Finally the gutter press start connecting the dots 'Adams, Holmes and Noye were all leading freemasons'
FULL ARTICLE HERE
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'Bent cops' and a growing stench of corruption: The disturbing links between suspect officers and the gangster father of one of Stephen's killers
Over recent weeks, the Mail has published two investigations into the rampant corruption in Scotland Yard’s detective force in the Eighties and Nineties.
We raised the question of whether links between ‘bent coppers’ and serious organised criminals in South London might have hampered or sabotaged two of the Metropolitan Police’s most important murder investigations of recent years.
Black teenager Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death by a racist white gang in April 1993.
Not until 2012 were two of his killers convicted, and then only after a campaign led by this newspaper to bring them to justice, in the face of what was described in a major inquiry as ‘institutional racism’ at the Met.
Daniel Morgan and Stephen Lawrence
Private investigator Daniel Morgan had been murdered with an axe in March 1987, allegedly as he was trying to blow the whistle on police corruption.
Both his business partner — who had close contacts in the local CID — and a Met detective were arrested in connection with the killing. But no one has yet been convicted, in spite of five police investigations and admissions by the Met that corruption played a part in those failings.
A former senior officer, involved in the anti-corruption investigations in the 1990s, said: ‘We believed corrupt police officers obstructed the quest for justice for Daniel’s murder. It must be the most shameful chapter in Scotland Yard history, made worse by the fact that no one has been brought to justice.’
A recent review by Mark Ellison QC into corruption in the Lawrence investigation revealed an overlap of suspected corrupt police personnel in both these murder inquiries.
To fuel suspicion of a cover-up of corruption in the South London force, it emerged last month that a ‘lorry-load’ of documents compiled by a secret anti-corruption ‘ghost squad’ at the Met were shredded a decade ago. Why, and on whose orders?
We can reveal today that such was the distrust within the Met that the security service — MI5 — was called in to run an investigation completely separate from that already being pursued by the ‘ghost squad’ of detectives.
Sources said that only a handful of very senior police officers knew about the existence of this Home-Office-funded MI5 unit, which was based outside London. One reason for its establishment was to guard against the possibility that the Met’s own anti-corruption team had itself been compromised.
Today, we set out further details of the suspected network of police corruption that dogged the Lawrence and Morgan murders, and reveal the first admission of wrongdoing by one of the bent coppers at its heart.
THE ‘OBNOXIOUS JOCK’
The nexus of corruption focused on a detective sergeant named John Davidson, known as OJ or ‘Obnoxious Jock’. Davidson played a major role in the early stages of the Lawrence investigation — interviewing suspects, witnesses and informants — and, as the Mail showed last month, he was actively linked to the Daniel Morgan case team.
Davidson was criticised by the 1999 Macpherson Inquiry report on the Lawrence investigation — which failed to find conclusive evidence of corruption — for being abrasive, incompetent and giving ‘unsatisfactory’ evidence.
Sir William Macpherson said the officer had only himself to blame if he and certain colleagues were perceived as being ‘institutionally racist’.
But the Inquiry was not told about allegations of serious corruption that had already been placed against Davidson by a corrupt officer who turned supergrass, nor other similarly serious disciplinary matters which had seen Davidson suspended from duty in 1996. The recent Ellison Review described this as a ‘significant failure’.
The same supergrass also claimed in 2006 that Davidson had confessed to a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the powerful South London gangster whose son David was one of the killers of Stephen Lawrence.
Davidson, who denies any wrong-doing, was described in police intelligence reports as having ‘no integrity as a police officer and . . . always . . . open to offers from any source if financially viable’.
He was also viewed as ‘a valuable commodity among the criminal community’ — essentially suggesting he was somebody they could do business with.
These damning assessments were not put before the Macpherson Inquiry.
It follows therefore, that we must now re-examine the evidence presented before Macpherson in the light of the recent revelation that a lot of what was known about South London police corruption at the time was suppressed — and eventually shredded.
THE HIGH-LIVING COMMANDER
Commander Ray Adams always cut an enigmatic figure in the South London force. One secret intelligence report described him as having had a ‘meteoric rise through the ranks’, working in ‘some of the most sensitive posts within policing.
His levels of access to confidential material would have been second to none.’
Yet rumour and sometimes formal allegations of serious wrongdoing dogged Adams throughout his career.
He was the subject of two major corruption allegations and ‘11 other complaints between 1965 and 1985’. None of them stuck, but questions were still asked.
How, for example, could he afford in 1987 to live in a £450,000 mock Tudor mansion in a ‘millionaires’ row’ beside a Surrey golf course, as well as having a holiday home? (He argued it was the benefit of having an independently wealthy wife.)
