Stephen Port: Families of serial killer’s victims a step closer to solving ‘unanswered questions’
- Credit: Archant
The families of serial killer Stephen Port’s victims are a step closer to getting answers to questions surrounding the murders.
Donna and Jenny Taylor – sisters of Dagenham victim Jack Taylor – said today (August 14): “We are pleased the process has started and hope we’re getting closer to the many unanswered questions we have.”
They commented after a pre-inquest review – called to decide the scope of a second inquest.
The original inquests into the deaths of victims Gabriel Kovari, 22, of Slovakia and Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, were held in June 2015, more than a year before Port received a life sentence for four murders in 2016.
A High Court judge quashed the original verdicts last year after new information emerged following Port’s conviction.
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The new inquest will be the first into the deaths of 25-year-old Jack and Anthony Walgate, 23, from Hull.
Port lured his victims to his flat in Cooke Street, Barking, for sex before plying them with drinks spiked with drug GHB. He then dumped their bodies in or near St Margaret’s Church.
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During the review it was decided the Met and victims’ families would have six weeks each to check a 380 page report by watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the force’s handling of the case before its publication.
Welcoming the decision, the families’ lawyer Andrew Petherbridge said: “The conclusion of the report has been a long and sometimes frustrating process for the families who are desperate for answers.”
During the review at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court assistant coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said it was remarkable the families’ lawyers wanted senior coroner Nadia Persaud to take part in a second inquest. Ms Persaud returned open verdicts at the end of Gabriel and Daniel’s inquests.
Dr Radcliffe complained that a trial judge would never be called as a witness in similar circumstances. She said there was no risk of bias if she sat and her colleague participated.
She decided the second inquest required a jury.
The families also called for the second inquest to be heard by another court outside of Walthamstow Coroner’s Court’s jurisdiction.
So far the families have raised more than £1,000 towards a £10,000 target to help cover their legal costs. To donate visit Crowdjustice.com
A second PIR is due on November 21.