Mysterious true story behind Channel 4 documentary Murder in the Car Park

In 1987, Daniel Morgan was found in a carpark with an axe embedded in his skull - his murder has never been solved

murder in the car park

Hot on the heels of Murder in the Outback, new Channel 4 documentary Murder in the Car Park is shining the light on another high profile case – this time the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.

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In 1987, Morgan was killed in a brutal axe attack in a South London pub car park, three years after he set up his own detective agency. Many believe he was murdered because he was on the verge of exposing police corruption, but it was never confirmed.

With no witnesses and the subsequent collapse of numerous investigations, no one has ever been convicted of the vicious slaying.

In this three-part documentary,  Channel 4 take a deep dive into one of the most investigated unsolved murders in the history of the Metropolitan Police.

As the vicious murder is revisited, we bring you up to speed with what you need to know about Morgan’s mysterious death – and why there are still so many unanswered questions.

Who is Daniel Morgan?

Daniel Morgan was a private investigator, who co-owned a detective agency in South London called Southern Investigations. He was working on exposing police corruption at the time of his death, as well as looking into London drugs networks, and it is believed this is the reason for his murder. He died aged 36, leaving behind a wife and two children.

Daniel Morgan

What happened to Daniel Morgan?

On 10th March 1987, Daniel was found lying on the floor of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London with “two packets of crisps in one hand, his car keys in the other and an axe sticking out of his head.”

He had £1000 in his pocket, so this was not a robbery.

Six men were arrested for the murder, but were later released. Morgan’s family has been unhappy with the way in which the murder was investigated since the start, but they got no answer as to the circumstances behind their loved one’s death. In May 2013 the Home Office, then run by Theresa May, announced an independent inquiry into the Met’s handling of the case. The murder is still unsolved.

murder car park

Who is Jonathan Rees?

Jonathan Rees was Daniel Morgan’s business partner. He was one of the first suspects for Daniel’s murder, as he was the last person to have seen him before the attack and the police learned the pair had a recent argument.

In the documentary, staff members of the two claimed there was “tension” between them and Daniel’s brother Alastair claimed there was “animosity” between them.

Rees was later charged with Morgan’s murder in 2008, alongside brothers Glenn Vian and Garry Vian, as well as a fourth man, builder James Cook.

However the case collapsed three years later when the evidence of a “known criminal” was excluded, and proceedings were discontinued. The men tried to sue the Metropolitan Police for damages and although their case was thrown out of court, they were eventually successful at the Court of Appeal in 2018, winning damages of more than £400,000 in total. Rees took £155,000.

jonathan rees

Who is Glenn Vian?

Glenn Vian is the former brother-in-law of Jonathan Rees, who was Daniel Morgan’s business partner. He was wrongly charged with Daniel’s murder, along with his brother Garry and Rees. He has since won damages from the Metropolitan Police.

murder in the car park

Who is Alastair Morgan?

Daniel’s brother, Alastair has led the Morgan family’s fight for justice. Back in 2018, The Guardian reported him as saying, “How can I give up at this point? I’ve got no choice, I’m not walking away. This is Britain, this is the way things are here. If you ever confront corruption it takes a lifetime to deal with it, as we have seen before with the police.”

murder in the car park
Daniel Morgan with brother Alastair
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Murder in the Car Park airs on Channel 4 on Monday 15th June at 9pm. To find out what else is on in the mean time, check out our TV Guide.