Stephen Port: police failings ‘probably’ contributed to deaths of serial killer’s victims - says inquest

Officers missed repeated opportunities to catch the sexual predator after he killed his first victim

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Failings by the Met Police “probably” contributed to the deaths of Stephen Port’s victims, an inquest jury has found.

Officers missed repeated opportunities to catch sexual predator Port after he killed first victim Anthony Walgate - who he plied with a fatal dose of date-rape drug GHB.

The killer went on to murder three more times before he was caught.

He killed each of his young, gay, male victims in near-identical circumstances, with police failing to link him to the deaths despite detective work carried out by the victims’ family and friends that would lead them to the culprit.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Jurors at the inquests into the four men - Mr Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25 - concluded that police failings “probably” contributed to their deaths.
  • In written conclusions, the jury acknowledged officers’ “heavy workload” but said there were failures that “cannot be overlooked”.
  • Helen Ball, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said the findings of the inquest jury was “devastating”.
  • Ms Ball said she and Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick have offered to meet personally with the victims’ loved ones to hear the concerns.
  • However, the Met Police is now facing legal action over its bungled investigations into the deaths - with civil claims lodged by the victims’ relatives against the force.

What’s been said

Stephen Port (right) killed four men (from top left clockwise) Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth, Gabriel Kovari and Anthony WalgateStephen Port (right) killed four men (from top left clockwise) Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth, Gabriel Kovari and Anthony Walgate
Stephen Port (right) killed four men (from top left clockwise) Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth, Gabriel Kovari and Anthony Walgate

The coroner, Sarah Munro QC, said she would write a prevention of future deaths report, to be published in the new year, adding: “These inquests, on any view, have raised a number of serious concerns.”

Addressing the victims’ loved ones at the end of the 50-minute hearing, the coroner added: “May I also express the hope that you have finally been listened to, and you have the answers to, if not all then, some of your questions.”

Ms Ball said: “We have been working to rebuild trust in the Met for some time – we completely accept people’s trust in us has been damaged by a number of recent events.

“What has happened in connection with each of the deaths of these four young men is part of that damage, and we know has a particular impact in communities local to Barking and LGBT+ communities across London.

“It is very important now to show that we are trustworthy, that we care, that we have changed, and that we are learning.”


The findings followed weeks of hearings at Barking Town Hall in which police admitted failing to carry out basic checks, send evidence to be forensically examined, and exercise professional curiosity during the 16-month killing spree, from June 2014 to September 2015.

Port, 46, a bus depot chef, will die in prison after being handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey for the murders and a string of sex assaults.

Since the inquests began, a new alleged victim has come forward to say they believe they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Port in the same period.

The victims’ loved one claimed failings stemmed from prejudice, because the victims were gay and their deaths were drug-related.

Officers had denied it, blaming mistakes on being understaffed and lacking resources, with some acting up in senior positions.

The coroner barred jurors from deciding on the issue of homophobia for legal reasons.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.

Related topics: