Today, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced the reopening of the famous 1987 Daniel Morgan murder case. He was a private investigator found in a car park with an axe through the head.

A judge-led panel will, in part, be looking into the police corruption that sabotaged 5 successive investigations of this heinous crime, and caused the murder trial to fall apart. But they'll also be investigating the web of connections between police, private investigators, and journalists, those of News of the World in particular.

Brit's article in today's Daily Beast has some mind-blowing new information:

Daniel Morgan (axe murder victim) ran a successful private investigations agency, Southern Investigations, with Jonathan Rees in the 1980s. However, as explained to The Daily Beast by his brother Alastair, Daniel had become suspicious of his business partner and concerned about police corruption. He was preparing to expose local police officers to the now-shuttered News of the World according to another colleague. But after a meeting with Rees, Daniel was murdered.

One of the officers to first investigate the murder, Sid Fillery, left the police and took over Daniel’s role at Southern Investigations. Over the next two decades Fillery and Rees formed one of the most prolific private detective agencies working for the British press, and established what the investigative journalists Nick Davies and Vikram Dodd described as an “empire of corruption.”

According to the Guardian they provided material, mainly for News of the World, through a variety of illegal means, including paying police officers for confidential records, obtaining phone records, car registration details, banks account details, and allegedly using ‘Trojan Horse’ emails to hack computers. According to two sources, the firm “commissioned burglaries to obtain material for journalists.”


Did you catch that? A UK police officer, Fillery, who was an original investigator of the murder, leaves the force and takes the victim's job! He becomes the business partner of Rees, a prime suspect in the crime itself.

For the next twenty years, they would run a P.I. agency whose biggest client was News of the World. For a single year's work of hacking, tapping, bribing, etc., they once charged News of the World $400,000.

One of Brit's senior police sources said this:

Their relationship with News of the World was without question the maternity ward where the Dark Arts were born.”
Ree's and Fillery's main contact at News of the World was an executive by the name of Alex Marunchak. It turns out he was simultaneously working for Scotland Yard! From a 2011 article in The Telegraph:
In the latest bizarre twist in the phone hacking story it emerged that Alex Marunchak, an executive editor on the Sunday tabloid, worked for the force between 1980 and 2000 translating for Ukrainian suspects.
The revelations will do nothing to dampen suggestions that the newspaper enjoyed a cosy relationship with the Yard.
Mr Marunchak worked at the News of the World between 1981 and 2006. For almost the entire period he was also working for Scotland Yard as a freelance interpreter, the force confirmed last night.

Marunchak has since been promoted to editor of the Irish edition of News of the World. But oddly enough, Rupert has no memory of him!

"I don't remember meeting him. I might have shaken hands walking through the office, but I don't have any memory of him."  
                 -Rupert Murdoch, on Alex Marunchak during questioning in Parliament

From ceebs in the comments:

The Untouchables -- a book by  Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn about corruption and racism in the Met has a whole chapter on the Daniel Morgan Murder.

On the relationship between Rees and Fillery, it claims that Fillery was drinking with Rees regularly in the nights before the Murder, and so not only didn't this make it into the notes, but Fillery also allowed Rees to take his clothes and car home, and bring them back later for forensic examination even though Rees was the last person to meet Morgan at the pub before he was killed.


Click on this Parliamentary Transcript from last year to read MP Tom Watson's findings in the murder case. Scroll about half way down the entire document until you see the blue-text sub-heading 'Daniel Morgan'. What follows is astounding. A tiny excerpt:

At the inquest in April 1998, Kevin Lennon, who worked as a bookkeeper at Southern Investigations, gave evidence that implicated Rees in Daniel’s murder. The Guardian newspaper reported that, in evidence to the hearing, Kevin Lennon said Rees wanted Morgan dead after a row. Lennon said:

“John Rees explained that, when or after Daniel Morgan had been killed, he would be replaced by a friend of his who was a serving policeman, Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery.”

Lennon also told the inquest that Rees had said to him:

“I’ve got the perfect solution for Daniel’s murder. My mates at Catford nick are going to arrange it.”


(h/t ceebs & Brit)

Rees would later (2000) serve jail time for an unrelated crime. From Wikipedia:


In December 2000, Jonathan Rees was found guilty of conspiring to plant cocaine on an innocent woman in order to discredit her in a child custody battle and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for attempting to pervert the course of justice.[1][2]
Upon his release after completing his sentence, he was rehired by News of the World.

Originally posted to Animal Nuz on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Murdochgate Investigators.

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