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Private eye walks free after 1987 killing case collapses

By Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman

A private investigator who specialised in selling information from corrupt police officers to newspapers walked free yesterday after his trial for one of Britain's longest unsolved murders collapsed due to failures by Scotland Yard.

Jonathan Rees was formally acquitted at the Old Bailey along with two other men of the murder of his business partner Daniel Morgan, who was found with an axe in his skull outside a south London pub 24 years ago.

The marathon trial, which had yet to reach a jury despite three months of legal argument, collapsed after the Metropolitan Police told the court last week that it had found four boxes of previously undisclosed documentation. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that the admission rendered the proceedings unsustainable.

The family of Mr Morgan, who saw what is the fifth investigation into his murder collapse the day after the 24th anniversary of his death, called for a judicial inquiry into the case. In a statement, the family, who believe Mr Morgan was about to reveal the involvement of corrupt police officers in a drugs ring, said: “The criminal justice system is not fit for purpose.”

In a crime which became a byword for corruption that dogged the Met in the late 1980s, Mr Morgan's killing has proved a continuous embarrassment to the Yard. Its most senior murder detective apologised to the Morgans and admitted corruption had hampered the initial police inquiry.

Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell said: “It is with considerable regret that a trial cannot proceed.

“This current investigation has identified, how the initial inquiry failed the family and wider public. It is quite apparent that police corruption was a debilitating factor “

Mr Rees (56) who along with his co-defendants denied murdering Mr Morgan, said outside court that he shouldn’t have been prosecuted.

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