10 March 1987: Murder of Daniel Morgan
Daniel Morgan was murdered in the car park of the Golden Lion public house, Sydenham in south London. He was attacked with an axe. His death was a result of multiple head injuries. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) commenced a murder investigation.
3 April 1987: First arrests
Six men, amongst whom were police officers, were arrested in connection with the murder. There was insufficient evidence to charge any person and they were all released.
11 – 25 April 1988: Inquest held
An inquest was held at Southwark Coroner’s Court by Coroner Sir Montague Levine. A verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ was delivered.
24 June 1988: Concerns received from Daniel Morgan’s family
Following concerns expressed by members of Daniel Morgan’s family, the investigation was referred by the MPS to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the next month a review, conducted by a team from Hampshire Constabulary, commenced. Entitled ‘Operation Drake’ its terms of reference were: ‘To investigate allegations that police were involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan and any other matters arising’.
31 January 1989: Arrests
Three people were arrested and charged by Hampshire Constabulary – two for murder and one for perverting the course of justice.
11 May 1989: Proceedings discontinued
The Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued proceedings due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
October 2001: Murder Review Group examination
The MPS Murder Review Group examined the investigation files. New investigative opportunities were identified and a recommendation was made that the case should be re-investigated.
May 2002: Operation Abelard
The MPS launched a fresh, covert investigation into the murder. The following month it was extended to encompass an overt investigation of the murder (Operation Morgan II). An appeal seeking new witnesses was made on the BBC television programme CrimeWatch.
October 2002 – Jan 2003: Further arrests
Eight arrests were made in connection with the investigation. All those arrested were released on bail pending the receipt of advice from the CPS. In September 2003 the CPS determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone and all eight suspects were discharged.
27 October 2005: MPA commissioned report
Following a meeting with members of Daniel Morgan’s family, the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) commissioned a report by the MPS on the murder, pursuant to s.22(3) of the Police Act 1966.
March 2006: Operation Abelard II
The MPS commenced the further investigation of the murder.
August to September 2006: Arrests
Three men were arrested in connection with the murder. All were bailed pending further enquiries.
April 2008: Charges laid
The three men answered their bail and were charged with murder. Two further men were arrested, one was charged with murder and the other man, a former police officer involved in the original investigation in 1987, was charged with perverting the course of justice. A sixth man, a serving police constable, was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and bailed pending inquiries: in September 2008 a decision was taken not to prosecute him but the officer, who had been suspended from duty, subsequently resigned from the MPS.
December 2008: Further arrest
A seventh man was arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
June 2009: Further arrest
A woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder and bailed. Subsequently, a decision was taken not to prosecute her.
March 2010 to March 2011: Pre-trial Hearings
Legal argument prior to the trial of the remaining defendants took place. As a result of this the Prosecution decided to offer no evidence and all the men were formally acquitted.
The Acting Commissioner of the MPS, Tim Godwin, made a public statement that police corruption in the original investigation was a significant factor in the failure to bring to justice those responsible for the murder. He also stated that members of Daniel Morgan’s family were entitled to an apology for the repeated failure by the police to acknowledge this corruption.
10 May 2013: Establishment of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel
Following sustained pressure from members of Daniel Morgan’s family from the time of his death in 1987, the Home Secretary announced that an Independent Panel was being set up to report on the circumstances of Daniel Morgan’s murder, its background and the handling of the case over the whole period since March 1987.
Sir Stanley Burnton, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal, chaired the independent panel until November 2013 when he resigned for personal reasons and was replaced in July 2014 by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, the former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland.