Arresting News of (Dis)organised Crime and Corruption


A Lost Chance To Solve The Daniel Morgan Murder

Police and prosecutors investigating the axe murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan forfeited a chance to solve the notorious case, when one of the five prime suspects offered to confess and implicate others.

The Upsetter can reveal that Jimmy Cook was willing to enter into a plea deal and admit to being the getaway driver and eyewitness to the gruesome murder that took place in a south London pub car park in 1987.

golden lion
Murder scene: Golden Lion car park

While in prison awaiting trial for the murder, Cook offered to plead to the serious but lesser offence of grievous bodily harm with intent on the grounds that he drove to the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham expecting Morgan would be seriously hurt, not murdered.

It is further understood that Cook was also willing to give evidence against fellow defendants Jonathan Rees, Morgan’s business partner in Southern Investigations, and Glenn Vian, who the police suspected of wielding the axe.

The offer was made around August 2009, months before the trial was due to open at the Old Bailey. Defence barristers were hoping to persuade the judge to throw out the case before it got to a jury because of serious misconduct by the Metropolitan police over witnesses and disclosure.

A conviction was always going to be difficult which is why murder detectives had been trying for years and failing to get Jimmy Cook to ‘roll over’ and become a supergrass witness against the other defendants.

Therefore the decision to reject his plea offer is all the more extraordinary, especially as the entire prosecution rested on the word of three mendacious supergrass witnesses, two of whom were mentally unstable.

None of them were eyewitnesses, but all of them had been caught out lying. Yet, the prosecution preferred their testimony to the confession and evidence of a prime suspect.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan at press conference

The trial collapsed in March 2011 over police mishandling of the three supergrass witnesses and massive disclosure failures – all documented in last week’s report into the scandal.

The eight-year inquiry, headed by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, branded the Met “institutionally corrupt” and criticised commissioner Dame Cressida Dick for obstructing the panel’s access to crucial evidence.

The report said:

“The Metropolitan Police placed the reputation of the organisation above the need for accountability and transparency. In so doing it compounded the suffering and trauma of the [Morgan] family.

“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 inquiry confirmed The Upsetter’s earlier reports that detective chief superintendent David Cook, the man running the last murder investigation since 2002, had acted corruptly. 

He coached, prompted or pressured the three supergrass witnesses to secure a conviction at all costs, while at the same time hoping to profit from writing a blockbuster book to ease money problems, some of which arose from the breakdown of his marriage.

The report also raises concerns about the independence of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who knew enough about the unreliability of their supergrass witnesses and police misconduct when Jimmy Cook’s plea deal was rejected.

The CPS and senior prosecutor, who is now a high court judge, refuse to explain the decision not to use Jimmy Cook or why he was not even debriefed to find out what he knew about the murder and any links to police corruption.

The prosecution also refuse to say whether Jimmy Cook’s apparent status as a police informant in 1987 had any bearing on the decision not to use him as a star witness in 2009.

Baroness O’Loan made clear at her press conference on 15 June that as a result of official corruption, incompetence, collusion and cover up there is now little chance of ever bringing anyone to justice for Daniel Morgan’s murder – unless someone were to confess.

Well someone did, but it wasn’t taken up. And now those concerned are hiding behind the report.

The panel’s report confirms that Jimmy Cook offered a plea deal, but in over 1200 pages, and at a cost of more than £16m, it makes no mention why a solid opportunity to solve the Morgan murder was turned down.

A spokesperson for the panel said it no longer exists so cannot answer questions.

Going Rogue

DCS David Cook on Crimewatch

BBC viewers watching Crimewatch on 26 June 2002 wouldn’t have seen the anger and hurt behind the confident demeanour of the senior detective with a soft Scottish accent appealing for information about the Daniel Morgan murder.

David Cook, then 42, was angry that his marriage to Jacqui Hames had fallen apart. The fellow officer and Crimewatch presenter had gone to pieces when co-host, Jill Dando, was shot dead on her doorstep in 1999. 