At that time, internal investigators were exploring Commander Adams’s links to Kenneth Noye — a gangland figure who had been jailed for his involvement in the £75 million Brink’s-MAT gold bullion robbery in 1983, and is now serving a life sentence for an infamous road rage attack on the M25.
Adams described Noye as one of his informants. As part of this inquiry, the anti-corruption squad twice interviewed Adams’s friend and colleague, Detective Constable Alan ‘Taffy’ Holmes, who, it was suggested, had corrupt links to Noye. Adams, Holmes and Noye were all leading freemasons.
Holmes, you might be interested to learn, was also a colleague and ‘drinking buddy’ of the ‘Obnoxious Jock’ John Davidson.
Under pressure from the inquiry, Taffy Holmes began to crack.
Armed with a shotgun, he went to the house of a police colleague he suspected of secretly taping him as part of the anti-corruption investigation into Ray Adams. His intention was to kill, but when he arrived his target was not there.
In the end, it was Holmes who was the one to die, apparently by his own hand. On July 28, 1987, he was found by his wife in the back garden of their South London home with a fatal shotgun wound.
He had left a suicide note in which he blamed the colleague for driving him to his death.
Giving evidence at the inquest, DS John Davidson said Holmes had been ‘worried by events to do with the police but outside his normal work’. What could he have meant?
But were such worries — if they existed — the only factor?
A senior anti-corruption squad source told us: ‘Holmes mixed in very bad circles. The witness list for his inquest was of great interest to the [anti-corruption] ghost squad in the 1990s.’
Four months before Holmes’s death, private investigator Daniel Morgan had been found dead with an axe embedded in his skull in a pub car park in Sydenham, South London.
Intriguingly, several sources say that Morgan and Taffy Holmes were friends, and might have swapped intelligence.
Today, Morgan’s brother Alastair says that the pair were seen in a pub together by the same policeman whom Holmes accused of ‘grassing’ on him to the anti-corruption squad. ‘He saw them together, no doubt,’ he says simply.
So it seems that Taffy Holmes — friend, colleague and golfing partner of the larger-than-life Commander Ray Adams — was also a confederate of the murdered investigator.
What story could Holmes tell if he were alive today?
As for Ray Adams, in 1990 the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that there was no evidence to support any charge against him regarding corruption allegations, and he did not face any subsequent disciplinary action.
THE EXPOSURE OF ‘SERGEANT XX’
Both the Macpherson Inquiry and the recent Ellison Review into the Lawrence investigation examined evidence about an anonymous policeman, ‘Sergeant XX’, who, it was alleged, had been a link between Lawrence investigating officers and organised criminals.
Today, we can reveal that the identity of the officer in question is David Coles, a former Flying Squad detective sergeant.
As we will show, a police briefing note on the corruption scandal explicitly links both Coles and ‘Obnoxious Jock’ John Davidson to Commander Ray Adams.
In 1988, undercover Customs and Excise investigators reported to the Met that on four occasions they had seen DS Coles meeting the gangster Clifford Norris or his brother in South London pubs. Packages were exchanged and Coles was observed using a calculator.
At that point, the Met launched an inquiry which led to disciplinary proceedings against Coles, but only for making unconnected false entries to his duty log book during the period he was associating with Clifford Norris.
Coles was required to resign by the Met’s Disciplinary Board. But he appealed and was allowed to continue his service at the reduced rank of detective constable, remaining in the South London CID.
He was only ‘warned’ and never formally disciplined over his ‘plainly highly suspect’ — Sir William Macpherson’s words — meetings with Clifford Norris, whom Coles claimed to be cultivating as an ‘informant’.
Police records suggest that: ‘At some stage during his discipline and appeal process, Sgt XX (Coles) was seconded by Commander Ray Adams to perform a review of surveillance operations.’ If so, this was against the express advice of another senior officer who recommended that Coles be assigned to duties that were not ‘of a delicate and confidential nature’.
For his part, Adams told the Macpherson Inquiry that he had never heard of Coles.
Mark Ellison QC found Adams’s claim about Coles worthy of comment. In his review, he stated: ‘Were there to be clear evidence that this was a lie, it is also fair to say that the whole of Mr Adams’s evidence to the Macpherson Inquiry may need to be re-evaluated in that light, as Officer XX [Coles] was the one officer shown to the Inquiry’s satisfaction to have . . . corrupt connections with Clifford Norris.’
The information about Commander Adams’s alleged role in reassigning Coles comes from three secret intelligence analyses compiled by the Met’s Racial and Violent Crime Task Force and the Complaints Investigation Board, during 1999 and 2000, undertaken amid fears that corruption had played a part in shielding the Lawrence killers.
The trouble is that much of the relevant intelligence material gathered at that point was not only not made available to the Macpherson Inquiry, it was possibly not even seen in its entirety by the Met’s own corruption analysts in the months that followed.
