Arresting News of (Dis)organised Crime and Corruption

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.

ROGUE COP FINGERS DICK

Morgan Murder Detective Turns On Met Commissioner

 

The senior detective in charge of the Daniel Morgan murder has gone rogue and accused the Metropolitan police commissioner of covering up corruption, The Upsetter can reveal.

Retired detective chief superintendent David Cook has made a formal complaint that Dame Cressida Dick is part of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in the Morgan case, the most notorious and unsolved murder in the Met.

The bombshell comes just ten days before the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel publishes the findings of its eight year probe into five police investigations following the axe murder of the private detective in 1987.

Met Commissioner
Dame Cressida Dick

The Met’s anti-corruption squad played a significant but secret role in the last three of those murder investigations since 1994.

Cook led the fifth inquiry which started in 2006 and collapsed five years later because of problems with the truthfulness of supergrass witnesses and massive non-disclosure to the defence of secret police files.

Cook denies coaching the evidence of two supergrasses and believes he has been made a “scapegoat” for wider police corruption and mismanagement that eventually led to the acquittal of four men for the murder in March 2011.

Cook first complained in May 2020 that the Met had misled a high court judge hearing a damages claim for malicious prosecution brought by three of the men acquitted – Jonathan Rees and his brothers-in-law Glenn and Garry Vian.

He said the Met kept him under investigation from 2012 until April 2020 purely to “silence” him while it dishonestly fought the damages claim. In the end, the three men were awarded £414,000 in punitive damages.

Cook suggests that had the high court known the truth about what was really going on inside the Met, Rees and the Vians would have been entitled to greater compensation.

He said:

“The criminal investigation into me was a) biased, b) malicious, c) without proper foundation and d) conducted in order to facilitate the MPS having control over any evidence I would give at the civil action in order to protect the reputation of the MPS.”

Wendy Chamberlian MP, the chief whip for the Liberal Democrats, wrote to Dick last November on Cook’s behalf. 

The Commissioner passed the letter to Peter Holdcroft, the head of the anti-corruption squad, who in January 2021 replied to the MP for North East Fife that these were “exceptionally complex matters that will take time.”

The delay further infuriated Cook who finally cut ties with the Met when in late March he made a formal complaint against Holdcroft and Dick.

The Commissioner this morning vigorously bigged-up Holdcroft’s anti-corruption squad when asked on LBC Radio about the TV drama Line of Duty.

“It’s a great drama and the Met has its own Kates and Steves and Hastings. I’m not Hastings, we have them though, we have those people and I’m very proud of the work that we do … We have in the Met a fantastic anticorruption command … we’re really serious about this work,” she told listeners.

Axe To Grind

Cook
DCS Dave Cook in 2002

However, the complaint from an insider such as Cook tells a different story about a squad officially known as the Directorate of Professional Standards and informally as the Untouchables.

Cook’s complaint said:

“This is formal allegation of crime relating to individual employees of the Metropolitan Police Service, including the Commissioner Cressida Dick. It is my firm belief that they have perverted the course of justice in relation to their failure to investigate the original allegation of crime I submitted to the [police watchdog] on the 18th May 2020 and which was forwarded to the MPS on the 4th June 2020.

I have included the Commissioner of Police within those named in this allegation given the letter sent to her in November 2020 by my constituent MP. Her delegation of the letter to the Department of Professional Standards gives a clear indication of her involvement in the events but without further investigation it is impossible to determine her, or any other person named or yet to be identified, involvement in a criminal conspiracy.

It is my firm belief that the Metropolitan Police are putting their own interests ahead of the interests of justice by deliberately delaying an investigation into my allegation that they perverted the course of justice in 2016 and 2017 during the trial at the High Court in front of Lord Justice Mitting and then later in 2018 during the appeal court hearing. 

The Department of Professional Standards is itself compromised by virtue of a failure to investigate the allegations made in 2017 and now in 2020. The rank of those officers I have complained about tends to suggest senior officers within the Metropolitan Police are compromised and incapable of conducting or overseeing an independent investigation without fear or favour.”

Cook has a large axe to grind over his perceived mistreatment while in charge of the Morgan case from 2002 until July 2011, when he went sick after the trial collapsed, never to return to active duty.

The murder trial judge was critical of his dealings with Gary Eaton, a manipulative criminal with mental health problems with whom Cook had many undocumented calls before the supergrass made a witness statement.

Convinced of the guilt of Rees and others, Cook breached the ‘sterile corridor’, which is supposed to exist between those detectives debriefing supergrass witnesses and those leading the murder hunt in order to prevent claims of coaching, coercion and fit up.

