THE Metropolitan Police has been accused of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.

A report by an independent panel said the force’s first objective was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Mr Morgan’s murder, the panel’s chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said.

Mr Morgan, who has ties to Powys, was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10, 1987.

Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation. The Met owes Mr Morgan’s family, and the public, an apology for not confronting its systemic failings and those of individual officers, the report said.

In a statement through their lawyer, the family of Mr Morgan said: “We welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.”

Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair said their mother “never stopped fighting” to seek justice for her son but died without seeing anyone convicted for his death. Isobel Hulsmann, who lived in Hay-on-Wye, campaigned to uncover the truth about her son's murder, but died after a short battle with cancer in 2017, aged 89.

In 2012, a memorial to the murdered private detective was placed in Glasbury church yard to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

His grave is in London, but his mother wanted a memorial closer to her Powys home. Mr Morgan’s sister Jane Royds lives in Glasbury.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the Morgan case as “one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the Metropolitan Police”.

The independent panel’s report, which runs to more than 1,200 pages, expressed concern that within the Met “a culture still exists that inhibits both organisational and individual accountability”.

“The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his family justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional competence, individuals’ venal behaviour and managerial and organisational failures.

“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.

“Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

The initial investigation into Mr Morgan’s death was heavily criticised, with the murder scene not searched and left unguarded, and no alibis sought for all the suspects. A later probe by Hampshire Police, brought in to investigate amid fears of corruption, was compromised when a senior Met officer was appointed to work with the team.

Current Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, was criticised for her refusal to allow the panel team access to the HOLMES police data system.

Alastair Morgan said Ms Dick should “absolutely” be considering her position in light of the report.

The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added: “You heard from the panel that the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense.

“The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.”

She also said there were questions the about the ability of the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog to hold police to account.

The Met said in a brief statement: “We deeply regret our failure to bring those who murdered Daniel Morgan to justice.”

It said it was considering the report and would “respond in more detail” later on Tuesday.