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Family of Gravesend chef murdered by Grindr killer Stephen Port 'losing confidence' in police inquiry progress

PUBLISHED: 09:57 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 May 2017

Stephen Port

Stephen Port

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Daniel Whitworth's family have shared dismay that police have not been interviewed

Daniel WhitworthDaniel Whitworth

The family of a Gravesend chef murdered by a serial killer, who lured his victims using dating app Grindr, have said police should be ‘held to account’ for not linking the murders sooner.

Stephen Port, 42, murdered four men, including 21-year-old Daniel Whitworth, between June 2014 and September 2015, and three of the four bodies were found in a churchyard metres from the murderer’s home.

Chances to arrest Port sooner were missed as police ignored the families’ requests to link the deaths.

The families’ lawyer, Neil Hudgell, says he has now been told by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that none of the 19 Metropolitan Police officers under investigation have been interviewed by the IPCC.

Mr Hudgell said: “The families are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress being made by the IPCC. We were originally told that the officers would be interviewed in January 2017, but the IPCC hasn’t even managed to get dates in the diary and our requests for substantive updates fall upon deaf ears. It feels like the IPCC is becoming impotent in the face of stalling by the MPS.

“The families feel that history is repeating itself as the MPS continues to ignore them. They are losing confidence that the IPCC has the ability to get to the truth; the longer this drags on, the greater the chance of evidence being lost or forgotten.”

Mandy Pearson, stepmother of Mr Whitworth, added: “We continue to seek answers and accountability from the police about how, for a whole year, they let us believe that Daniel had committed suicide, in which time Port went on to kill again.

“We really did hope that, with Port now behind bars, the police would be held to account for their actions. The fact that after all this time we’re still no further forward is insulting and distressing for all of the families.”

IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts said: “Since Stephen Port was convicted we have undertaken a rigorous process of pre-interview disclosure.

“In total this has amounted to over 7,000 pages of material which we have provided to representatives for the 17 officers.”

The Metropolitan Police has admitted it missed “potential opportunities” in investigating the deaths.

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