Eaton’s evidence was thrown out after an examination of his unrecorded dealings with Cook and lies the supergrass had told including that he was there on the night of the murder.

Morgan
Daniel Morgan

Cook said in his complaint:

“I have never denied there were organisational failings in relation to the handling of the witness Gary Eaton but I categorically deny that any failings, which I personally have been accused of, were of a criminal nature. The failings arose as a direct consequence of the MPS’s neglect in properly resourcing aspects of the investigation and to provide appropriate support and management for the team working on the Abelard 2 investigation.

I accept that Eaton’s contact with me during the debrief contributed towards his dismissal as a witness and in hindsight I wish I had done things differently in particular in relation to my contact with Eaton.”

Misled Judges

The judicial criticism in 2011 and a complaint by Rees two years later forced the Met to belatedly investigate Cook’s relationship with Eaton.

Despite the findings of six senior judges that the senior detective had perverted the course of justice, the internal probe cleared Cook in April 2020 and in so doing the Met cleared itself.

The Crown Prosecution Service, whose own murky role deserves independent scrutiny, backed the Met by claiming it was ‘not in the public interest’ to prosecute Cook.

He repaid the favour by immediately accusing the Met of perverting the course of justice in its treatment of him and covering up similar allegations against other detectives involved in the debriefing of supergrasses.

While Cook waited for anything to be done, Rees took matters into his own hands. As recently revealed in The Upsetter, Rees has started a private prosecution of Cook.

Lawyers instructed by Cook responded to Rees on 23 March asking for more information. The response also made a point of mentioning Cook’s on-going complaint against the Met.

It said:

“You should be aware that our client has made a number of complaints against the MPS, some of which are allegations of a criminal nature. Our client’s criminal allegations call into question the reliability of the evidence presented by the MPS during the civil proceedings concerning your client and others. These matters remain outstanding.”

Two days later, on 25 March, Cook upped the ante and made a further complaint against Cressida Dick – a move that finally breaks all ties with the police ‘family’ he once thought would come to his rescue but now feels has thrown him under the bus.

Cook has refused repeated requests to be interviewed. His new complaint accuses Dick’s anti-corruption squad of deliberately dragging its feet in these stark terms:

“This delay is I believe an effort to prevent damaging disclosure to the Court of Appeal in the case of Rees which would discredit the approach taken by the Metropolitan Police in their civil action defence during 2016/7 and the Court of Appeal hearing in 2018.”

REES
Jonathan Rees

Rees is sitting back watching these developments with delight. He said:

“I think it’s absolutely marvellous that Mr Cook is finally exposing his former bosses for duplicitous conduct in spoiling our campaign to get compensated for years of misery. Protecting the Met’s image is what this has been all about for the last 30 years.”

Rees lost an attempt earlier this year to increase his £155,000 damages award. The Court of Appeal also rejected a cross claim by the Met to have the award reduced.

Rees told The Upsetter he can now go back to the Appeal Court this time with Cook’s allegations that the Met persistently misled judges.

And so it goes.

TIBERIUS: ORGY OF BENT COPS

Scotland Yard Sued For Abandoning Informant After Report Leak

A “high level informant” is suing Scotland Yard for failing to protect him when his identity was exposed to gangsters with corrupt cops in their pocket, The Upsetter can reveal. 

The explosive legal action comes after a highly sensitive intelligence report on “endemic police corruption linked to major organised crime” was leaked online.

Marked ‘SECRET’, the Tiberius report was written by the Metropolitan police’s anti-corruption squad, the so-called Untouchables.

Almost all of the 61 allegedly corrupt police officers named in the Tiberius report were never prosecuted or faced any sanction and some are now working as private investigators with blue chip clients.

The legal case has been launched after the 166-page report disclosed the informant’s real name and details of his double life as a criminal who was also tipping off the police about drug shipments. 

Informant
‘Richard’

Speaking exclusively to The Upsetter, ‘Richard’ (a pseudonym), claims the Met showed no concern for his safety even though the leaked report said his police handlers were “corrupt” and allegedly helping top level gangsters.

“I would have three four million pounds a week. I had bags of it. I used to collect a million pounds every one to two weeks off of one family. They’d have 500 kilos.

“Many people had policeman in their pocket because that’s the way of the world. You do a flavour for the policeman, the policeman does a favour for you. And this was normal. One or two took money, that I know of, others took parcels, it might be of hooky money, counterfeit money. Others took cocaine as a payment. This was a normal way of life back then.

