Islington Tribune - by DAVID ST GEORGE Published: 24 October 2008
Confession 19 years after car park killing
A “CAREER criminal” has confessed to plotting the murder of a private detective 21 years ago. Former sailor Gary Smith, 48, was “involved in crimes of the utmost gravity,” said Judge Gerald Gordon at the Old Bailey.
Since the savage killing of father-of-two Daniel Morgan, 37, his brother Alastair, 59, from Old Street, has been campaigning for justice.
Police knew nothing about Smith’s participation in criminal activity until he confessed two years ago after reading a newspaper appeal about the murder.
He made a series of statements and agreed “to give evidence against others”, Judge Gordon added.
Sarah Forshaw, QC, defending, said Smith put his life on the line to “clear his conscience”. “He had nothing to gain and everything to lose,” she told the court.
Smith admitted conspiracy to murder in relation to the axe killing of Mr Morgan, who was attacked in the car park of a pub in Sydenham, south-east London, in March 1987.
He also admitted 50 offences, including theft, burglary, having firearms, drugs supply and money laundering.
Judge Gordon said the case was “unique” and that Smith had earned a 25-year deduction in sentence because he had agreed to help the authorities.
He jailed Smith for three years and told him he would only serve half before being given parole.
Mr Morgan, who lived with his family in Dulwich, helped run a private eye agency in south London.