As a detective chief superintendent, Cook had likely gone as far as he ever would in the Met, having just returned from Surrey police. He’d left the Met in the Nineties after the fall out over a murderous Jamaican gangster and police informant who killed a woman.

In May 2002, the chance to solve the notorious Morgan murder was offered to him on his return to the Met. Some would have avoided the hospital pass but DCS Cook was arrogant or deluded enough to believe he could save himself, the Met’s reputation and maybe even his marriage, by solving the case.

As senior investigating officer of the overt side of Operation Abelard, his role was to explore new lines of enquiry following a review of past efforts since the original botched investigation, when vital forensic and other evidence was lost forever or contaminated.

The Crimewatch appeal had a sneaky purpose dreamt up by the Met’s anti-corruption squad, who ran the covert side of Operation Abelard. The appeal was going to act as a ‘trigger event’ to stimulate chat among the prime suspects who were being bugged.

DCS Cook told viewers at the end of the programme that the £50,000 reward had led to new information about a getaway car possibly used in the murder, which put “a big smile” on his doughy face.

All this subterfuge was designed to get Jimmy Cook, the suspected getaway driver, and Glenn Vian, the suspected axe man, talking. 

Glenn Vian. Died 2020.

Both men had been subject to intense police surveillance since 2001, which eventually included placing a bug in Jimmy’s car and Glenn’s house. 

Detectives forgot to switch on the car bug immediately after Crimewatch ended when Jimmy Cook phoned an unidentified caller.

Days later a female undercover officer called threatening to reveal what she knew about the murder if he didn’t buy her silence for £50,000. Fill yer boots, Jimmy told her then called his solicitor followed by the wife.

The bug in Glenn Vian’s home did manage to record a conversation with his wife shortly after Crimewatch aired. The recording was poor but Glenn appeared to be referring to ditching a motor.

All this was well received by DCS Cook, but the smile on his face was short-lived when he learned that soon after his Crimewatch appearance the News of The World was targeting him, his wife and two young children.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid had used Southern Investigations as their go-to firm for Fake Sheikh stings. It also provided inside information from police sources or by third parties hacking and blagging bank and phone records for scoops. 

The surveillance was distressing. But DCS Cook was especially angry that it had apparently re-traumatised his wife who was still getting over the Dando murder.

The panel found strong circumstantial evidence that another prime suspect in the Morgan murder had organised the surveillance. Former detective sergeant Sid Fillery briefly investigated the Morgan case, retired from the Met and then joined Southern Investigations as a partner. He was the firm’s linkman with the News of the World.

Ex-DS Sid Fillery denies covering up the murder

The Met’s senior management, however, were not taking this nearly as seriously as DCS Cook wanted them to, which made him more angry. Some detectives thought he should grow a pair or stop giving it the big ‘un about being a hard-boiled detective who’d seen it all. The upset, they said, seemed out of proportion – it was a newspaper not an organised crime group. But DCS Cook didn’t see it that way.

By the late summer of 2002 was a very angry man who felt let down by his job and his wife.

His opposite number running the covert side of Operation Abelard told the panel that the episode with the tabloid had made DCS Cook “obsessed with solving the murder and bringing down Fillery.”

From now on it was personal, and DCS David Cook was going rogue.

I’m Lee Marvin

The 2002 bug in Jimmy Cook’s car had recorded a conversation, which sounded like him trying to arrange an alibi for the night of the murder on 10 March 1987.

It was enough evidence for his arrest in October and again in December 2002. Jimmy, then 52, gave a no comment interview, including when he was asked about police corruption.

It was not such a strange subject because an earlier police bugging operation in 1998-9 targeting Southern Investigations (Operation Two Bridges/Nigeria) had discovered that Jimmy Cook was once a police informant suspected of having corrupt relationships with police officers.

According to a senior police source familiar with the file, “Jimmy Cook clearly played both sides of the fence when it suited him.”

