Fresh inquests for four gay men murdered by vile Grindr killer Stephen Port delayed until end of year
Fresh inquests for the victims of Grindr killer Stephen Port will now not go ahead until October, after the COVID-19 lockdown forced their abandonment at the last minute.
New inquests were originally scheduled to begin on 7 January for the four men murdered by Port in Barking, east London, between 2014 and 2015.
Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor were all killed by Port – who lured the men from gay hookup sites, plied them with GHB, and disguised their deaths as drug overdoses.
However, the inquests were abandoned at the last minute after the country was placed into lockdown, with judge Sarah Munro QC ruling that that “the chances of them reaching a conclusion are minimal” due to the extremely high rates of COVID-19 in east London.
After the eleventh-hour delay, it has now been confirmed that the inquests will not take place until October.
A statement confirmed: “Having considered observations from interested persons, the coroner, her honour judge Munro QC, confirmed today that the inquests into the deaths of Anthony
Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor will now start in the Barking Town Hall on 4 October, 2021.”
Explaining the delay earlier this month, the judge said: “Given the current COVID figures, the high likelihood is that certain of the participants will need to self isolate either as a result of symptoms pending a test, a positive test or, for example, a member of their household or support bubble testing positive.”
Families of Stephen Port victims have had a long wait for justice after bungled investigations.
The four deaths were not recorded as murder at the time of their initial inquests after bungled police investigations, but the original verdicts were quashed after Stephen Port was finally identified and found guilty in 2016.
The Independent Office of Police Conduct said previously it had found “systemic failings” in relation to the case, but none of the 17 officers involved faced further action for misconduct. Nearly all of the officers had refused to answer questions in interviews with the police watchdog.
Neil Hudgell, solicitor for the four families, said: “Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack were murdered between August 2014 and September 2015.
“Given the years that have passed you can understand why the families are so disappointed by this delay.
“However, they understand the reasons and stand ready to assist the coroner with her inquiries when the inquest opens.”