But now Byline can reveal those same former murder suspects have continued a campaign of planned revenge and intimidation right up to the present.
“Purely on the revenge side of things, I want to punish Haslam – Haslam and Cook and all those to do with the Morgan murder trial ” Jonathan Rees in 2013
Back in 2002, Alex Marunchak commissioned a campaign against the lead officer in one of the sensitive murder inquiries in the country, involving hacking, surveillance and gathering illicit financial information
In January 2003 the then News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was warned that her senior executive Alex Marunchak had a 16 -year association with the suspects at the private detective agency, Southern Investigations.
She did nothing about it.
Instead, Marunchak was allowed to continue at his senior role at the Sunday tabloid. He maintained a close relations with Jonathan Rees, even visiting him in prison where he was serving a seven year sentence for conspiring with police officer to fit up a mother with cocaine in a custody battle.
Marunchak also appears to have been in regular communication with his business partner at Southern Investigations, former detective sergeant Sid Fillery.
But yet even more extraordinary events were to transpire in 2006.
Leaks from the Highest Level of the Met
Despite being sentenced to seven years in prison, Rees was rehired by Marunchak in late 2005 after serving five years.
Sample invoices show he was providing information on Kate Middleton (just as News of the World was hacking her voicemails), Gary Lineker, Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton, and even the deputy Labour Prime Minister, John Prescott.
However, while Rees was gainfully employed at Andy Coulson’s News of the World, Daniel’s surviving brother Alastair was still pushing for a public inquiry into the twenty year cover up of his brother’s murder.
DCS Dave Cook was tasked to do a scoping exercise on the previous failed investigations. As he did so, new evidence and witnesses came to light.
In a top secret meeting of Commissioner Ian Blair’s ‘inner sanctum’ in early April 2006, the Met’s most senior officers decided to launch a fifth investigation – codenamed Abelard 2.
Yet, within hours, Jonathan Rees was tipped off about this top secret decision via his connections at News of the World.
According to an intelligence report, Rees claims to have confirmed a leak from Blair’s “Inner Sanctum” via Sir John Stevens, a former commissioner who was then a columnist for News of the World.
The intelligence assessment states that Rees believed Stevens had confirmed the decision to reopen the murder investigation to Alex Marunchak “one of his many employers.”
In May 2006 there was an unexplained security alert when a man with a balaclava was spotted in the garden of a senior police officer.
In June 2006 the police received further intelligence that Alex Marunchak and a former police officer were trying to hawk a story of Jacqui Hames’ business interests around Fleet Street, in order to compromise her husband Dave Cook
The following year Marunchak was, according to a journalist on a national daily paper, trying to sell a completely false story about Dave Cook being forced into retirement because of misuse of a corporate credit card.
During 2006, as editor of the Irish edition of News of the World, Marunchak was also collaborating with Rees on the email hacking of a former Northern Ireland Intelligence Officer, Ian Hurst.
The eblaster Trojan used to target Hurst was the same software that previously had compromised an undercover informant who had infiltrated the corrupt nexus of police, private detectives and journalists around Rees’ firm Southern Investigations.
Derek Haslam, a former detective sergeant, had spent nearly 10 years reporting back to the Metropolitan Police’s internal affairs unit – the DPS. The Met knew about the email hacking months before Haslam was warned.
Undercover Officer Warns of Political Targeting
Speaking exclusively to Byline, Haslam recalls that he finally got to meet the Abelard 2 team for the first and last time in 2006 and that a lot of the intelligence he asked to be passed onto Dave Cook had clearly not been relayed,
In that meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Dartford, also attended by DCI Noel Beswick, Haslam says he remembers Cook welcoming him with the words: “Good morning, I have been waiting a very long time to meet you, I am not sure however that I am going to like what you have to tell me.”
Rees was trying to disrupt the re investigation of Daniel Morgan’s murder at a political level. “He was obsessed with obtaining black information on very senior police officers to Commissioner level,” Haslam says: “along with Labour Ministers and politicians.”
The first thing Haslam did was warn Cook about the personal and political nature of the threat from Southern Investigations.
“I told Dave Cook that Rees is out to get you,” Haslam says: “I told him that Rees was determined to wreck his investigation and destabilise it by obtaining as much black information on him, his family, members of his murder squad, witnesses and other Senior Police officers up to Commissioner level, along with Senior and useful politicians.”
Haslam, who had known Rees since the 1980s, recalls that Rees was continually “trying to obtain information regarding Dave Cook’s personal life – any adverse information or rumours regarding him, along with members of his murder squad.”
“Frequently he would telephone me,” Haslam adds “or ask me face to face if I knew or knew of certain named police officers that might be corrupt or could be influenced to assist him.”
According to Haslam this campaign went way beyond Cook himself and that Rees was trying to disrupt the re investigation of Daniel Morgan’s murder at a political level. “He was obsessed with obtaining black information on very senior police officers to Commissioner level,” Haslam says: “along with Labour Ministers and politicians.”
Exclusive: Rees’ Threats on Tape
After one of the longest pre-trial hearings in British legal history, the case assembled for the first and last Daniel Morgan Murder trial eventually collapsed in March 2011, mainly due to the legacy of previous police corruption.
That corruption also means the case is very unlikely ever to be heard in a criminal court.
However, the threats against Cook and Haslam did not let up.
For Rees, arrested himself for the computer hacking of Hurst, the silencing of Cook was seen as sweet revenge.
In a series of covert video and audio recordings made by Ian Hurst during his own three year investigation, Rees can be heard admitting the activities he carried out for Rupert Murdoch’s best-selling paper News of the World. He also swears revenge on two key figures in the investigation of the Daniel Morgan murder.
“Purely on the revenge side of things, I want to punish Haslam – Haslam and Cook and all those to do with the Morgan murder trial etcetera. I want to punish them for that. They took 23 months of my life. And they upset my family and I am going to punish them. Cook – Cookie – as soon has he is charged, the general feeling is that he is going to top himself.”
(While Rees complains about losing 23 months of his life, he seems to overlook the fact that Alastair Morgan and his sister Jane lost a brother, his surviving mother Isobel a son, and Daniel’s two young children a father – forever.)
Meanwhile, while muttering vague threats himself through social media accounts Rees has recently been passing on information to a third party, allegedly another convicted criminal, and thereby making good on his threats to Derek Haslam.
In the last few months using multiple sock puppets and an off shore hosted WordPress account, Haslam’s address and phone number has been revealed and the identity of his children targeted. (The same site also claimed to have surveillance on me visiting Haslam).
Despite being a protected witness, a passport photo of Haslam has also been posted which can only have come through the legal submissions to Rees’ defence team during pre-trial hearings.
Since Southern Investigations had connections with underworld figures as well as numerous former corrupt police officers, these threats should be taken seriously.
However, a quiet street is a dangerous street and publicity is the best protection for whistle-blowers.
In that spirit of disclosure, the public should know about this 13 year long campaign against a senior officer and other members of the Morgan investigation team. And while the Metropolitan Police may not be able to prosecute the murder inquiry any further, they should at least provide complete transparency to the Independent Daniel Morgan Panel, and ensure this long dark reign of cover-up and intimidation is brought to an end.
If you have corrections, queries or wish to comment in the piece itself, please contact me peter at byline dot com.