It is not clear if he was a registered police informant at the time of the murder, which would be particularly embarrassing for the Met. But the source said Jimmy Cook was registered shortly after the murder under the pseudonym ‘Lee Marvin’. A second police source confirmed his past informant status.

Joey Pyle (r) with Reggie and Charlie Kray

Some of Jimmy Cook’s informant’s logs appear to show that in 1992 he was giving information about defence work allegedly being carried out by Southern Investigations (by now renamed Law & Commercial) on behalf of south London organised crime boss Joey Pyle.

The gangster was facing trial for drug trafficking and trying to locate the prosecution witness in protected custody, Jimmy Cook apparently told his police handler. He also gave the names of police officers, including a senior one, who were supposedly helping Pyle’s defence.

Rees told The Upsetter he was aware of rumours that Jimmy Cook was a grass but denied ever doing defence work for Pyle. He said Jimmy and Glenn would help Law & Commercial with work that required the persuasive skill set of two imposing doormen who were illiterate but good with their hands.

However, in 1999 matters escalated when Jimmy Cook was caught with Rees in a plot to fit up a client’s wife by planting drugs in her car in order to win a custody battle.

Unfortunately for all concerned, including a bent detective willing to arrest the woman on evidence he knew was planted, anti-corruption detectives from the aforementioned Operation Two Bridges/Nigeria were listening and watching the whole conspiracy unfold in real time.

Jonathan Rees under surveillance

According to a police report dated 27 September 1999, on the way to Brixton prison after a remand hearing, Jimmy Cook told a detective he was angry with Rees and started feeling out a plea deal to avoid a serious sentence.

Jimmy is said to have been willing to turn ‘Queen’s Evidence’ but wanted to consider the safety of his family because giving evidence against Rees was not without danger largely because he was “well connected”, the report says.

It also records Jimmy Cook giving the names of villains with corrupt police contacts, one of whom also allegedly supplied Law & Commercial with police national computer checks at £250 a pop. Rees said he did not know the police officer named in the report.

In the end, Jimmy Cook pleaded not guilty and was acquitted in 2000. Rees was not so lucky and got six years.

Operation Abelard – the Morgan murder investigation – knew all these matters when in December 2002 they arrested Jimmy Cook and the other prime suspects for the brutal killing in the car park.

The following September, the CPS agreed with two senior barristers that “there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction” against any of them. The evidence obtained from the various bugs just wasn’t good enough.

In the case of Jimmy Cook, the legal view was he “might have been connected in some way with the events surrounding the killing of Daniel Morgan” but the bugged conversations did not establish “his complicity in the killing itself.”

It didn’t help that one of the men pointing the finger at Jimmy Cook had been convicted of a plot to have him killed. Steve Warner, a drug dealer, had supplied a gun to a hitman who unhappily turned out to be an undercover cop.

Warner had told another undercover cop he believed Jimmy Cook was “grassing people up” and needed to be “sorted” permanently – two associates were already doing a long stretch, he said.

Rees has a different take, he told The Upsetter that Jimmy Cook may have been taxing Warner’s drug profits. He’d be a brave man given Warner was suspected of ‘serving up’ (dealing) for the Adams crime family.

The Golden Thread

Despite all these evidential problems, Operation Abelard detectives were encouraged by the senior barrister’s words that their efforts between 2001 and 2002 had come “tantalisingly close”.

A “golden thread” was needed to hang all this circumstantial evidence on and it emerged with the resurrection of the most discredited weapon in the prosecution armoury – the supergrass witness.

The use of these prosecution witnesses had been wholly discredited in the Seventies when armed robbers became supergrasses against their fellow ‘pavement artists’ in return for cushy and very light jail time and other inducements from the police.

DAC John Grieve, Ghost Squad boss

In 1994, the Met’s Ghost Squad resurrected the supergrass in secret as a key plank of its anti-corruption campaign, which predictably ended in failure seven years later as defence barristers and judges picked apart the way these witnesses had been debriefed.

