BY THE late 1990s Scotland Yard had made no progress in catching the men who butchered private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987.
Then in 1998 anti-corruption detectives — worried that bent policemen were selling sensitive information to the detective agency Southern Investigations — installed a bug in the firm’s offices.
Southern’s owners — murder suspect Jonathan Rees and retired police sergeant Sid Fillery — had no idea they were under surveillance.
Detectives listened as Rees hatched a conspiracy with serving Scotland Yard detectives to plant drugs on an innocent woman.
The plotters were caught red-handed and Rees was gaoled for 7 years.
But the bug picked up no clues about the murder.
Pressure from Daniel Morgan’s family finally forced the Met to open a new murder inquiry in 2002.
It started with a dramatic BBC Crimewatch reconstruction.
Instantly Rees — from prison — and Fillery started a campaign to subvert this new inquiry.
They targeted the family of the detective in charge — hacked his personal records and had him followed.
Scotland Yard hit back — they raided Southern Investigations and found extreme child pornography on Sid Fillery’s computer.
He was convicted and ordered to sign the Sex Offender’s Register.
With Rees in prison and Fillery disgraced, Southern Investigations finally came to an end.
But the Morgan family’s battle to bring Daniel’s killers to justice ploughed on …
IN 1999 detectives listening to the bug planted in the offices of Southern Investigations began to hear a plot unfold.
A London businessman, Simon Jones, came to see if the agency could help him win a custody battle with his wife.
James asked Jonathan Rees to see if there was any evidence that his wife was involved in drugs.
It would help him get sole custody of the couple’s little boy.
Rees could find no evidence that his wife Kim was dealing in drugs.
In a bugged conversation, he hinted that he might be able to do something:
Rees “I just wondered… We can do things.”
James “I’m not being funny. I’d rather you talk to me straight.”
Rees “I just wondered if it might be worthwhile, going in and planting some gear. Now, having said that it’s done, it’s available, but it costs.”
James “I’m not averse to doing anything.”
Rees “What we are doing is fraught … Me and you could end up doing porridge as well, if we get caught out.”
James “Yeah, I mean, you’re professionals. That’s why I have come here…”
Rees “All right, I’ll have a chat to our people today.”
Three days later, James returned to the office with £7,500– some of which was used to buy cocaine.
As the plot to frame the innocent woman got underway, anti-corruption officers were watching every move.
They were about to catch the plotters red-handed.
A man called Jimmy Cook, who worked for Southern Investigations, broke into Kim James’ car and planted bags of cocaine.
Undercover officers were waiting and, as soon as Cook was out of the way, removed the cocaine and replaced it with packets of harmless powder.
Another contact, a corrupt detective constable called Austin Warnes, tipped off the police that Kim James was dealing in drugs.
She was raided and a suspicious package found in her car.
She was arrested.
The police pounced on the conspirators.
They arrested Rees, Simon James and Austin Warnes.
Austin Warnes was gaoled for five years for his part in the plot.
Rees got seven years — as did the businessman Simon James.
One of those acquitted in the case was Jimmy Cook, the Southern Investigations employee who would later be charged with being the getaway driver in the Daniel Morgan murder.
IN 2002 detective chief superintendent Dave Cook of Scotland Yard’s murder squad was approached by anti-corruption detectives.
They wanted him to do them a favour.
They had decided to try and break the stalemate in the Daniel Morgan murder investigation.
They wanted the BBC Crimewatch programme to highlight the murder with the Metropolitan Police offering a £50,000 reward for information.
Their problem was that they didn’t want Rees and Fillery to know that it was the anti-corruption team who were in charge.
Would Cook appear on the programme to give the impression that he was heading up the inquiry?
Cook was an ideal candidate because his wife, policewoman Jacqui Hames, acted as a presenter on the porgramme.
On 26 June 2002 he appeared on the programme to appeal for witnesses to the murder.
