Stephen Port victims' inquests: Detective tells jurors of regret over laptop 'failing'

Stephen Port

Stephen Port was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for the murders of the four men. - Credit: Met Police

A senior police officer said he regretted not sending Barking serial killer Stephen Port's laptop for analysis in the days after the predator first struck.

Det Cons David Parish told the inquest into the deaths of Port's four victims he had spent the years since Anthony Walgate was discovered dead outside Port's home in June 2014 going over his actions regarding the laptop.

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

Clockwise from top left: Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate. - Credit: Met Police

The machine was sent to forensic scientists for scrutiny 10 months later, but it was not until June 2015 that Mr Parish was provided with a USB stick containing all the material found on it.

This showed repeated searches for drug rape videos and date rape drugs just before Port messaged escort Mr Walgate proposing the younger man visit overnight in exchange for £800.

In another message on the FitLads website, before he met Mr Walgate, Port bragged about previously having had sex with a man who was on drugs and was like "a ragdoll".

However, Mr Parish did not spot the material and reported only on selfies, sex videos and dating site messages on the laptop relating to chef Port's "lifestyle".

Mr Parish apologised for his actions as he gave evidence at the inquest into the deaths of the four young gay men, at Barking Town Hall, yards from where Port fatally drugged them with GHB over a 16-month period.

The officer was asked by inquest jurors on Thursday (October 14) whether he felt "personally responsible for the failings".

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He replied: "Some of the things I was asked to do (on the investigation) I wasn't trained in.

"I could have had more training. But in terms of the laptop - for the last seven and a half years I wish I could have done that. And that is something I have to deal with."

The hearings are looking at whether the victims' lives could have been saved had police acted differently.

Mr Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, were all found dead near Port's flat.

Port initially lied and pretended not to know who first victim Mr Walgate was. He was arrested for perverting the course of justice on June 27, 2014.

Port, now 46, was found guilty at the Old Bailey in 2016 of the four murders and sentenced to a whole life order.

The hearings continue.

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