NEWS “without comment”
The Review of the Documentary Murder in the Car Park:
Daniel Morgan was found lying in a pub car park with an axe in his head in 1987. But his murder has never been solved By Anita Singh 15 June 2020
After Murder in the Outback, which examined the 2001 disappearance of Peter Falconio, Channel 4 brings us Murder in the Car Park. Both true crime serials, but very different beasts. The Falconio story had a deep mystery at its heart: what really happened that night? This latest documentary is concerned with the death of Daniel Morgan, a private investigator killed outside a southeast London pub 33 years ago, and from the first episode it seems pretty clear that the film-makers think there is no mystery here: plenty of people know what happened, but the perpetrators have escaped justice. Morgan’s family believes he was silenced because he was about to expose police corruption.
The killing of Morgan was introduced as “the most investigated unsolved murder in the history of the Met Police”. The first detective on the scene provided an unforgettable description of the victim’s body: “He had two packets of crisps in one hand, car keys in the other, and an axe sticking out of the side of his head.”
We were taken methodically through the evidence. The programme was four years in the making, and the quality told. We learned the details of the case through a combination of interviews with those connected to it, including police officers, and dramatic reconstructions. Often, reconstructions are the weakest part of programmes like these. But here they did a fine job of conjuring a shady world in which private detectives propped up the bar with CID men, and detectives moonlighted in security jobs alongside dubious characters. Elements of the story could have been taken straight from a fictional crime drama, like the pub regular who discovered Morgan’s body and, instead of rushing to raise the alarm, leant over the bar and whispered in the landlord’s ear: “Joe, you’ve got a problem in your car park.”
The central character was Jonathan Rees, Morgan’s partner in the investigations business who soon became a suspect. The film played with unreliable narration here: events shot from different viewpoints, Rees’s version of events challenged. When they interviewed Rees and Sid Fillery, the Met detective who was involved in the investigation and just happened to be a close friend of Rees, the cameras lingered on them for just a second too long after they’d finished speaking, inviting us to draw conclusions about the reliability of their testimony. Both were arrested for Morgan’s murder, but no one has ever been convicted. It is a murky tale, on which this series throws a great deal of light.