Stephen Port: 'It's truly shocking the police didn't make the connection', says campaigner

Stephen Port: 'It's truly shocking the police didn't make the connection', says campaigner

Jenny, Donna, and Jeanette Taylor making a statement outside the Old Bailey following Port's conviction

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A leading human rights campaigner has called it "shocking" the police did not make the connection to Stephen Port. 

41-year-old Port was found guilty of the murders of Anthony Walgate, Jack Taylor, Gabriel Kovari, and Daniel Whitworth yesterday, having poisoned them with drug GBH, raped them, and then dumped the bodies near his flat in Barking. He was also convicted of 18 other offenses against a total of 11 men, including the four rapes of his victims, 10 counts of administering a substance and four sexual assaults. 

As a result of evidence uncovered during the trial, the Metropolitan Police has come under fire for its handling of the case.

The Old Bailey heard how the death of 25-year-old Jack Taylor was initially treated as "non-suspicious", and how the force had handled the death of Daniel Whitworth "at face value".

The jury heard no efforts were allegedly made to verify the origin of the suicide note which pinned the blame on Whitworth for the death of Gabriel Kovari - a note which had been written in Port's handwriting. 

Testimony was given which recounted how the victims' loved ones, members of the Met's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) independent advisory group and journalists from website Pink News had gone to officers handling the case with concerns the deaths were the work of a serial killer, reportedly only to be told there was not a link between them.

Taylor's mother Donna has made it clear she plans to sue, saying the police "should be held accountable for Jack's death". An Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry is now being carried out into how the Metropolitan Police handled the case, with 17 officers facing examinations to determine possible misconduct.

They are also reassessing 58 unexplained deaths involving GHB from a four-year period across London, to check if foul play was missed. At the moment, it's unknown if Stephen Port - due to be sentenced on Friday - is linked to any of these cases.

Peter Tatchell, a world-renowned human and LGBT rights campaigner, called it "astonishing the police did not make any public appeal until four young gay men were already dead", and that they did not make the connection to Stephen Port.

Listen to the interview above.