of Dock Green TV image belied a police force that was judge and jury in its own cause and reflected the racist attitudes of wider society to ‘coloured immigration’ from the colonies.

Within three days of the murder, two suspects, Pat Digby and ‘Shoggy’ Breagan, had been placed in the vicinity around the crucial time and were detained for questioning. 

At first, they gave contradictory accounts of their reasons for leaving a nearby party on Southam Street, which had become a main line of police enquiry. This inconsistency didn’t satisfy detectives, who continued holding the pair pending corroboration.

When Breagan was interviewed decades later; by then a broken old man with years of prison time for various crimes, petty and otherwise, behind him, he disclosed something remarkable.

The police, he said, placed him and Digby in adjacent cells, which allowed them to iron out the contradiction ahead of their next interviews. They were released soon after.

Digby died in 2007 and Breagan in 2019.

False Leaks

The detective leading the murder inquiry was under internal investigation for leaking details to The Sunday Express before Kelso’s next of kin had even been told of the tragedy.

In a separate leak, the police fed false and damaging details about Kelso to The People newspaper. 

MirrorThis was the age of ‘the Murder Gang of Fleet Street’ – a bunch of male crime reporters who were undistinguishable from the Scotland Yard detectives, whose word and ways they hung on.

Reporters were briefed that Kelso’s death was not a racial matter just a robbery by

“teenage thugs… who were broke after a night of pub crawling in the Notting Hill district and wanted to rob anyone they could find for the price of a taxi fare back to where they lived. The last bus had gone.” 

There’s no evidence that the main suspects’ homes in Notting Dale, about a mile from the crime scene, were ever searched for the murder weapon, particularly Digby’s house.

A witness saw one of Kelso’s assailants try to grab an iron railing to use as a weapon during the attack, but no fingerprints were taken – a “serious” missed opportunity, according to a decorated former officer familiar with the case and working in Notting Hill at the time.

Witnesses were shown photos of the suspects, but there was no full-blown ID parade as the evidence warranted, the same former officer remarked.

Cold Calculation

oldenThese failings should be considered in the light of a wider question: Was the will to convict anyone really there?

Home Secretary Rab Butler appealed in the House of Commons for “anyone who can help the police in their investigation of this deplorable murder of a coloured man in Notting Hill to do so”. 

The newspapers said calling for witnesses from the mother of Parliaments was unprecedented, then noted that Butler was considering recruiting black police officers to ease racial tension.  

But behind the scenes, declassified papers show that civil servants and West Indian politicians discussed discrediting Claudia Jones and the activists rallying around Kelso’s case. Meanwhile, Special Branch, whose undercover activities are currently subject to a public inquiry, was keeping tabs on them.

funeralThe authorities’ overriding concern, documents also show, was not just to calm tensions, but for the case to recede from view

There was talk among officials, for instance, of repatriating Kelso’s body – so his grave wouldn’t become a site for “annual pilgrimages” by “mischief makers” – but only after “a reasonable interval” to avoid “undue publicity”.

In 1959, the death penalty was still law. Did fears of the convulsions likely to have been provoked by a young white man going to the gallows for killing a black man mean a cold calculation was made somewhere down the line? That justice was subverted, and the murderer allowed to slip through the net in the name of a supposed greater public good?

The murder case files at the National Archives are likely to hold answers to these and many other issues around Kelso’s death. The files have been the subject of many fruitless Freedom of Information requests over the years. 

As well as a police apology, members of Kelso’s surviving family are now calling for the secret Cochrane papers to be released.

Who knows, maybe the two are connected.

From Kelso to George

Josephine Cochrane, daughter

In 2003, at the request of Kelso’s brother, Stanley, the Met re-opened the case. But after conducting a ‘focused forensic review’, it was deemed that no forensic opportunities existed; that Kelso’s clothes had been destroyed in 1968 “with the proper authority” and, that there wasn’t the evidence to charge anyone.

Almost 1,000 statements were taken in the original investigation and significant resources devoted to it, the review concluded.

For the activists in North Kensington behind this week’s petition – who have fought for years to prevent time erasing awareness of the injustice that Kelso suffered – the matter cannot rest there. 

In the week before the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in the US, they want to remind the world that Kelso’s life mattered and acknowledge the loss his surviving relatives have endured for more than six decades. 

And so it goes.

PRITI VACANT

Home Secretary Snubs Morgan Family Over Corruption Report

Home secretary Priti Patel will not address parliament over a landmark report her department commissioned into police corruption and a notorious, unsolved axe murder, The Upsetter can reveal.

The Daniel Morgan Inquiry Panel is ready to report after an eight year probe, which will be highly critical of those running the Metropolitan police since the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987.

patel
Poster by Paparaw – go get one

Last week the panel informed the Morgan family that Patel would not be making a personal statement to the Commons on its findings.

