A DETECTIVE investigating the murder of Welsh private eye Daniel Morgan was put under witness protection when it emerged he was being spied on by the News of the World, we can reveal.
As previously reported in Wales on Sunday, the unsolved 1987 killing of Morgan, who was found with an axe in his head in a London pub car park, has become embroiled in the hackgate scandal.
Sources within the Met have accused the now defunct paper of trying to derail the case when it started watching the lead investigator in the case, Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook, in 2002.
Only last week, MP Tom Watson called for the case to form part of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking after it was claimed Morgan was on the verge of contacting a paper – thought to be the News of the World – about police corruption at the time of his death.
Now Mr Cook’s wife Jacqui Hames has revealed the couple were put into a witness protection programme.
The former Crimewatch presenter, who lives in Surrey, said: “David started going late to work and taking the children to school and to nursery, and being more aware of what was going on than perhaps he would have been normally.
“When you start seeing vans around the house it raises awareness and is quite scary which is why the Met took it very seriously and put us under the umbrella of the witness protection department.
“They looked after us and put security around the house.” CCTV and alarms were fitted.
Jacqui added: “We had two officers allocated to us who kept in touch and we reported incidents to them.”
Once she called them after spotting a van at the end of her drive. A camera lens was sticking out the window.
“I’m a police officer myself on a career break,” she said.
“This was very much a car crash between my personal and professional life.” After police realised Dave Cook was being watched by the News of the World they hauled in editor Rebekah Brooks – then Rebekah Wade – to confront her.
She was told one of her senior journalists had been using photographers and vans leased to the paper to run surveillance on Cook.
The paper was said to have claimed it was investigating whether Mr Cook was having an affair with Jacqui, his Crimewatch co-presenter, even though they were actually married at the time.
Jacqui said: “We were put under witness protection for some months.
“Dave was involved right through in that inquiry, until March this year so the threat never really went away.
“You [know you are] aware of some things. But other things you’re not. It is quite difficult to say when it has stopped, because it has not really.”
This summer Jacqui and Dave were contacted by officers from Operation Weeting after their details were found in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire – the private detective jailed for six months after pleading guilty to phone hacking in 2007.
She said: “He had my mobile phone number, a lot of personnel details which had clearly come from a personnel file, which someone in the Met would have had to have given him.
“It’s really very distressing and I would like to know what was done with all this information.”
MP Tom Watson is now pressing for the case to form part of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking.
Questions have been raised about the News of the World’s links to the case because Mr Morgan, 37, from Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, had worked with private detective Jonathan Rees.
Rees – one of five suspects in the 1987 killing of Mr Morgan before he was acquitted when a trial collapsed earlier this year – is alleged to have had links with the paper and been paid for stories, despite having served a seven-year sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Daniel Morgan’s brother Alistair, a 62-year-old translator, admitted the case “has driven me mad and I have often lost the will to live”.
He added: “I haven’t got justice for Daniel.
“That was what I set out to do. It was one of two goals – to expose the police for corruption and get justice for my brother.
“I don’t think Daniel’s killers will ever be caught now.”