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Fresh appeal to identify killer of DC thirty years after he was murdered

SIO says social media and advances in forensic science could identify killer of officer working off duty

A murder inquiry into a DC who was stabbed to death while chasing a suspected bag thief through Covent Garden, central London 30 years ago, is still open and the SIO says the team are hopeful of a breakthrough.   

A £30,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of the killer of Detective Constable James Morrison, known as Jim, has been made available.

The 26-year-old Glasgow-born officer was fatally stabbed while working off-duty in Covent Garden, central London, at around 10pm on Friday December 13 by a man police have described as of North African appearance.

Met Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves said she still believes the case can be solved. “Every year we make some progress in the investigation and we will never give up, but we still lack that vital breakthrough in the case,” she said.

“I believe that there are people who do have information and with their help we have the ability today to bring the answers that Jim’s family still need.”

DCI Reeves added she feels “optimistic” that the breakthrough could come using recent developments in forensic science, and the growth in the use of social media.

Dave Willis, a close friend and colleague of DC Morrison, and the detective who was assigned his case on the original investigation in 1991, said the incident has stayed with him his whole life.

“I started at Bow Street as a detective when he was already working there,” he said.

“He very quickly took me under his wing, showed me his patch, and I very quickly learned what a good police officer he was, what a professional, caring police officer he was.”

Mr Willis appealed to the North African community to come forward with any information they might have “to end the misery for the family and Jim’s colleagues and friends”.

On the night he died, DC Morrison had been off duty and wearing plain clothes when he saw the suspect holding a briefcase outside the London Transport Museum.

He challenged the suspect at around 10pm, and they threatened him with a knife before bolting.

Mr Morrison cast off his overcoat and jacket to chase the suspect to India Place in Aldwych, where the man stabbed him.

He was taken to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No weapon has ever been recovered, and police have described the killer as a man of North African appearance who was at the time aged between 27 and 30.

One witness has described seeing Mr Morrison pin the suspect to the door of the Transport Museum while holding a makeup bag seized from them in one hand, while several others saw the moment he was fatally stabbed.

The following day, Met Police officers recovered DC Morrison’s coat and jacket, along with the makeup bag he was holding and the briefcase which had been held by the killer.

They discovered the briefcase had been stolen from the Blue Post public house on Tottenham Court Road at around 9.30pm, and it contained items belonging to another victim of theft.

Police believe several criminals had been working together to steal items from pubs in the vicinity on the night Mr Morrison died.

The officer, who served in the Met from June 1983 until he died, has been posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and highly commended for his bravery and devotion to duty.

Speaking at Scotland Yard three decades on, DC Morrison’s widow Victoria, 55, told the PA news agency the incident “still feels like last week”.

She said: “There isn’t any closure.

“The whole family struggles knowing that somebody is potentially still out there that has got away with it.

“That’s quite hard, and especially because of Jim’s personality I know that he would continue to pursue an investigation until it was solved.

“I would like it solved so that we have some closure.”

Mrs Morrison described her late husband as “a very charismatic, enthusiastic and determined person” who “loved his family” and his job.

Mr Morrison’s brother, Donald, 55, said he feels like he will never get closure.

He told PA: “We were very close. He was 15 months older than myself.

“He was my best mate, my best pal.

“He’s missed my kids growing up, missed his nephews and nieces.”

Mr Morrison added: “There will never be closure, even if we get this guy.

“There’s always going to be this big hole there that’s never going to be filled.”

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