It is understood the home secretary is only willing to put out a written statement and will therefore avoid any questioning by opposition parties and MPs.

The panel was ordered in 2013 by Theresa May who as home secretary promised to put the Morgan family at the “centre of the process.”

The report has cost at least £15m to produce and was delayed because of obstruction by the Met in providing sensitive documents.

Patel, however, has no connection to a case which is mired in corruption, incompetence and cover-up by the police and its supposed watchdogs.

Her muted response is seen as a snub to the victim’s family, who were swatted away in their 34-year quest for justice.

Dick
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick

The Met only very belatedly accepted that corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the first of five failed murder investigations, the last of which collapsed in 2011 because of corrupt acts by the lead detective and a failure to disclose sensitive police files to the defence.

It is understood Patel will receive the report early this coming week, possibly tomorrow, to prepare a written response for formal publication in parliament on 24 May.

No Likelihood of Justice

The Panel’s report will criticise the five police investigations, which have cost the taxpayer somewhere north of £30m.

may
Theresa May

When launching the inquiry, Theresa May said in a statement to parliament on 10 May 2013:

“Daniel Morgan, a private investigator, was found murdered in a pub car park in south east London on 10 March 1987. It is one of the country’s most notorious unsolved murder cases. After numerous separate police investigations into the case between 1987 and 2002, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the final attempted prosecution against five suspects in 2011.

The Metropolitan Police (MPS) have indicated that there is no likelihood of any successful prosecutions being brought in the foreseeable future. They have also admitted that police corruption was a ‘debilitating factor’ in the original investigation.

This has led to calls for an inquiry from Mr Morgan’s family, who have waged a long campaign for those responsible for his murder to be brought to justice. I have met with the family and, after further serious consideration with them and their representatives, I am today announcing the creation of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel.

Importantly, the Panel’s work will put Mr Morgan’s family at the centre of the process.”

Gong’uns

Stevens
Lord Stevens

The panel’s findings are understood to be critical of past Met commissioners, two of whom – John Stevens and Ian Blair – are in the Lords.

Stevens was deputy commissioner and commissioner from 1998 to 2005, during the third and fourth murder inquiries. The 78-year-old is chairman, director and shareholder in several security and forensic companies. Quest and Axion provide “integrity” services and AFA Midco Limited does police training. Stevens is also involved in ensuring integrity in sports.

Blair was deputy to Stevens and commissioner from 2005 to 2008, when he lost the confidence of London mayor Boris Johnson. Considered more cerebral than Stevens, Blair however lacked the respect of many detectives.

Blair
Lord Blair

He oversaw the third, fourth and part of the fifth murder investigations. On leaving the Met, Blair has taken few paid gigs except occasional training for the Indian police.

Other stars of the Met who could or should face criticism include John Grieve, Roy Clark, David Wood, Chris Jarratt, Andy Hayman, Bob Quick, Shaun Sawyer, John Yates and David Cook, the detective chief superintendent in charge of the botched last investigation.

Many were awarded the Queens Police Medal and have, through private sector roles or directly, a continued association with the Home Office, policing and the intelligence services.

Some are even emissaries of ethical policing taught to foreign police services with questionable human rights records.

Profoundly Shocking

The Morgan family has approached Theresa May to spark a Commons debate on police corruption and regulatory failure that Patel, an atavistic law and order home secretary, seems not to want to go anywhere near.

As home secretary from 2010 to 2016, May tried to reform the police and launched a separate inquiry into corruption concerns that dogged another unsolved southeast London murder – that of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

Following an expose by The Upsetter in March 2012, three months later May launched a barrister-led probe of the Met – an explicit criticism of the watchdog and its earlier attempt to undermine a police whistleblower’s claims of corruption during the original murder inquiry that he said the Met had covered up.

Yates
John Yates

Many of the same senior police figures involved in the Lawrence scandal are also involved in the Morgan case.

When Mark Ellison QC presented to May his report in March 2014, she appeared before parliament to set out its key findings, which were “deeply troubling” and “profoundly shocking”, MPs were told.

May’s long speech was uncomfortable listening for then commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and the powerful Police Federation that represents rank and file officers.

May pledged “a new code of policing ethics”, protection for whistleblowers and a revamping of the discredited police watchdog plus a new offence of police corruption.

“There needs to be a change in culture … In policing, as in other areas, the problems of the past have a danger of infecting the present and can lay traps for the future. Policing stands damaged today. Trust and confidence in the Metropolitan police and in policing more generally are vital and the work I have set out are part of the process of repairing the damage,” she told the House.

May also used her speech to launch a public inquiry into the scandal of undercover police officers who had deceived women into having relationships as a cover for spying on largely left wing protest groups, including family campaigns to expose police abuses and corruption.

The Morgan family hope Theresa May will fill the space Priti Patel intends to vacate in the Commons and speak up from the backbench.

Time will tell.