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Police chief admits serial killer Stephen Port should have been caught sooner

2016-12-15
The UK's most senior police officer has admitted that the Metropolitan Police didn't do enough to catch serial killer Stephen Port during an 18 month period in which four young men died at his hands. Port poisoned his four victims with lethal doses of date-rape drug GHB, before dumping their bodies within the in or around a graveyard in Barking less than 500m from Port’s home between August 2014 and September 2015. Last month, the 41-year-old was found guilty of four counts of murder, as well as seven offences of administering a substance with intent and three sexual assaults. He was handed a whole-life term and will die in prison.

Outgoing Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has since admitted that errors were made during the investigations.

"We should have spotted earlier there was something wrong there," he said.

"No-one put the connection together at the time. It just wasn’t realized there was a connection between the events and each of the events didn’t have an obvious suspicious element." The victims of serial killer Stephen Port (pictured) were all found around the same area of Barking over an 18-month period. The Metropolitan Police have been accused of failing the victims and their families after failing to link the deaths, despite each man's body being found in the same area - including one which was found outside Port's flat. The sisters of Port's final victim, Jack Taylor, revealed how they had to investigate their brother's murder themselves after police refused to treat his death as suspicious. "It was seen as gay drugged men who had just sat there, done an overdose, and that’s that. As if it were normal," Jack's sister Donna said at the time. The investigation's failings have led to accusations of institutional homophobia in the police force, with veteran LGBT rights campaign Peter Tatchell arguing that deaths would have taken the case far more seriously if the victims had been "four young middle class women... murdered in Mayfair".

"The killing of low income gay men in working class Barking was treated very differently," he added.

The Met referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the wake of Port's arrest and have since urged dating apps to offer greater protection to users. More stories: RuPaul says Donald Trump's election 'feels like the death of America' Interview | Wentworth Miller talks mental health, Hollywood and homophobia