The next day, Cook was told by anti-corruption officers that Sid Fillery had been in touch with reporter Alex Marunchak at the News of the World asking him to “sort out” the detective.
(At the time, Rees was still in prison for the Simon James conspiracy, although he was still in touch with both Fillery and Marunchak).
Shortly afterwards Cook spotted a white van outside his house.
The next day there were two.
When Cook took his young son to nursery, the vans followed.
Cook later arranged for police to stop one of the vans on the grounds that a rear light was defective.
The driver turned out to be a photojournalist working for the News of the World.
Both vans were leased by the newspaper.
Cook’s wife, Jacqui Hames, told witness protection officers that she had been photographed outside the couple’s home.
The couple were later told that the Met’s media boss Dick Fedorcio contacted the News of the World.
Fedorcio was told that the paper had been tipped off that Cook was having an affair with the Crimewatch presenter.
This was an incredible answer.
Cook and Hames were married, had two children and had been featured as a couple in Hello! magazine.
The surveillance ceased.
A few days later Cook was told by Surrey Police, where he worked from 1996 to 2001, that someone had rung asking for his address.
The caller said they were working for the Inland Revenue and wanted it to send Cook a tax refund.
Surrey Police refused to give it.
Later in 2002, anti-corruption officers raided the offices of Southern Investigations.
At this point, Jonathan Rees was still in prison.
On Sid Fillery’s computer officers found indecent images of young children.
In October 2003 Bow Street Magistrates gave him a three year community rehabilitation order.
District Judge Caroline Tibbs said she’d taken into account his guilty plea and what his defence claimed was his previous good behaviour.
The court was told nothing about his role in the Daniel Morgan murder case.
After the conviction, the detective agency collapsed.
Fillery went to live on the Norfolk Broads, running a pub called the Lion at Thurne.
It later became clear that Glen Mulcaire — the private eye gaoled in 2007 with News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman for hacking into royal mobiles — obtained Cook’s address, his internal Met payroll number and the amount he and his wife were paying on their mortgage.
Mulcaire also obtained the mobile number for Cook’s wife as well as the password she used.
Mulcaire was apparently acting on the instructions of Greg Miskiw, the News of the World assistant editor at the time.
On 9 January 2003 Rebekah Brooks was at Scotland Yard on a social visit when she was asked to have a word with Dave Cook “to clear the air”.
Present at the meeting was the Yard’s media boss Dick Fedorcio.
By that time, Cook was in charge of the latest Daniel Morgan murder investigation.
At first Brooks claimed to know nothing about the surveillance of Cook and his wife.
When Cook took her through the events, she insisted Marunchak was a fine reporter.
She promised to look into the matter.
We asked Dave Cook [in September 2011] to be interviewed for this article.
The Met Commissioner at the time of Cook’s meeting with Brooks was Sir John Stevens.
He’s known to have dined regularly with Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.
After he left the Met he was commissioned by Coulson to write a column for the News of the World — called “The Chief”.
EVER SINCE the phone hacking scandal destroyed the reputation of the News of the World, Alastair Morgan has been thinking about the surveillance operation the paper mounted against detective superintendent Dave Cook and his then wife in 2002.
He believes it was an attempt to intimidate the detective.
Morgan believes that a similar operation was mounted against him and his family in May 1998.
The family were campaigning for a public inquiry into the events surrounding Daniel’s death.
“I was living in Glasgow,” Alastair Morgan explains, “and one night I noticed two men standing openly on the corner of the street where my flat was located.”
“The next day they were there again. I was sure they were watching me — they made absolutely no attempt to conceal themselves.”
“I rang my mother Isobel who lives in Wales and told her.”
“She then told me that she’d also had a strange encounter — she was just going into her house when a woman photographer walked up behind her and took a couple of photographs.”
“She didn’t say anything — just got into a car which drove off.”