“One particular policeman liked a bit of cocaine so I give him cocaine. That’s what he wanted and that’s what I did.”

If Richard’s case is successful, it will expose the Met to similar claims by other informants potentially at risk who are also named in the Tiberius report.

A ‘callous disregard’

The 2002 report was first leaked to a newspaper in 2014 and subsequently made available online by a blogger based in Ireland.  

The Met has admitted to MPs that the document is authentic. The 61 named officers were said to be working with eight organised crime groups operating in north and east London.  

They include the feared Adams and Hunt crime families, which the report claims were able to penetrate police operations and murder enquiries “at will.”

It said murder investigations had been “compromised” as organised crime syndicates continued to “flourish and gain confidence in their ability to evade prosecution”.

Met Commissioner
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick

The legal letter of claim that Richard’s lawyer recently sent to the Met accuses commissioner Cressida Dick of a “callous disregard for the safety and security” of informants.  

It said:

“The Commissioner’s failure to take any or any adequate steps to regain control over the Report and ensure its security poses a serious and continuing risk to our client’s life.”  

‘Richard’ is making the legal claim under the Data Protection Act and seeking aggravated and exemplary damages to “punish” the Met for its “indifference”, the letter says. 

It continues:

“The powerful organised crime network, on whom he informed, will have additional incentive to exact retribution because they have long memories and adequate resources to take steps to ascertain his whereabouts.”

‘Richard’ moved abroad but is stuck in the UK due to travel restrictions during the pandemic.

The lifting of lockdown here can’t come soon enough for the informant who fears chance encounters or being spotted from afar by old associates. 

“Before the report came out I could deny [being an informant] but now there is proof.”

Who’s H?

A concerned retired detective alerted ‘Richard’ to the leaked Tiberius report six years ago and says he asked the Met to act, but the report remains online.  

The retired detective originally turned ‘Richard’ into an informant in the 1990s during a murder inquiry. He asked to remain anonymous but is willing to give evidence if the case goes to trial.   

He confirms that ‘Richard’ gave high quality information about the trafficking of cannabis and cocaine from Holland to the UK and the movement of millions of pounds in cash to pay for it. 

Adding:

“At the very least the Met should have contacted [Richard] knowing the nature of the people involved. That failure shows a total disregard once his usefulness had been expended. Without good quality informants the police can’t combat organised crime. It should be a lifelong commitment to protect a CHIS.” 

H
Who Leaked Tiberius?

The term, which stands for Covert Human Intelligence Source, was introduced to fans of BBC’s Line of Duty in the current series, which ends this Sunday with the much anticipated unmasking of H – the bent cop working in the shadows to undermine AC-12, the fictional anti-corruption squad modelled on the Untouchables.

Richard’s lawyers have asked the Met to provide details of any inquiry it carried out into who leaked Tiberius and whether the culprit, presumed to be a disgruntled police officer with high security clearance, was identified and punished. 

A Met spokesperson told The Upsetter:

“An investigation was conducted to determine how the report got into the public domain but no individual has been identified as being responsible.

Orgy of the Corrupt

Scholars consider Tiberius to be the most depraved Roman emperor who had limitless appetites for sex, particularly orgies.

By contrast, when Operation Tiberius was launched in late 2001, the most powerful policeman in the UK and his deputy at the Met were quite pedestrian figures.

Sir John Stevens, commissioner from 2000-2005 and deputy commissioner to Sir Paul Condon from 1998-2000, had, at best, a blokey reputation for booze and birds. Nothing kinky.

Tiberius
Tiberius – bit of a perv

His deputy and future successor, Sir Ian Blair, is a small man about whom it could be said – if he fell into a barrel of tits he’d come out sucking his thumb.

These, then, were the upstanding men responsible for rooting out the orgy of rampant corruption in the Met’s specialist squads and elsewhere.

According to the Tiberius report, detectives in the special intelligence section (SIS) and murder squads in north and east London had expressed concerns that gangsters were getting inside help from corrupt cops tipping them off about operations. 

In October 2001, an eight-person team selected from SIS and the Untouchables was let loose to investigate.

Overseeing them was a Gold group led by deputy assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, the head of the anti-corruption squad who was answerable to Blair and Stevens.

The timing of Operation Tiberius is curious because since 1994 the Untouchables had already spent many undisclosed millions secretly examining the Met’s corruption problem to head off increasing calls for greater independent oversight of the police after the Stephen Lawrence murder fiasco and other scandals. 

Hayman
DAC Andy Hayman

Another curious feature of Tiberius was its restriction to only two corners of the capital, when the south and west were known to have serious corruption problems as well.

