Detective Constable James Morrison was 26 when he was stabbed to death trying to arrest a suspected bag snatcher in London’s West End in 1991.

His murder remains unsolved but the Metropolitan Police is still investigating the case in a bid to finally bring the killer to justice.

Rewards totalling £50,000 have been offered for information leading to a prosecution.

Jim’s death for me and the family was completely devastating. I was 24-years-old and in the first few years of marriage. I was suddenly widowed and my whole life was turned upside down. It has been very traumatic for me and for Jim’s family. Even 20 years on, it is still very, very hard. I appeal to anyone who has information that could help solve Jim’s murder to please come forward and help us to achieve justice for Jim’s family and friends.

The officer’s widow Victoria Morrison, speaking in 2011

DC Morrison was born in Glasgow and joined the Metropolitan Police at the age of 18 in June 1983, serving at Bow Street Police station.

In 1988 he married Victoria and moved to the Criminal Investigation Department where colleagues remembered him for his “dedication to duty and flair for dealing with street crime.”

James and Victoria Morrison on their wedding day

His best friend Colin Geddes said: “Jim and I met at Bow Street Station early in our service. We were best men at each other’s weddings. He was a fun man to be around and I had a lot of respect for him as a colleague.

“Jim had an insatiable appetite for his police work – his dedication to the job was second to none – and he always put in that added extra for the community that he lived and served in.

“His death has left a tremendous gap in the lives of those who knew and worked with him. He is hugely missed.”

On the evening Friday 13 December 1991, DC Morrison was off-duty when he visited the Nell Gwynne pub in Bull Inn Court near the Strand at around 8pm.

At that time police were aware of a group of at least three bag snatchers working in the area to steal women’s’ purses and handbags. That night a handbag had been stolen from the Maple Leaf pub in Maiden Lane.

DC Morrison was heading home when he spotted a suspected thief and challenged him outside the London Transport Museum shortly after 10pm. The thief pulled out a knife and ran off.

Unwilling to give up, DC Morrison discarded his coat and chased the suspect through Tavistock Street, the Aldwych and into Montreal Place, where he was stabbed at around 10.15pm.

DC Morrison was pronounced dead after being taken to St Bart’s Hospital. The weapon has never been recovered.

James Morrison

Jim Morrison was a talented and dedicated officer who lived and worked in the borough of Westminster. Jim was inspirational; he had an insatiable appetite for police work and his dedication to the job was second to none. Jim always put in that bit extra to assist the community in which he both lived and worked.

Over the years, officers have remained dogged in doing everything in their power to secure justice for Jim. Despite the passage of time, I believe there are people who still hold vital information about who is responsible for this murder.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, speaking on the 30th anniversary in 2021

The suspect was described as being 5ft 10 inches tall, aged 27 to 30 at the time of the offence. He is believed to be of North African/Algerian origin, clean shaven, average build with dark collar length hair, with distinctive tight curls at the front. He was wearing a waist-length brown leather jacket.

Police followed leads in Germany, Belgium, Canada, France and Ireland but have so far been unable to make a breakthrough in the case.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves said: “I think that the key to identifying his killer will be through continued help and information from the community, particularly the North African community, living and working in London’s West End in 1991.

“DC Morrison died trying to protect the public from a violent offender who was committing crime in the West End.

“He was off duty, unarmed, on his own and in plain clothes. With no regard for his own personal safety he chased the offender through the streets in order to arrest him. Members of the public tried to help him by blocking the offender’s path. His bravery and dedication to duty tragically resulted in him losing his life.

“Every year that goes by we make progress, but we are still short of the evidence that will signal a breakthrough in this case. I believe there are people who still hold vital information about who is responsible for DC Morrison’s murder.

“I want to hear from anyone with information about the suspect or about the group he was part of. The answers Jim’s family need could lie with someone who lived in London in 1991, but is now abroad. They may not know that we are still investigating, but we never give up. Thirty years on we are still investigating and will not give up the search for justice.

“If you witnessed or heard anything that could help us identify the man responsible for Jim’s murder, wherever you are in the world, come forward and speak to us. It’s not too late.’”

Contact police on 020 8785 8267 or  provide information over the internet by following this link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0101020107V95-PO1. To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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