Widow of detective murdered in 1991 has no closure while killer unidentified

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The widow of a detective who was murdered 30 years ago has said she has no closure while his killer remains on the loose.

Detective Constable James Morrison, known as Jim, was murdered while chasing a suspected bag thief in 1991, and the Met has offered a £30,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of his killer.

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.

Speaking at Scotland Yard three decades on, his widow Victoria Morrison, 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.”

Victoria Morrison, the widow of Detective Constable Jim Morrison (Nick Ansell/PA)
Victoria Morrison, the widow of Detective Constable Jim Morrison (Nick Ansell/PA)

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.”

A memorial service to mark the 30th anniversary of his death was held at the Indian High Commission in London on Monday.

As well as Mr Morrison’s loved ones, it was attended by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and the officers working on the latest investigation into his death.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (second right), and Victoria Morrison (centre), Jim Morrison’s widow, during the memorial on Monday
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (second right), and Victoria Morrison (centre), Jim Morrison’s widow, during the memorial on Monday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves, who is leading the investigation, said she still believes the case can be solved and urged anyone with information to come forward.

“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.”

Ms 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 Mr 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, Mr Morrison had been off duty and wearing plain clothes when he saw the suspect holding a briefcase outside the London Transport Museum.

Detective Constable Jim Morrison (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Detective Constable Jim Morrison (Metropolitan Police/PA)

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 Mr 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.

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