Those supergrasses were a mix of drug dealers and crooked cops, who were supposed to go through a process of ‘cleansing’ where all their criminality had to be admitted.

Only, most of these debriefing sessions were not tape-recorded – lack of resources, apparently – or properly written down; and if they were, the notebooks tended to be very selective or went missing.

In addition, a ‘sterile corridor’ was supposed to exist between those doing the debriefing and anti-corruption detectives doing the investigation work. Only, the men running the show, which included those behind Operation Two Bridges/Nigeria, were a law unto themselves operating without any independent oversight.

The anti-corruption drive between 1994 and 2001 was carefully choreographed corruption management that gave politicians the impression of ruthless efficiency with a no stone unturned, no fear nor favour approach.

Chris Jarratt, ran Operation Two Bridges now drives over them

The senior officers behind it: Commissioners Paul Condon, John Stevens and Ian Blair, and senior Untouchables, John Grieve, Roy Clark, Andy Hayman, David Wood, Chris Jarratt, John Yates and Shaun Sawyer, to name a few, were part of a candourless culture that the panel said last week amounted to ‘institutional corruption’.

The Met lobbied government to put the supergrass system on a statutory footing, which led to the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Policing Act (SOCPA).

Supergrasses were now OK as long as the rules were followed about making the cleansing and debriefing process free of any hint of coaching or inducement.

The problem was there were no formal police or Home Office guidelines and wouldn’t be until 2016, five years after the Morgan murder trial had collapsed.

Yet three mendacious supergrasses, the first under the new Act, were about to be groomed by a Scottish detective bent on getting a result with no effective oversight of his methods.

Head Start

Throughout Operation Abelard, DCS Cook claims he was feeling “tremendously guilty” that his involvement had taken a toll on his increasingly estranged wife, who he felt was not responding well to treatment for post-traumatic stress. He too claimed that stress was mounting in him.

The senior detective was infuriated with the Met for doing nothing about the tabloid’s surveillance on his family except for a meeting with editor Rebekah Brooks, which ended with bland assurances.

Jacqui Hames, now a Hacked Off activist

In 2004, DCS Cook says he made the first of several attempts on his life over the next two years. His marriage to Hames had deteriorated and was heading for divorce.

Nevertheless, his determination to continue running the Morgan murder trumped any sense that someone in his condition was most unsuited to the role and an impediment to achieving justice for the victim’s family.

In early 2006, Cook produced a whitewash report on the notorious case that not only misled the Metropolitan Police Authority but also the Morgan family.  Deputy assistant commissioner John Yates, who was in overall control, assured the politicians and family that in DCS David Cook they had someone who lived and breathed the case and was “determined to bring this one home.”

John Yates

Yates and Cook then spun a fairy tale about a “golden thread” emerging that could finally solve the murder. Two supergrass witnesses, they said, had come forward implicating the prime suspects.

The first to emerge was James Ward, who was serving 17 years for drug trafficking with Garry Vian. Ward offered information on the Morgan murder in return for a lighter sentence and maybe a chance to keep some of his money. DCS Cook and Stuart Sampson of the CPS made it so.

The direction of his evidence was greatly assisted when Cook opened the chat with this now famous phrase that drove an axe into the credibility of any future prosecution based on Ward.

“Tell me what you know? I’ll give you a head start. It was Glenn with the axe. Gary was there. Jimmy with a car.”

Garry Vian, denies being lookout

The lead detective’s treatment of the next supergrass to emerge was even more alarming. Breaches of the sterile corridor went on for months with undocumented calls despite repeated warnings from DCS Cook’s team.

Gary Eaton was a criminal with serious mental health issues that presented as unnecessary lying and a desire to please. A detective on the murder squad said Cook had refused to pull Eaton’s medical records at the earliest opportunity.

In another memorable leading question, he asked Eaton to – “Give me the names of the brothers”.