“And when I told my sister Jane, who lives in Germany, she said that she’d seen a white van parked outside her home in the countryside.”
“A man was lying in a ditch with a telephoto lens pointed at her home.”
“All of these incidents were reported to the police — in Scotland, Wales and Germany. We were all worried.”
Alastair Morgan told us:
“I have written to James Murdoch at News International to ask him to tell us if it was the News of the World who were watching us. And, if they were, what exactly was the justification for the intrusion.”
He had not received a reply by the time this article went to press.
We asked News International for a response but the press office told us:
“NI declines to comment”.
THE FINAL instalment of The No 1 Corrupt Detective Agency — Getting Away With Murder — will cover the events that followed Jonathan Rees’ release from prison in 2004.
His criminal record was no barrier to his continued working for the News of the World.
But police were closing in.
In 2008 he — and four others — were arrested and charged with involvement in the murder.
By 2011 the prosecution decided to offer no evidence.
The evidence of three supergrasses — “assisting offenders” is the official term — was discredited.
And police failed to disclose some of the 750,ooo pages of documents to the defence.
But the judge, David Maddison, made it clear police “had ample grounds to justify the arrest and prosecution of the defendants.”
That has not stopped four of them bringing a civil action for malicious prosecution and malfeasance in public office.
This is on-going.
At the same time a review of the scandal headed by Baroness Nuala O’Loan is preparing its report.
Set up in 2013 by then Home Secretary Theresa May, its hearings were held in secret.
Re-published: 11 February 2017
© Press Gang
This article is part of a series first published on the Rebecca Television website in September 2011.
Rees and Fillery were sent letters outlining the article and asking for their comments.
Fillery never replied but Rees’ solicitor said:
“Mr Rees has not the spare time to reply to the many questions that have been raised, often on the basis of ill-informed or malicious allegations.”
“Defamation claims are being pursued … in respect of some past publications; and the police have been asked to investigate any use by journalists or others of confidential or forged material improperly released by police officers or others.”
No legal action was taken against Rebecca Television.
There are four parts to The No 1 Corrupt Detective Agency: Click on the title to read.
An Axe To Grind
Rogue Journalists & Bent Coppers
Getting Away With Murder.
The series draws on material provided by the Morgan family as well as published material by other journalists, notably Nick Davies of the Guardian. Former BBC reporter Graeme McLagan devoted a detailed chapter on the murder as early as 2003 in his book Bent Coppers: The Inside Story of Scotland Yard’s Battle Againats Police Corruption (Orion). It also featured in Laurie Flynn & Michael Gillard’s Untouchables: Dirty Cops, Bent Justice and Racism In Scotland Yard (Cutting Edge, 2004). Several books on the phone hacking scandal have highlighted the key role the murder plays in the saga: Nick Davies’ Hack Attack (Chatto & Windus, 2014) , Tom Watson MP & Martin Hickman’s Dial M For Murdoch (Allen Lane, 2012) and Peter Jukes’ The Fall Of The House Of Murdoch (Unbound, 2012). Peter Jukes has also produced a podcast series — listened to by more than 4 million people — Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
Press Gang editor Paddy French made several programmes on the murder while a current affairs producer at ITV Wales.
THIS YEAR will see a major battle for control of Britain’s airwaves — Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take overall control of Sky TV. The mogul scuttled an earlier attempt in 2012 because of the public outcry over the phone hacking scandal. The battle for Sky will be a key battleground in 21st century British media because of the decline in newspapers. If Murdoch gets Sky, he will move to smash the powerful broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, and convert Sky News into a British version of his US Fox News. This is part of a plan to replace the fading populist power of the Sun with a new right-wing TV version. All the signs are Theresa May’s government will give Rupert Murdoch what he wants. But all is not lost — the Murdochs are vulnerable to a charge that, despite claims to have cleaned up their criminal stable since the closure of the News of the World in 2012, some areas of their empire remain as corrupt as ever …
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