New claims over police corruption, tabloids and the Daniel Morgan murder

The Guardian has reported new links between corrupt policemen and tabloid newspapers following the collapse of the Daniel Morgan murder trial.

On Friday three men were were acquitted of  the 1987 axe murder of the private investigator after the trial became bogged down in legal argument.  It is acknowledged by the Met that the investigation into into his murder was sabotaged by police corruption.

Now The Guardian has revealed that one of the defendants in that case, Jonathan Rees, at one stage earned £150,000 a year from the News of the World. The paper reports that Rees went to prison in December 2000 and was then re-hired by the paper in 2005.

The Guardian also reports that Rees worked for the Daily  Mirror and Sunday Mirror using a network of police contacts to obtain information.

This Sun story from 2008 has background on the Morgan case – including the allegation that Morgan was murdered to stop him revealing details about a drug cartel involving corrupt police officers.

Tonight’s BBC One Panorama, Tabloid Hacks Exposed, promises to shed more light on this story – and about tabloid links with Southern Investigations, the agency which both Morgan and Rees worked for, and which Rees continued to run.

It also airs new evidence that a News of the World journalist obtained confidential email records obtained by a hacker in 2006.

In its response to the BBC, the News of the World said:

“In common with other newspapers and broadcasters the News of the World receives tip-offs and information from a wide variety of sources. We note for example that Jonathan Rees claims to have also worked for the BBC.

“To date, Panorama has provided us with no evidence of wrong doing in relation to the private detectives featured in your programme.

“Moreover, the Crown Prosecution Service found no evidence that the reporters involved were aware those sources were acquiring material by corrupt means.

“Unlike some of our critics, the News of the World secures proof of wrongdoing before making serious allegations.”

In a statement sent to Press Gazette, the News of the World said:

These are serious allegations but to date, despite repeated requests, Panorama has provided us with no evidence to support these claims, which relate to a former member of the News of the World staff who left in 2006.

“If Panorama has evidence that illegal acts were actually commissioned by this newspaper then we urge them to supply this information so we can properly investigate it. As recent events show we will not tolerate misconduct by staff.  We were also disappointed to see they have made a basic error of fact in their pre-publicity for the programme.

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