The third puzzling aspect of Tiberius was its lack of access to other corruption intelligence. For such a serious mission, albeit restricted just to north and east London, Hayman’s team only had access to the Untouchables’ stand alone database of dodgy cops.

That database, codenamed Othona, was seven years old and very much an incomplete and at times incorrect intelligence picture on corruption in the Met. 

Other databases on corruption in specialist crime fighting units within and outside the Met were strangely off limits to the Tiberius team.

Extract Tib

Nevertheless, after five months, Hayman produced an alarming report in March 2002, which starkly concluded: 

“The Met has a serious problem with organised crime infiltrating its databases and compromising its operations.”

And identified five murder investigations thought to have been sabotaged by police leaks to gangsters.

Among them was the killing of Kenneth Beagle aka Kenneth Kenny, an alleged hitman and drug dealer, who was shot in the head in Romford, east London in a contract-style hit in November 2000.

Other unsolved murders that featured include: Ricky Rayner, 43, who was shot dead in Bow, east London in May 2001; Patrick Pasipanodya, 29, from Walthamstow, east London was shot dead in August 2001, and drug dealer Michael Olymbious who was murdered in south London in 1995.

An unnamed serving senior investigating officer is quoted in the report as saying:

“I feel that at the current time I cannot carry out an ethical murder investigation without the fear of it being compromised.”

‘Organisational Failings’

But more startling than the existence of bent cops working with eight organised crime syndicates, was the conclusion that the Othona intelligence collected secretly between 1994 and 2001 “had failed to provide evidential opportunities against [61] corrupt officers”. 

This “organisational failing” was put down to a “lack of inclusion and liaison” with other detectives outside the Untouchables and “a lack of experience and skills to investigate organised crime.” 

In other words, the Untouchables had operated in the shadows for too long, didn’t know who to trust and therefore produced a lot of poor intelligence which it didn’t know how to develop into evidence.  

Consequently, suspected bent detectives had been left in post, some promoted, and others allowed to retire on full pensions.

The lack of experience to investigate organised crime was down to two factors: Many of those brought into the Untouchables on the offer of detective rank and quick promotion had never cut their teeth on serious crime squads.

The other reason, as relentlessly documented in Untouchables: Dirty Cops, Bent Justice & Racism in Scotland Yard (Cutting Edge 2004), was those who did have detective experience were carefully managing the anti-corruption drive since 1994 to ensure only the pockets of corruption they wanted exposed were investigated.

Hayman was part of this management exercise from 1999-2002. Operation Tiberius was his anti-corruption swan song and an attempt to go out on a high after what had been a disastrous tenure.

MorganHis one big success was taking down DC Martin Morgan in April 2000. The experienced and likeable detective had worked north and east London’s organised crime groups but was in bed with Bob Kean, an informant and prolific drug dealer with connections to Ireland and Spain.

Kean turned to Morgan when his money man disappeared with a lot of drug cash, some of it said to belong to Kenneth Beagle, the east London criminal murdered seven months later.

The Untouchables set a clever trap for Morgan and Kean to come to a hotel where bugs in the television provided unassailable video and audio evidence of them discussing the money man’s kidnap.

Morgan was awaiting trial when Operation Tiberius started in October 2001. The report was published eight weeks before Morgan and others pleaded guilty.

KeanNot surprisingly, Hayman used the Tiberius report to big up the operation against Morgan. But the report’s wider conclusions can also be read as a swipe at the Untouchable bosses who came before Hayman.

A senior intelligence officer said the Tiberius report did not land well within the Met. The source criticised the report for sometimes joining low grade and good intelligence to make ‘conspiracy’ where there was none.

“When it was read by senior officers it was thought that none of it was new or unknown and they wondered why Hayman had not done a similar exercise for [the rest of] London, so it was shelved.”

Hayman was not disadvantaged and went on to be anti-terror chief as head of specialist operations before his own integrity was challenged.

In December 2007, the police authority allowed him to resign after an investigation was announced into his expenses spending. There were also media allegations, which he denied, of Tiberius-like encounters with a police woman who wasn’t his wife but worked for the watchdog.

‘Very Real Risks’

The Met confirms it has received the legal claim from ‘Richard’. 

A spokesperson said:

“We are not prepared to discuss publicly the details of the Operation Tiberius report. By its very nature it is a secret document that details the threat of corruption to police employees posed by serious and organised criminals. The passage of time does nothing to reduce the very real risks to anti-corruption tactics, intelligence sources or current operations.” 

Then why was Richard abandoned to his own devices? The Met declined to say.

And so it goes.