A WELSH private detective was murdered because he was about to expose crooked cops involved in a conspiracy to flood Britain with cocaine, police have told Wales on Sunday.
The Scotland Yard revelation means that for the first time in their 19-year inquiry, officers have uncovered a motive for the killing.
The butchered body of Daniel Morgan - who was brought up in Llanfrechfa, Gwent, and went to agricultural college in Monmouthshire - was found in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, South London, on March 10, 1987.
Embedded in the 37-year-old's skull was a cheap Chinese-made Diamond brand axe. It was wrapped in masking tape so the killer's fingerprints would not be left behind.
Leading the hunt, Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook said: "We believe he was killed because he was about to expose a conspiracy to supply drugs, a criminal conspiracy involving a large amount of drugs.
"We think it was cocaine. We know that it was potentially a large scale drug distribution network that he was going to expose and he was killed because of that.
"We believe there was a link to police corruption. Mr Morgan's death was the obvious way to reduce the risk of it being exposed.
"In the past we never really had a motive. Every day brings us new information. We have a number of suspects.
"But I am going to take my time and get this done properly.
"The people who have done this know they are responsible because they were there, and they know I know who they are."
In October, Mr Morgan's classic 1950s open top Austin Healey sports car was found in a London lock-up. And in August two men were arrested in connection with the case. A third was arrested in September. The men, who have not been charged, were released on police bail. A number of witnesses have come forward with new evidence since a televised appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme last month.
The new development has been welcomed by Mr Morgan's family, who have always claimed he was murdered after discovering evidence of police corruption.
Mr Morgan's 78-year-old mum Isobel Hulsmann, who lives in Hay-on-Wye, has travelled back and forth to London hundreds of times in her bid to see justice done, despite suffering a heart condition.
She said: "I am very keen to get this tied up, I think it's time. I so badly want closure on this. It has been devastating. Sometimes I feel as though it happened yesterday, because there has never been any resolution to it.
"This investigation team is doing its very best. I'm hoping charges are brought and there will be a trial.
" Mr Morgan's brother, Alastair, who lives in Islington, North London, added: "All I'm waiting for is for people to be charged, for the police to get sufficient evidence and charge people with his murder. We are optimistic, we have to be."
Brecon and Radnorshire MP Roger Williams, who has campaigned with the family, said: "The more public this matter is, the more likely a conviction.
"I have real admiration for Daniel Morgan's mother and brother who have not let the case slip even though they have been very badly served in the past by the police.
"I am pleased that Det Chief Supt Dave Cook is now leading the hunt. He is a man of great energy and entirely untouched by the corruption that was endemic in the Metropolitan Police force at the time of the murder.
"The exposure of a new motive for the murder involving drug supply and police corruption will bring many new leads. It is quite clear that the criminal fraternity are breaking ranks and bringing new information to the police and I'm sure that we are now better placed to gain a conviction."