Met to be investigated again over handling of Stephen Port victims' deaths

Stephen Port victims clockwise from top left: Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Ant

Stephen Port's victims, clockwise from top left: Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate - Credit: Met Police

The Met’s handling of the deaths of Barking serial killer Stephen Port’s victims will be investigated again by the police watchdog.

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has decided to reinvestigate the initial response to the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.

It follows the 2021 inquests into their deaths which found that "basic investigative failures" by the Met "probably contributed" to the deaths of three of the young men.

Scotland Yard says it will "offer every support" to new IOPC probe.

The Met's acting deputy commissioner Helen Ball said: “The deaths of these four young men is a tragedy and we are deeply sorry there were failings in our police response."

Stephen Port

Stephen Port is serving a life sentence. - Credit: Archant

The watchdog previously investigated the police response after the Met made a voluntary referral in 2015, with its findings shared with the victims' families and a coroner in 2018.

But the new inquests, which concluded last year, revealed evidence previously unknown to the IOPC from officers who had been subject to the earlier probe.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said: "In our original investigation, we examined the actions of 17 officers.

"All but one gave no-comment interviews under misconduct caution and chose to provide written responses to the investigators.

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"Following analysis of the new information provided at the inquest, we have concluded that the original investigation needed to be wider in scope and, therefore, certain lines of inquiries were not followed.

"Had this information been known at the time it may have led to different decisions on outcomes."

Port was jailed for life in 2016 after he drugged and raped the four men then dumped their bodies near his Cooke Street flat.

Ms Ball continued: "Since the deaths of Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack we have worked hard to ensure the service we provide is better while understanding we have more to do.

"Learning and recommendations from the IOPC, Her Majesty’s Coroner and our LGBT+ independent advisory group of community members have enabled us to make a range of improvements.

"Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services are with us now carrying out an inspection into how we respond to and investigate death.

"If the IOPC reinvestigation makes further recommendations for improvements we will of course consider those very seriously, in addition to any misconduct matters that may arise."