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Report into Met’s handling of Barking serial killer Stephen Port ‘will be damning’

PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 19 March 2018

Stephen Port is serving a whole life sentence. Picture credit: Met Police.

Stephen Port is serving a whole life sentence. Picture credit: Met Police.

Archant

The families of serial killer Stephen Port’s victims have been told a report into the Metropolitan Police’s initial response to the four deaths “will be damning”, according to solicitors.

Stephen Port victims clockwise from top left: Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and  Anthony Walgate. Picture credit: Met Police.Stephen Port victims clockwise from top left: Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate. Picture credit: Met Police.

Lawyers representing the relatives met the lead investigator for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), Ben Williams, last week ahead of a report due to be sent to the Met Police in May.

They said it would “identify multiple failures and missed opportunities”.

Port, 41, was handed a whole life sentence after a jury found he had given his victims fatal doses of date rape drug GHB.

He dumped the bodies of Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham; Anthony Walgate, 23, from Hull; Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend in Kent, and 22-year-old Gabriel Kovari from Slovakia, near his flat in Cooke Street, Barking, over 15 months.

The IOPC is investigating the actions of 17 officers – seven of whom face the sack if found guilty of gross misconduct.

The High Court quashed the original inquests into the deaths of Whitworth and Kovari, paving the way for inquests into the deaths of all four victims to be held together.

Hudgell Soliciors, the families’ lawyers, expect the inquests to take place next year, and that the IOPC’s report may not be made public until these inquests conclude.

“The families were pleased to have an opportunity to meet with the IOPC and express their frustrations about how slow the investigation has been,” said senior solicitor Dr Neil Hudgell.

“They want to see the report and have answers about why their loved one is no longer with them.”

Sarah Green, regional director of the IPOC, which replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) earlier this year, said: “Our investigation is nearing completion, and I will need to consider the report carefully before coming to any view on its findings.

“We continue to keep the families of Stephen Port’s victims, and the officers under investigation updated on our progress.”

The regional director has not “made or approved” any final decisions on the report, a spokesman added.

A spokesman for the Met said: “We await the conclusion of an independent IPCC investigation which is currently ongoing.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

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