Stephen Port victim inquests are ‘key step’ in families’ quest for answers

Stephen Port victim inquests are ‘key step’ in families’ quest for answers
Serial killer and rapist Port is serving life in prison

Inquests into the deaths of four gay men drugged and murdered by serial killer and rapist Stephen Port mark a key step in the families “quest for accountability”, their lawyer has said.

A coroner will on Monday begin examining the deaths of 25-year-old Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21.

They were murdered by Port, 46, between June 2014 and September 2015. He met them through dating apps such as Grindr, lured them to his flat in Barking, east London, before poisoning them with lethal doses of GBH, a date rape drug.

In 2016, Port, described by a judge as “wicked and monstrous”, was found guilty of all four murders and sentenced to life in prison.

He was also convicted of a string of sex offences and is likely to die in jail.

Since Port’s convictions, the victims’ families have continued to campaign for answers as to why Port was not stopped sooner.

The Met Police was accused of a series of failings in the case, which they denied.

On Monday, their lawyer Neil Hudgell, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “It has been seven years and three months since Anthony Walgate was murdered; seven years and one month since Gabriel Kovari was murdered; just over seven years since Daniel Whitworth was murdered; and just over six years since Jack Taylor was murdered.

“Their families have felt every single day of their absence. “They have waited with great patience and conducted themselves with real dignity.”

He added: “Yet, they’ve always wondered about whether there would have been a different outcome if the police had investigated Port properly and taken their concerns seriously, and if their boys hadn’t been gay.

“For them, the inquests mark a key step in their quest for accountability.”

On Friday, Sarah Munro, assistant coroner for the East London area, told jurors to focus on the evidence in court as they were sworn in to hear the inquests.

She told them: “On Tuesday … we will commence hearing inquests into the deaths of four young men who were murdered by a man called Stephen Port in 2014 and 2015.

“They were killed by him with overdoses of a date rape drug called GHB and their bodies were discarded by him yards from where we are sitting now.”

The inquests, which were postponed due to the pandemic, are expected to go on for up to 10 weeks.

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