News of the World 'undermined axe murder inquiry'

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Media captionDaniel Morgan was found with an axe in his head in a London pub car park

A retired detective has accused News of the World journalists of attempting "to undermine" the police investigation into an axe murder.

Daniel Morgan, a private investigator, was killed in 1987. He was allegedly about to expose police corruption.

Det Ch Supt David Cook believes links between the newspaper and ex-detectives he was investigating led to him being turned on by the tabloid.

News UK, the owner of the now defunct Sunday red top, is yet to comment.

Mr Morgan, who was originally from Llanfrechfa in Wales, was found with an axe in his head in a pub car park in south-east London. His killers have never been brought to justice.

However, by 2002 when Mr Cook was tasked with heading a new investigation into the murder, two suspects were running a private investigations agency and that company worked closely with the News of the World, feeding the newspaper stories and confidential information.

Illicit dossier

Mr Cook made a fresh appeal on the BBC Crimewatch television programme, but within days of his appeal the officer was himself being watched.

It has now emerged Greg Miskiw, then news editor at The News of the World, tasked Glen Mulcaire - another private investigator used widely by the paper - to compile an illicit personal dossier on Mr Cook.

Image caption A dossier on David Cook was compiled by the News of the World

A News of the World photographer claimed it was pursuing a 'kiss-and-tell' story that David Cook was having an affair with the Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames. In reality, however, Ms Hames was Mr Cook's wife.

Some of those connected with the surveillance operation have stated they were just following a tip-off which turned out to be misguided, but Mr Cook believes that the surveillance of him was for a different purpose.

"They were trying to undermine me," said Mr Cook, who has now left the force.

"They were trying to undermine the investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan, it's as simple as that."

'Sort you out'

The former Met officer said: "I was told the News of the World were offering assistance to those suspected of the murder of Daniel Morgan.

"The phrase that was told to me was that they were looking to 'sort you out'."

The BBC has spoken to sources who corroborate Mr Cook's claims.

Recalling the surveillance, he told the BBC: "Parked discreetly opposite my house was a van, so I called the Met and said, 'This is the registration number'.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Greg Miskiw is serving a six-month prison sentence for phone hacking

"Within a short time it came back: 'This van is leased to News International'.

"I put the kids in the car and I drove out. Within seconds of pulling out a car parked down the lane pulled out and started to follow me."

The Met soon received several intelligence reports that Mr Cook had been placed under surveillance by the tabloid newspaper.

Furious that News of the World staff were working hand-in-hand with his murder suspects, Mr Cook demanded a meeting with the company and eventually sat down with then editor Rebekah Brooks.

Mr Cook said: "I brought this to the attention of Rebekah Brooks.

"I had the meeting, that is a fact. She chose to do nothing about it."

Image caption Alastair Morgan called the News of the World's actions "outrageous"

The BBC has asked Ms Brooks what action she took when presented with evidence of the corrupt links between the News of the World and those being investigated for murdering Daniel Morgan. She has not responded.

However Mrs Brooks told a Parliamentary Committee in 2011 her recollection was that the meeting was on a different topic.

Alastair Morgan, Daniel Morgan's brother, said: "It's outrageous. The more I find out about it this case the worse it gets.

"I am beyond surprised now with what's emerged.

"There's a lot of questions that need to be answered."

Greg Miskiw has recently been jailed for phone-hacking and could not be contacted for a comment.

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