The aftermath of the serial killer who hunted on gay hook-up apps
In 2016, East London resident Stephen Port was sentenced to life imprisonment following his conviction for murdering four young men. The murders were committed between June 2015 and September 2015.
The victims were – Anthony Walgate, 23, originally from Hull. Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham. Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent. Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, East London.
The killer met his victims online, using hook-up apps, before luring them to his flat where they were drugged and raped. The cause of death in each of the four victims was a fatal overdose of the drug GHB.
Evidence presented at the trial of the killer suggested that the police had opportunities to apprehend him sooner than they did, and that some of the victims may still be alive if the police had conducted a more thorough investigation. The case was eventually solved after being passed from local teams in Barking and Dagenham to specialist homicide detectives.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – the body that oversees police actions and imposes disciplinary action where appropriate – has now investigated the case and its findings have now been released.
The BBC reports that none of the 17 police officers investigated for potential misconduct in the initial response to the murders will be disciplined. But the IOPC confirmed that its inquiry had identified systemic failings within the Metropolitan Police, identifying nine officers that will be required to improve their standards because they ignored or dismissed evidence that linked the four murders.
As part of the investigation and inquest process, the families of the victims have given an undertaking not to comment. An inquest into the deaths of the four victims is still to be completed, however a start-date for the inquest has not yet been set.