'Journalists have been stepping over Daniel's body to look at behavioural aspects of Rupert Murdoch's organisations'

Twenty years ago, aged 41, I went back into full-time education and took a degree in journalism.

I remember how pleased I was when I started the course to read the words of Lord Donaldson about the primary role of the fourth estate, namely 'to unmask the fraudulent".

An inquest into the death of my brother back in 1988 concluded that he'd been 'unlawfully killed". This was no surprise as he'd been found with the blade of a 14in hatchet embedded in his face. There were disturbingly well-developed allegations and evidence of police involvement in the murder too.

The fourth estate descended on the inquest like a flock of pigeons. 'Cops in 'murder plot''and 'Murder mistress in got-at denial'were two of the headlines I vividly recall. Then, as fast as they'd fl ocked in, they fl ew away, as if a hungry fox had shown up in an aviary. And they stayed away, while the police investigated themselves, the press watchdog wagged its tail and ministers regurgitated assurances fed to them by top cops.

After this, the London media barely pointed its nose in the direction of the unsolved murder and the allegations of police involvement for many years. I tried hard, but few wanted to know. Or rather, some wanted to know, but fewer still were willing to write. Some red-tops even spread unfounded speculation about the murder, which was less than helpful.

Most of the time the media were scarily uninterested in the case.

It's also true that every editor on Fleet Street dreaded Russell Jones & Walker's libel actions. Collectively they'd lost 90-plus in a row until The Guardian won over wrongdoing at Stoke Newington police station. The press lived in fear of libel and the so-called 'garage jobs', as police libel actions came to be called (because the payout was enough to fund an home extension).

My brother Daniel and I were brought up in Wales and my mother and sister still live there. We've always been grateful for the way the Welsh media followed the story. HTV – later ITV Wales – had made two half-hour documentaries by 1997. But its London counterparts were stand-offish about a story from their own patch.

 

It wasn't until 2004 that I managed to persuade ITV London to make a programme.

To be fair, papers did report arrests in the subsequent murder investigation but it was only really The Guardian and some of the other broadsheets that took a serious interest in the case. I could never understand why the tabloids weren't interested in a story that involved a brutal murder, the underworld and allegations of police corruption.

It was only as we gradually discovered that my brother's business partner in Southern Investigations Jonathan Rees, and former Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery – two people arrested in the first Metropolitan Police inquiry – were selling stories to the tabloids that we guessed why some newspapers weren't very keen on the story.

As the recent prosecution for Daniel's murder began to look like an unfolding traincrash, the press couldn't report anything because of a contempt order. All the time it was in court, the NoW phone-hacking scandal was unfolding.

Those journalists who knew the details of Daniel's case were kicking themselves as they couldn't bring to light the fact that Rees had worked under Andy Coulson after Rees had been convicted in 2000 for perverting the course of justice. He'd been caught trying to fit up a woman on drugs charges in a custody battle. Rees had the assistance of a corrupt serving police officer in that particular case.

With perfect timing for the BBC, the case collapsed on the Friday before Panorama's exposé on the NoW's phone hacking and other activities. Coverage of the collapse of the trial itself was understandably limited as it happened on the same day that news broke about the catastrophe in Japan.

All the while the spotlight has been on News International, and while I fully understand that this is very important, I've had the feeling that journalists have been stepping over Daniel's body to look at behavioural aspects of Rupert Murdoch's organisations.

The only way forward now for my family is a public inquiry. You could argue that the only reason we've got this far is by using the media to embarrass the police and government.

Hopefully a judicial inquiry will mean the story behind Daniel's murder and why police failed us five times will finally be told.

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