Daniel Morgan: why was murder report into private investigator’s death delayed – independent panel explained

Morgan’s family has reacted with fury after the Home Office stepped in to delay the publication of the independent report nearly 35 years on from his death

A long-awaited report into the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan has been delayed again due to an “unnecessary” Home Office review said to compromise the authors’ independence.

The panel examining the case had been due to publish its findings on Monday 17 May, before being told by the Home Office that no Parliamentary time could be found to allow this to happen.

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Then on Monday, it announced that it wanted to review the document, expected to contain “a sizeable chapter” on police corruption, and would keep parts of it secret if it felt necessary.

The family of Daniel Morgan has reacted with fury after the Home Office stepped in to delay publication of a long-awaited report on his unsolved murder (Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire/PA Images)

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What happened to Daniel Morgan?

Morgan, a private investigator, was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London on 10 March 1987.

Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.

Then-home secretary Theresa May announced in 2013 that an independent panel was being set up to examine the case.

The panel’s remit was to address questions relating to the murder including police handling of the case, the role corruption played in protecting Morgan’s killer, and the links between private investigators, police and journalists connected to the case.

When will the report be published?

The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel said it had been told a publication date would not be agreed until the Home Office reviewed the report to ensure it complied with human rights and did not compromise national security.

It released a forceful statement on Tuesday (18 May), saying: “A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013.

“The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel’s independence.”

The panel said that it has already worked with lawyers to ensure its report complies with human rights legislation, as well as a specialist Metropolitan Police team to ensure it poses no security risks.

It also said that the role of the Home Secretary was limited to reporting to Parliament on the panel’s work, receiving its report, laying it before Parliament, and responding to its findings.

The panel said it was “disappointed”, but hoped the issue could be resolved so the report can be published in May.

What have Morgan’s family said?

The family’s lawyer Raju Bhatt told the Radio 4 Today programme that Morgan’s relatives have “every reason” to be suspicious about the motives behind the move, after decades of failures over the case.

He said: “From the family’s perspective they have every reason to be suspicious about the motives behind this very belated and completely unwarranted intervention by the Home Secretary.

“We have to remember that the Home Office itself was complicit in the failings to confront this police corruption all through these decades until the panel was set up.”

Morgan’s brother Alastair said on Wednesday (19 May) that the family is looking to the panel to defend itself from Home Office interference.

He wrote on Twitter: “We’re now looking to the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel to defend their independence and fend off this unwarranted intervention from the home secretary.

“We’re very hopeful that they will.”

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