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Channel 4 Broadcasts Documentary Series on the Daniel Morgan Murder

From Channel 4:

Murder In The Carpark, a new three-part series for Channel 4 produced by Indefinite Films, will explore the most investigated unsolved murder in the history of the Metropolitan Police. On 10th March 1987 Private Investigator Daniel Morgan was brutally murdered with an axe in the carpark of a south London pub. There were no witnesses.

Four years in the making, the series will tell the incredible story of an unsolved murder which over the decades has involved accusations of police corruption, the tabloid press, covert operations, the phone hacking scandal and asks how, with millions of pounds in public money spent, has no one ever been brought to justice for this heinous crime…

For the first time ever Morgan’s business partner, Jonathan Rees, ex-Metropolitan police detective Sid Fillery and Rees’ former brother-in-law Glenn Vian will collectively give their accounts. These three men who have found themselves under investigation for over three decades, they will give their accounts from the time of the murder, and in the years following, as police investigations unravelled again and again…

We hear from Daniel’s brother Alastair Morgan, who has been campaigning alongside his family tirelessly for the truth…

The whole series can be viewed in the UK on the Channel 4 player here (1). The total running time is 170 minutes; Parts 1 and 2 have already been broadcast (Part 1 unfortunately clashed with Part 2 of the BBC drama documentary The Salisbury Poisonings), and Part 3 will go out on Monday. Alastair’s verdict is that the series is “really, really good. Shows the sheer breadth of corruption going on at that time”.

There were, though, some misgivings when the project was first announced: in particular, in 2017 Paddy French’s website Press Gang revealed that it had “obtained a copy of an email from producer Jim Nally sent to police officers involved in the case”, in which Nally had written:

“…we’ve got Sid Fillery on board, which is important, as accusations of police corruption have been so lazily bandied about by the Morgan campaign that we felt it was about time someone said ‘show me the evidence’, which is exactly Sid’s point which he delivered really well.”

Of course a journalist wanting to elicit information needs to put potential informants at their ease, but this seemed to go beyond that – unduly dismissive of Alastair Morgan’s efforts and almost identifying with Fillery’s protestations of innocence.

There were also other reasons for concern: Nally’s journalistic associates (2) include a man with a grudge against Alastair’s co-author Peter Jukes, which may have coloured his perspective, and Ian Gallagher, a Daily Mail journalist who in 2014 had co-authored an article that appeared to align with Rees’s defence case that the initial investigation in 1987 had failed due to police incompetence at the murder scene. According to the article:

Detective Superintendent Douglas Campbell, turned up at 11.12pm, and, according to one of his junior officers, ‘ordered a bottle of scotch’. Detective Constable Noel Cosgrave said in his witness statement that he approached Campbell at the bar and noticed ‘he was already inebriated’. He added: ‘I suggested he hand the case over to another senior officer. He didn’t take kindly to my words and told me to leave.’

This claim is toned down in the documentary: a purported reconstruction shows Campbell ordering a whisky at the bar, but not a whole bottle, and he is not depicted as visibly drunk, although Cosgrove suggests to him he could do with “some kip”. The reconstruction does not mention the exact time, but Campbell’s arrival at 11.12 pm is confirmed in other sources, and this raises the problem of how he could have ordered a drink after the 11 pm licensing cut-off. Further, Malcolm Davidson, who was third in command, expresses incredulity in the documentary at the idea of Campbell drinking on duty. Gallagher’s co-author on the Daily Mail story was Sylvia Jones, a freelancer who has known Rees for some years.

The 2017 Press Gang post also reported that “Alastair Morgan has declined to take part” in the documentary. Asked about his involvement more recently on Twitter, Alastair said that “I did finally engage after there were some changes in the team behind the programme.”

Notes

1. Listings vary between Murder in the Car Park and Murder in the Carpark.

2. See the acknowledgements in Nally’s book Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Kevin Fulton’s Double Agent: My Secret Life Undercover in the IRA, which was ghostwritten by Nally and Gallagher.

One Response

  1. Dear God, you haven’t researched it at all. Campbell was drunk on duty (see Poulton debrief). The programme is a hagiography and basically a Met police puff piece. Good news is that the truth is coming out, plod murdered Morgan.

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