Stephen Port victims' delayed inquest set to begin in Barking
- Credit: Met Police
The long-awaited inquest into the deaths of four men murdered in Barking by serial killer Stephen Port is set to begin on October 4.
An eight-week inquest will examine the Met Police’s initial response to the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor, who were drugged, raped and killed by Port between 2014 and 2015.
Port, who lived in Cooke Street, was sentenced to life in prison at the Old Bailey in November 2016 for the murders of the four men.
The inquest was originally scheduled for the Old Bailey but will take place at Barking Town Hall.
The hearings were due to start on January 7 but the coroner, Her Honour Judge Sarah Munro QC, pushed back the date because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Leader of the council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “We know the families of Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack have waited so long for this inquest.
“Nothing will ever bring those young men back, but their families understandably want answers.
“We’re really glad we’ve been able to help them get those answers by offering the town hall to host the inquest – so this wasn’t delayed again.”
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The inquest will be open to the media and members of the public.
Once it finishes, the East London Coroner’s office will continue to use the town hall and part of the Adult College for non-jury hearings until March next year while Walthamstow Magistrates’ Court is being redeveloped.
Cllr Rodwell added: “Port is a dangerous individual and his actions devastated our entire borough.
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"Since the case came to light, we’ve been working with our local LGBTQ+ community to put equalities as high as possible on our agenda and provide reassurance that Barking and Dagenham is a borough for everyone.
“We’ll continue to support the families, any residents and the wider community however we can during the inquest and afterwards, whatever the outcome.”
The council has produced an information leaflet, with details of local agencies which can offer support and advice for anyone who may be affected by the case.