This was astounding given what allegations the 1999-2000 analyses did contain. One conclusion was that ‘Clifford Norris was a corruptor of police officers and an intimidator of witnesses’.
Intelligence also suggested that ‘[Coles] may be regarded as Norris’s agent inside the Service’. A possible link from Clifford Norris to DS John Davidson apparently existed through Coles, via another suspected corrupt police colleague. This ‘does not appear to have been followed up and so remains . . . a possible further line of inquiry’, said Ellison.
A further section of the secret analyses stated: ‘It must be accepted that [Coles] undoubtedly had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris.’
And it added: ‘[Coles] is connected with the following suspected corrupt serving and former officers . . . Ray Adams.’ Later in the same briefing note, it was stated: ‘Davidson is connected with the following suspected corrupt serving and former officers ... Ray Adams.’
The third and final analysis report identified ‘the principal causes of concern’ in relation to possible Lawrence corruption as Clifford Norris and the following three officers: Adams, Coles and Davidson. But not enough evidence could be gathered to turn these suspicions into prosecutions.
Nor was there evidence at hand to link Davidson with Clifford Norris or Coles during the period of the first Lawrence murder investigation. The Ellison Review, meanwhile, also found no evidence providing any reasonable grounds for suspecting Ray Adams acted corruptly in the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.
This week, we tracked down David Coles, who is now working as a railway ticket inspector in Dorset.
When asked about his association with Clifford Norris, Mr Coles said: ‘I was young and naïve and I probably did things which I would have done differently had I been older.
‘Yes, I knew Clifford Norris and yes, I dealt with him at the time. But back then he wasn’t on the run for anything. So the contact I had with him was legitimate.’
Mr Coles did not deny still being in contact with Clifford Norris at the time when Norris’s son David killed Stephen Lawrence: ‘Well, yes, he was still around then. But I wasn’t connected in any way to the [Stephen Lawrence] murder investigation.’
He denied the allegation that he knew DS John Davidson, and added: ‘This whole episode has cost me a job I loved. I know you won’t believe me, but you are barking up the wrong tree. This is never going to go away.’
In the light of the partial admission that Coles was in contact with Clifford Norris at the time Stephen died, it is astonishing to discover that, three years later, during the 1996 Old Bailey trial of three of the five Lawrence suspects, Coles was one of the officers assigned to guard chief prosecution witness Duwayne Brooks, Stephen’s friend who was with him when he was stabbed.
The case collapsed when Mr Brooks’s eyewitness accounts were deemed unreliable.
Macpherson later commented of Coles: ‘Anybody who had known about (his) past . . . (would) have regarded him as a wholly inappropriate person to guard Mr Brooks.’
Even though he was mired in corruption allegations, Coles was allowed to retire on medical grounds, with an enhanced pension.
THE LAWRENCE LETTER
So we have established links between gangster Clifford Norris, father of one of the Lawrence killers, and David Coles, the disgraced ‘Sergeant XX’.
We have aired the allegations that through other suspected corrupt colleagues, Lawrence investigator John Davidson — ‘Obnoxious Jock’ — was also linked to Norris.
We have also examined the police briefing note linking Coles and Davidson to Commander Ray Adams.
So was Ray Adams himself connected in some way to the Lawrence investigations?
On April 30, 1993 — a week after Stephen’s murder — Adams’s name appeared at the bottom of a letter to the dead teenager’s family.
The letter concerned liaison between police and the family. Sir William Macpherson found ‘strange features’ in Adams’s evidence to his Inquiry, but accepted his story that his intervention was routine administration.
The Lawrence family lawyers did not. They claimed the purpose of Adams’s intervention was to influence the investigation ‘so that the suspects named over the first weekend were not arrested . . . a potential channel for such influence arises from Commander Adams’s previous links with Kenneth Noye who in turn has links to (Clifford) Norris’.
Within two weeks of the letter being sent, Adams signed off long-term sick with ‘an unidentified fracture of the spine’.
In August 1993, he retired from the police on medical grounds, with an enhanced pension, as would John Davidson and David Coles.
Neither Macpherson nor Ellison could find evidence of corruption on Adams’s part, and none of the many allegations against him have been substantiated.
But it should be noted that while the contents of Adams’s ‘voluminous’ complaints file were not disclosed to the Macpherson Inquiry, the review by Mark Ellison QC suggested that might not be the case if a new inquiry was to be ordered.
Adams still lives in a very large house and still denies any wrongdoing.
Mark Ellison himself admitted in his report that despite his own efforts there were ‘serious questions as to what . . . of relevance . . . remains undisclosed’.
Today, the families of Stephen Lawrence and Daniel Morgan insist that only a major new investigation can establish the truth about how much a web of police corruption prevented their murderers from being swiftly brought to justice.
As Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe indicated last week during a hesitant appearance before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, his own force is in no position to provide it.