The supergrass didn’t know the Vians, but miraculously he was soon putting them into the conspiracy along with Jimmy Cook as the getaway driver.

Eaton claimed that Jimmy Cook had tried to recruit him for the murder on multiple occasions and the supergrass said that he was at the Golden Lion on the fateful night having been lured there as a possible patsy.

Eaton said he was “shit scared” of Jimmy Cook in part because of the corrupt cops said to be wrapped around him.

Certainly, Operation Abelard saw Jimmy Cook as the weak link in the alleged murder conspiracy. They reasoned, he was a former police informant, so he might talk; he was no longer loyal to Rees after standing trial for fitting up the client’s wife, so he might talk; and the intelligence suggested he had driven the car not ordered the killing or wielded the axe, so he might want to deal.

For those reasons, Jimmy Cook was sent a letter via his solicitor inviting him to become a supergrass witness under the new SOCPA system. He declined.

Eight months later, in February 2007, three detectives took him for a ride and offered protective custody if he gave evidence against the others. He told the detectives he had no reason to trust any of them and once more declined.

Alastair Morgan at the panel press conference

Undeterred, DCS David Cook kept driving a coach and horses through the legislation designed to protect supergrass-based prosecutions from falling apart at trial. 

The concern about his antics and undocumented contacts had by now reached the ears of senior officers, including Yates. But still he was kept in charge, in part because he argued that he had the one thing no other officer had – the Morgan family’s trust.

But in a sick irony, the more the family trusted Cook because he shared a lot, the more he abused that trust by behaving in a way that would dash their chance for justice and peace.

And to top it all, he was secretly writing a book on the murder investigation with The Sun’s crime editor. 

The book was a way the senior detective could vindicate his reputation, if things went wrong in court, and if they went right, he hoped to make money to ease financial problems looming from an imminent divorce.

Into this improper set up came a third supergrass, this time a woman, also with a troubled past.

Wood For The Trees

Sally Ann Wood had been Jimmy Cook’s secret lover from the early nineties to about 1998. 

Cook’s wife, who was not involved in any criminality and ran a successful business, would later discover his affair when an envelope containing Wood’s statement was popped through the letterbox.

DCS Cook directed the campaign to turn Wood into a supergrass. It began in November 2006. Three years later she had signed a SOCPA agreement.

All types of police pressure had been applied to a vulnerable woman in her thirties who was in therapy, on anti-depressants and scared. For example, she was told Jimmy Cook was looking for her, but no intelligence to prove this assertion was ever supplied to the panel.

Two criminal cases – one a fraud the other a historic armed robbery – were used to pressure Wood to give up Jimmy Cook.

Jonathan Rees

He had been in Wandsworth prison since June 2008 charged with murder along with Rees and the Vian brothers, while Fillery was charged with perverting the course of justice. The new evidence against them was supergrasses Ward and Eaton.

One year later, Wood started co-operating. She told detectives that Jimmy Cook had corrupt police contacts and had told her Daniel Morgan was going to be ‘roughed up’ over a woman and some unspecified ‘deals’ but Glenn Vian pulled out his axe and killed him.

Wood was clear she would not give any evidence. But within days detectives were waving an emotive letter from Alastair Morgan, the victim’s brother, that DCS Cook had orchestrated.

The panel said this was “inappropriate” but DCS Cook told them he was willing to use “every trick in the book”.

Days later, Wood was whipped into protective custody after faking an assault on her while walking the dogs. When detectives checked her phone she had drafted a text to the police with details of the assault that had yet to take place.

This obvious red flag did not make her less attractive to DCS Cook, who had several undocumented visits with Sally Ann Wood in her new safe house. 

On 1 July 2009 she made a formal statement saying Jimmy Cook had told her he was the getaway driver but didn’t know Morgan was going to be murdered, just hurt.

