Stephen Port: Police failed to report “significant” incident during investigation of first victim, investigation finds

Detectives who interviewed serial killer Stephen Port after the murder of his first victim had failed to report an earlier incident where he was seen rummaging through a drugged man’s bag, an investigation has found.

Fashion student Anthony Walgate, 23, was murdered after meeting Port on June 17, 2014 in east London. Port told police different stories about what happened in the days following the murder.

The second of his interviews with the police took place on June 27 of the same year. He told Detective Constables Jolyon Holt and Judith Levoir that he had arranged to meet Mr Walgate, who was a casual sex worker, for one night in his Dagenham apartment for £ 800.

He claimed Mr Walgate had taken drugs and got sick, and that Port panicked and moved his body outside the building because otherwise “it would look suspicious like last time”.

When asked what he meant, detectives expected him to describe details of an earlier 2012 allegation that he drugged and raped a man on New Years Eve.

But, instead, Port told them he had “helped” a friend who had fallen ill at Barking’s station, near his home, and was rummaging through his bag for his phone to get for help when he was arrested by police. .

Investigations are underway into the deaths of the four men to see if lives could have been saved if the police had acted differently.

Jurors have already been told that Chief Detective Inspector Chris Jones of the Metropolitan Police Homicide Command would have resumed the investigation into Mr Walgate’s death had he been made aware of the incident in Subway Station.

Investigation lawyer Andrew O’Connor told Ms Levoir “the significance of this incident must be obvious”.

During her testimony today, Ms. Levoir told the jury at Barking town hall: “It was just another line of inquiry that needed to be considered in relation to what he said in an interview. “

The investigation learned that she had not checked the police database for details of the incident, nor asked another officer to do so despite realizing that the ‘incident was important.

She put crosses next to her handwritten notes about the incident which were passed on to senior officers, but took no further action to draw their attention to it, the court said.

The initial investigation into Mr Walgate’s death only resulted in Port being accused of perverting the course of justice.

Port then murdered at least three other men – whom he met through gay and bisexual social media and dating apps, such as Grindr – in the same fashion, with fatal overdoses of the GHB drug.

Two of the men were killed in 2014 while on bail for obstructing the course of justice, and the fourth after serving three months in prison for the offense.

Port, 46, is now serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2016 of the four murders and a series of rapes and sexual assaults on other men who survived his attacks.

Mr Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, were all found dead near the Port apartment during a 16-month period between June 2014 and September 2015 .

At an investigative hearing last week, Detective Sergeant Martin O’Donnell apologized to the families of the victims and said he made a number of “terrible” mistakes while investigating the victims. rapes and murders.

He said he regretted not informing his colleagues that, two years before his first known murder, Port was accused of drugging a young man with GHB before raping him.

Mr O’Donnell added he did not order a search of the National Police Database on Port, which allegedly found UK Transport Police records showing officers saw Port at the station of Barking with the drug addicted man.

He also testified that he failed to have Port’s laptop examined promptly and properly. A computer scan, which took place more than a year after Mr Walgate’s murder, found that Port had researched rape drug pornography while arranging to meet with one of the victims.

In an earlier hearing, his colleagues, Detective Constable Nainesh Desai and Detective Constable David Parish, told the inquest that they erred in not making a connection between the first two murders. .

The investigation is continuing.

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