Timeline: Daniel Morgan axe murder

Undated handout photo issued by New Scotland Yard of Daniel Morgan
Image caption Daniel Morgan was found with an axe in his head in a pub car park on 10 March 1987

On the 24th anniversary of private detective Daniel Morgan's death, the inquiry into his murder outside a pub in Sydenham, south-east London, collapsed.

Since 1987, the Metropolitan Police (Met) said it had dealt with 750,000 documents, taken 8,854 actions, provided 6,180 statements, gathered 17,960 exhibits and interviewed 188 witnesses.

The following shows the key dates in a case which, after six investigations, three years of legal hearings and an estimated £30m cost, remains unsolved.

10 March 1987

Daniel Morgan's body, with an axe embedded in his head, is found in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham.

3 April 1987

Six men are arrested over the murder but police find there was not enough evidence to charge any of them.

April 1988

An inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court gives a verdict of unlawful killing.

Papers are again submitted to the CPS but no charges brought.

24 June 1988

The Met refers the case to the Police Complaints Authority (now the Independent Police Complaints Commission) after allegations against the police by Mr Morgan's family.

The review by Hampshire Constabulary looks at "allegations that police were involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan".

31 January 1989

Three people are arrested by the force conducting the investigation.

Two of them are charged with murder and one for perverting the course of justice.

11 May 1989

The Director of Public Prosecutions discontinues proceedings.

9 June 1989

The IPCC inquiry concludes without any evidence produced to support any allegation of criminal misconduct by Met officers.

Jan 1999

A covert investigation, Operation Two Bridges, finds information relevant to the case.

Following the investigation, charges are brought in connection with an unrelated matter.

October 2001

A review by the Met's Murder Review Group finds new investigative opportunities and recommends the case should be re-investigated.

June 2002

The Met launches a new covert investigation, Operation Abelard.

Police appeal for witnesses and information on the case in Crimewatch.

October 2002 to January 2003

Eight people are arrested during this period but all are released on bail.

March 2003

The Met submits evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration.

September 2003

The CPS says there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution and all people previously bailed are released.

The case is referred to the Met's Murder Review Group which concludes all lines of inquiry are exhausted.

March 2006

Another investigation, Operation Abelard Two, begins.

August 2006

Two men are arrested and bailed.

September 2006

A third man is arrested and bailed.

April 2008

James Cook and brothers Glenn and Garry Vian are charged with murder.

Two other men are arrested, of which William John Rees is charged with murder, and the second with perverting the course of justice. The case against the second man was later discharged.

A serving Pc in Southwark is arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and bailed.

September 2008

The Pc's bail is cancelled and no further action taken against him. His arrest was not in connection with Mr Morgan's murder but in connection with the five other arrests.

He is suspended and due to face a misconduct hearing, but resigns before that.

December 2008

A seventh man is arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. He remains on bail.

June 2009

A woman is arrested and bailed on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

November 2009

The woman is released with no further action taken.

March 2010

William John Rees, James Cook, Glenn Vian and Garry Vian are granted conditional bail pending a trial in November 2010.

The judge imposes reporting restrictions on the case.


James Cook is discharged.

March 2011

William John Rees and Glenn and Garry Vian are formally acquitted.

May 2012

The police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are blamed in a report for the collapse of the trial.

The report, carried out by both the Metropolitan Police and CPS, said three boxes of potential evidence were not disclosed to the defence and that several "supergrass" witnesses were not properly handled.

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