Statement on inquest into deaths of four young men.

The Metropolitan Police Service is offering every support to the inquests into the deaths of four young men which have begun in Barking.

Stephen Port was convicted of the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor in November 2016 and is currently serving a whole life sentence. He was also convicted of multiple counts of sexual offences and administering a noxious substance.

The MPS has been assisting the coroner for some months in providing all statements and information required to aid the jury in thoroughly examining what happened.

Commander Jon Savell, Head of Profession for Investigations, said: “Our thoughts are firstly with the family and friends of those murdered by Stephen Port. We know this will be a painful and difficult time for them, hearing details once more of what happened to their loved ones.

“We are offering every assistance to the coroner and welcome a full examination of all the facts surrounding the tragic deaths of these four young men.

“At the time of Port’s conviction, we apologised to the victims’ families and Daniel Whitworth’s partner for how we initially responded to the deaths, and I would like to apologise again.

“Since Port’s offences came to light we have worked hard within the Met to improve both our processes and our wider knowledge across the organisation of a range of issues associated with the murders. We will not prejudge the findings of the inquests but we will review any more improvements the jury and coroner identify that we need to make.

“It is extremely important to us that members of the LGBT+ communities trust the police and feel confident they are being provided with the best possible service. We welcome the help and support of our independent advisors and a whole range of community partners to help us achieve this.”

Work since Port’s offences came to light includes adopting an MPS-wide written protocol for minimum standards of investigation for unexplained deaths. There has been extra training for our officers on how drugs can be used as a weapon by offenders to facilitate rape and sexual assault, as well as on issues that impact on the confidence of our LGBT+ communities. This training has been delivered with the help of Galop and other LGBT+ organisations. We regularly work closely with and take advice from our LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group as well as the Met’s LGBT+ staff support network and a wide group of community partners.

The inquest will hear live evidence from a wide range of witnesses and it is important the coroner and jury have time to consider this properly. In order not to pre-empt any findings or be seen to influence the inquest in any way the MPS will not be making any further comment until the proceedings have concluded.

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