Stephen Port inquest: Police failures blamed for serial killer striking again

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The long-awaited inquest into the deaths of the victims of Stephen Port (pictured) is underwa
The long-awaited inquest into the deaths of the victims of Stephen Port (pictured) is underway

Police failings probably contributed to the deaths of serial killer Stephen Port’s victims, jurors found.

Gabriel Kovari, a 22-year-old Slovakian national and Daniel Whitworth, a 21-year-old chef, were killed by Port.

Mr Kovari was the second victim of the murderer who was labelled the ‘Grindr killer’ after he raped multiple victims as well as drugging them.

Inquest jurors found local borough officers did not conduct background checks on Port and that there were omissions or failures in the original Walgate investigation.

Gabriel Kovari was the second victim of the murderer who was labelled the ‘Grindr killer’
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Image:

PA)

They also cited omissions and or failures in the Specialist Crime and Operations teams, who lead the homicide investigations.

Jurors acknowledge the officers were under pressure and had a heavy workload, but said there were “failings that cannot be overlooked” which allowed for missed opportunities and enabled Port to continue his offending.

They said the Murder Investigation Team missed the opportunity to take over the case, which “may have led to the earlier capture of the male responsible”.

Stephen Port was jailed for life in 2016 after being convicted of four drug-related murders of young, gay men carried out over a 16-month period.

Daniel Whitworth, 21, was killed by Port
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PA)

His neighbour, Ryan Edwards, said drug-rape killer Port spent time with “vulnerable” boys to such an extent that he considered the softly-spoken chef might have “paedophile tendencies”.

But Mr Edwards said he was reassured by the predator that his interest in young males was legal, and that the drug paraphernalia around his flat was for personal use only.

Port, now 46, was jailed after he was found to have plied four young, gay men with fatal doses of the drug GHB, as well carried out a number of rapes.

The body of his first victim, 23-year-old Anthony Walgate, is thought to have potentially lay propped up against a wall for more than a day before being found.

Stephen Port targeted vulnerable men before drugging them
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Image:

SWNS.com)

Inquests into the four deaths in Barking, east London, which are being held yards from where Port lived and dumped his victims’ bodies, are examining whether police actions could have stopped the 6ft 5in serial killer earlier.

Mr Edwards told inquest jurors he struck up a friendship with Port due to them being neighbours.

They had also both been members of Barking’s LGBT community, Mr Edwards said.

He said their friendship was strictly platonic, and that Port would frequently invite him over to meet his new partner, something which occasionally gave Mr Edwards cause for concern.

“My slight concern with Stephen Port was sometimes the guys he would introduce me to were very young – 16, 17 sometimes, very close to the age of consent,” he told the inquest jury.

“Often there were difficult circumstances, broken homes, needing somewhere to stay, vulnerable.

“I was wondering if he was bordering on paedophile tendencies, but I didn’t have any evidence.”



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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