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Stephen Port: New inquests ordered for two of Grindr serial killer's victims

2017-11-28
New inquests will be held into the deaths of two men killed by serial killer Stephen Port following a high court ruling. Former chef Port, of Barking, east London, was found guilty a year ago of killing Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Gabriel Kovari, 22, in 2014. Inquests into the pairs' deaths before Port's conviction originally recorded an open verdict, but High Court Lord Justice Holroyde said that new inquests were both "necessary and desirable" now that new evidence had come to light, the BBC reports. The body of Slovak-born artist Gabriel Kovari, was discovered close to a churchyard in Barking on 28 August, 2014. The body of Daniel Whitworth, from Kent, was found in the same spot less than three weeks later. The court heard how the coroner had lacked key information during the original inquests in June 2015 because the police had failed to treat the two deaths as murder. Port was also convicted last year of killing Anthony 23, Jack Taylor, 25, whose bodies were discovered in an around the same east London churchyard where Daniel and Gabriel's bodies had been found. Inquests into those deaths were suspended after Port was charged with their killing, and the judge's ruling on Tuesday (November 28) has paved the way for a new inquest into the deaths of all four men to take place simultaneously.

Daniel Whitworth's step-mother, Mandy Pearson, said after the ruling: "This is an important start to getting some of the many wrongs concerning Daniel's death corrected.

"The very least we can do for Daniel is to get the facts about his death recorded correctly and, with a new inquest we are hopeful we can do that for him and for Gabriel, Anthony and Jack."

The Metropolitan Police have faced widespread criticism over their handling of the case, as well as accusations of institutional homophobia in failing to link the deaths of four gay men in the same spot over an 18-month period. Solicitor Andrew Petherbridge, representing the families of all four victims, said holding inquests for the deaths together would "help identify if institutional failings and discrimination within the Metropolitan Police service played any roles in their deaths". Port was handed a whole life sentence after being convicted on multiple counts of murder and sexual assault in November last year, meaning he will die in prison. The court heard at the time how the former chef used online dating apps to lure victims to his flat before before injecting them with lethal doses of date-rape drug GHB. The sisters of Port’s final victim, Jack Taylor, previously 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 following Port's conviction last year. The Met referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the wake of Port’s arrest and 17 officers are currently under investigation over their handling of the case. More stories: Glee star arrested on domestic battery charges Former S Club Juniors star Aaron Renfree learns an important lesson about naked selfies and reflective surfaces