04 October 2021

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

04 October 2021

The long-awaited inquests into the deaths of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port will mark a key step in their families’ “quest for accountability”, their lawyer has said.

Inquests into the deaths of four young gay men are due to begin on Tuesday at Barking Town Hall – just yards from where they were given fatal overdoses of GHB by Port.

It comes six years after Port’s 16-month killing spree was brought to an end, following the death of the final victim, 25-year-old Jack Taylor.

In 2016, 46-year-old Port, from Barking, was found guilty of the murders of Mr Taylor, Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21, between June 2014 and September 2015.

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

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.

Coroner Sarah Munro QC warned jurors to focus on the evidence in court (Philip McCarthy Photography/HM Coroner) (PA Media)

“Their families have felt every single day of their absence.

“They have waited with great patience and conducted themselves with real dignity.

“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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