Three days before signing the SOCPA agreement on 17 October, Wood dramatically changed her statement to give the murder squad exactly what it needed. Now she was saying Jimmy Cook told her that he discussed the murder with Rees and the Vians before driving the getaway car – that made it a conspiracy to murder.

Reservoir Dogs

That’s not all. During her debrief Wood went on to claim that Jimmy Cook had been involved in 36 other murders and offered to show detectives where the bodies were buried.

Suddenly, the getaway driver had become a mass murderer and JCBs were digging up Epping Forest looking for bodies. Wood was claiming she was in some Tarantino film watching her psychopathic lover kill, torture and dismember people.

The police didn’t know it yet, but should have suspected something – their supergrass was using the Internet to fabricate the killing spree.

The Plea Deal

Jonathan Rees recalls a late spring day in 2009 at Wandsworth prison, when Jimmy Cook announced that the murder squad was taking him out for the day.

“You know that are going to offer you a deal?” Said Rees. His advice to any client in similar circumstances was always the same, “Don’t do it.”

Later that day, he said Cook returned with some sweets and fizzy drinks claiming he had declined an offer to become a supergrass.

Rees may be remembering right and this was one last attempt by the cops to get Jimmy Cook to roll over on the others. But the panel’s report makes it clear that it was Jimmy Cook who made the plea offer and he did it after seeing Sally Ann Wood’s statement.

The report said:

“The psychologists believed that Person J5 [Sally Anne Wood] had been telling the truth, in respect of the information she had supplied in her statement in July 2009 (concerning the murder of Daniel Morgan), because there had not been time for a bond to form [with the police] and the information had remained consistent. T/DCI Noel Beswick said that the view of the psychologists on this was reinforced by the offer of James Cook to plead guilty, (to a lesser charge than murder), after Person J5’s statement was disclosed in 2009.”

It looks more likely that Jimmy Cook made his plea offer in response to Wood’s July statement, which said he drove to the Golden Lion believing Morgan was going to get hurt, not killed.

In which case, Jimmy Cook’s offer was made sometime between July and October 2009, before Wood did a dramatic volte face and claimed her former lover knew Morgan would be murdered and was, in effect a serial killer.

Support for this comes from DCS Dave Cook’s statement in response to a complaint about his interaction with supergrasses. It said:

“At no stage was Gary Eaton asked to lie or give any form of false testimony, nor was any evidence ever manufactured with a view to a prosecution being implemented. I say this with confidence because of the proposed actions of the suspect James Cook.

Once the witness statement of Sally Ann Wood was served upon the Defendants, Cook, through his Counsel made an approach to our Counsel to offer a plea to GBH with intent on Daniel Morgan. He was stating that he was present at the scene but did not know of the intention to murder Morgan. In return for accepting this plea Cook was willing to give evidence against Jonathan Rees and Glenn Vian, but he made no mention of Garry Vian.

I cannot testify to these discussions as they were Counsel to Counsel but they were discussed with myself and other officers. I can testify though, that around August of 2009, I received a telephone call from the wife of James Cook, asking that I make arrangements to visit him in prison to discuss with him making a deal. This was reported to the CPS and Counsel.

The decision was reached that the offer made by Cook was not acceptable and the prosecution continued.”

It is possible that DCS Cook was excluded from any dealings with Jimmy Cook in July and August 2009 because of his previous misconduct with the supergrasses. 

But it is unlikely that the CPS and prosecution barristers made the decision not to use such a good eyewitness without any police involvement.

Yet, inquiries by The Upsetter can find no trace of Jimmy Cook ever being treated in the same way as James Ward, Gary Eaton and Sally Ann Wood under SOCPA. Police sources do not recall a debriefing of Jimmy Cook, even on a scoping basis, if only to see what else he could and would say.

That, in itself, is a lost opportunity, say detectives. As even if either side walked away the murder squad would at the very least be more enlightened about the strength of their case and other potential leads.

Looked at another way, a scoping interview with Jimmy Cook could have helped expose the fantasy killing fields that Sally Ann Wood was fabricating with the help of Google and a laptop.

One senior detective on Operation Abelard says he is “astounded” that Jimmy Cook’s plea offer was not explored and preferred over the three supergrasses.

Another more senior source on the operation said Jimmy Cook’s informant status and corrupt police contacts going back to the time of the murder in 1987 would have troubled the Met.

Scotland Yard Informant Linked To Morgan Murderwould have been “an interesting headline”, said the source.


Nick Hilliard QC, now a high court judge

The police and prosecution pushed on to trial without Jimmy Cook and one by one the three supergrasses were excluded or withdrawn when it became clear they were liars or had been coached.

On 10 March 2011, the 24th anniversary of the murder, Nick Hilliard QC, the lead prosecutor, pulled the plug on the case after late disclosure revealed Ward was a police informant who’d tried to have someone killed.

Ward wouldn’t care. He got his reduced sentence and had near to £1m returned to him. Eaton and Wood were given new identities and a monthly stipend from the secret state. 

All the defendants were acquitted and, with the exception of Jimmy Cook, sued for malicious prosecution, receiving £500,000 in damages, some of it punitive to mark the courts displeasure at the Met.

Rees, who has always denied involvement in the murder, said: “This thing about Jimmy Cook doing a deal might explain why he withdrew from suing the police having put a few thousands in, because he didn’t want any stuff coming out about what he was doing.”

Morgan family
Daniel Morgan, wife Iris, Jane and Alastair Morgan (l-r)

Immediately after the trial collapsed, Morgan’s sister, Jane, berated Hilliard for choosing Wood over Jimmy Cook. After all, a confession by one defendant might have caused others to try to cut a deal for a lighter sentence.

Hilliard explained that they didn’t want the jury to have to consider the conflict between Cook saying he didn’t know Morgan would be murdered and Wood saying he did.

But Wood and Cook were in sync when he offered to plea to what she said in her July 2009 statement. It was only in October that her statement mysteriously changed, by which time Cook’s plea offer had been rejected.

Another argument the Morgan family recall hearing is that it would be letting Jimmy Cook off lightly to allow him to plead to less than murder. Again, given all that was known about the lack of credibility of the three supergrasses and what would soon emerge, the decision to reject an admission from a participant in the murder conspiracy is highly questionable.

At the end of the conference, Hilliard told the family he could have got it “wrong”. Now a high court judge, Mr Justice Hilliard was sent a list of questions which he declined to answer. In a statement, he said:

“By convention judges do not comment outside court on cases they have been involved with.  You may wish to forward your letter to the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel.”

Similarly, the CPS refused to answer any questions. In a statement it said:

“We await the Independent Panel’s report and will consider it carefully.”

The panel’s report criticised the CPS for claiming it was not in the public interest to prosecute DCS David Cook for misconduct in public office. 

His claim to be protecting the reputation of the police and acting in the public interest by publishing a book could be seen as “self-serving both in terms of seeking to clear his name and benefitting financially”, said the report. 

Jimmy Cook could not be reached for comment. David Cook refused to be interviewed. Glenn Vian died last year.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick

Dame Cressida Dick’s immediate denial that the force was institutionally corrupt has angered the Morgan family who believe they may have to sue the Met to obtain damages. 

They received a £125,000 ex-gratia payment in 2011 as a contribution to their legal costs after the trial collapsed.

In 2014, Boris Johnson, then London Mayor, agreed to a £50,000 payment to the family in recognition of “the general social benefit brought about by their efforts in bringing to light the failings of the Met”.

However, Johnson the prime minister has given Dick his full confidence, allowing her to balls out calls for her resignation.

As for Labour leader Keir Starmer, who was director of public prosecutions at the time of the Jimmy Cook plea offer and trial collapse, his party’s response to such a devastating indictment of Britain’s biggest police force has been to stand by Dick and hope the Met can reassure the public “something like this can never happen again.”

And so it goes.