29 October 2021

Stephen Port planted fake suicide note on victim to cover tracks, inquest told

29 October 2021

Stephen Port planted a fake suicide note on his third victim, framing him for the drug-related death of another young, gay man murdered by the serial killer, an inquest jury has heard.

The drug-sex predator sought to distance himself from the death of Gabriel Kovari, his second victim, by scribbling an apologetic note and placing it on the dead body of Daniel Whitworth, 21, in order to make it seem like an apparent manslaughter-suicide.

The murders happened three weeks apart in near-identical circumstances, a short distance from Port’s ground-floor flat in Barking, east London.

Pornography-obsessed Port, now 46, killed four people during a 16-month murder spree in 2014 and 2015, before being brought to a halt.

Daniel Whitworth, 21, Jack Taylor, 25, Anthony Walgate, 23, and Gabriel Kovari, 22, were murdered by Stephen Port (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)

Inquests into the deaths are examining whether police could have stopped Port sooner by acting differently.

The note, read to the inquest jury on Friday, said: “I am sorry to everyone, mainly my family, but I can’t go on anymore.

“I took the life of my friend Gabriel Kline (Mr Kovari).

“We was (sic) just having some fun at a mate’s place and I got carried away and I gave him another shot of G (drug GHB).

“I didn’t notice while we was having sex that he had stopped breathing.

“I tried everything to get him to breath (sic) again but it was too late.

Stephen Port faked a suicide note and left it on the body of his third victim Daniel Whitworth (Met Police/PA) (PA Wire)

“It was an accident but I blame myself for what happened and I didn’t tell my family I went out.”

The handwritten note, on a sheet of A4 paper and wrapped in a protective plastic sheet found on Mr Whitworth’s body, added: “I know I would go to prison if I go to the police and I cannot do that to my family and at least this way I can at least be with Gabriel again. I hope he will forgive me.

“BTW (by the way). Please do not blame the guy I was with last night.

“We only had sex then I left. He knows nothing of what I have done.

“I have taken what G I had left with sleeping pills, so if does kill me it is what I deserve.

“Feeling dizzy now as took 10 minutes ago, so hoping you understand my writing.

A large maple tree in a corner of a cemetery in Barking, east London, where the bodies of Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21, were found (Emily Pennink/PA) (PA Wire)

“I dropped my phone on way here, so should be in the grass somewhere.

“Sorry to everyone. Love always. Daniel PW.”

It was not until much later that it became clear Port was responsible for the note.

Henrietta Hill QC, counsel for the victims’ families, suggested to Inspector Mark Joyce that he had quickly “closed down” the investigation into Mr Whitworth’s death on the day he was called to the scene.

Mr Joyce said: “I accept my objectivity might have been clouded. Confirmation bias – if you have a theory, you look for evidence that supports that theory.”

He admitted he did not check with Mr Whitworth’s family whether the note was genuine, as he did not consider it suspicious.

Addressing the victims’ families, he added: “My sincere condolences. As the father of a young man who is exactly the same age, I can’t imagine the trauma.

“I made a decision at the time (that Mr Whitworth died by suicide) … based on the information I had available.”

Inquest jurors previously heard Port, a bus depot chef who was said to have “a revolving door of boys coming and going”, had told a neighbour that 22-year-old Mr Kovari has “died in Spain” in mysterious circumstances in order to cover his murderous tracks.

Port was jailed for life in 2016 after being convicted of murdering Anthony Walgate, 23, Mr Kovari, Mr Whitworth, and Jack Taylor, 25, by plying them with fatal doses of GHB, as well as a number of rapes.

The inquests continue.

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