Book examines police failings in Stephen Port investigation

Stephen Port was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for the murders of the four men.

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

A book examining the failings of Barking and Dagenham police in the case of serial killer Stephen Port, who murdered four young men in Barking, is being released by a former Post reporter.

‘Easy Kills: The inside story of Stephen Port and how police missed the blatant murders of gay men’ is a new exploration into Port’s life and the police investigation. The book is written by Sebastian Murphy-Bates, a journalist and former Barking resident.

The front cover of Easy Kills by Sebastian Murphy-Bates

The front cover of Easy Kills by Sebastian Murphy-Bates - Credit: Mirror Books

Stephen Port was convicted in 2016 of the murder of four men who he lured to his flat after meeting them via gay and bisexual social networks and apps.

A lack of a full investigation by police led to Port being convicted of perverting the course of justice instead of the murder of his first victim, 23-year-old Anthony Walgate. Port originally claimed to have found Mr Walgate’s body outside his flat.

Sebastian Murphy-Bates

Sebastian Murphy-Bates - Credit: Sebastian Murphy-Bates

“It was just astounding to me how badly the police failed the victims of the murders and their families, through a lack of investigation”, said Sebastian, who also reported on the case during the trial.

“I got really worried that after all the news coverage, it could just disappear from public memory,” he said.

“I wanted to do something that’s more permanent than the online news article… a demand that it never happen again.”

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After the first death, Port killed three more men before being arrested for murder by police. Two of the bodies were found in the graveyard of St Margaret's church, and one in the park adjacent.

“I know from writing to [Port] in prison, this is not a sophisticated man”, said Sebastian. “This isn’t a guy who’s capable of spinning a convincing web of lies. This is a man who was utterly incompetent, who was allowed to murder. The police made this easy for him, which is why the book is called Easy Kills.”

On the recent BBC drama Four Lives about the same case, starring Stephen Merchant as Port alongside Sheridan Smith and Jaime Winstone, Sebastian said: “I thought it was incredibly beautiful. The way that they homed in on the family members who basically turned detective in lieu of the police not doing their jobs was excellent.”

Easy Kills, published by Mirror Books, is available from January 20.