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Editorial comment: A step forward in fight for justice

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 December 2017

Stephen Port. Picture: MET POLICE

Stephen Port. Picture: MET POLICE

Archant

I can’t begin to imagine the pain and suffering families of Stephen Port victims’ continue to go through every day.

The gay serial killer from Barking preyed on vulnerable young men, murdered them and in some cases fabricated the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

But Stephen Port, eventually, faced justice and has been sentenced to a whole-life prison term. And let’s be clear, the only way Port should leave prison is in a coffin.

But the story does not end there. The families of Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Anthony Walgate and Jack Taylor for a long time before Port’s arrest and subsequent charge had to grapple with the knowledge police failed to identify links between the victims at a much earlier stage in the investigation. They knew something wasn’t right and they fought every second of the way to make sure their loved ones killer faced justice.

But as the inquests findings into the deaths of Gabriel and Daniel are quashed it’s another important step forward for the families. It is quite right and wholly appropriate that all four deaths form part of a joint inquest.

Only a coroner can independently ascertain the direction any inquiry should take and hold the police to account. Maybe a coronor will stop short of saying homophobia contributed to their deaths, as the family suggest. But it’s quite a compelling argument considering the timeline of events. But whether it was down to sheer incompetence or homophobia it won’t bring the victims back.

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