Who was Stephen Port and what happened to his victims?
The Metropolitan Police has still not learned from its “calamitous litany of failures” in the case of serial killer Stephen Port, as inspectors have warned that “history could repeat itself”.
A report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services discovered officers at the force were still “inexperienced, untrained and poorly supervised”.
Meanwhile, relatives of Port’s victims accuse the Met of “institutional homophobia” over its bungled investigation.
Here’s what you need to know about Stephen Port.
Who is Stephen Port?
Stephen Port is originally from Dagenham, and trained as a chef after dropping out of art school.
He lived at home until his early 30s, after coming out as gay, and purchased a one-bedroom flat in Barking which would be the setting for his disturbing crimes.
Towards the end of 2013, he became a GHB user and had come to the attention of police for supposedly drugging and raping a man on New Year’s Eve.
It was reported he had a “revolving door of boys coming and going” at his flat.
His neighbour Ryan Edwards said he had a “voracious appetite” for meeting “very young” men.
But he later became so concerned that Port was spending time with “vulnerable” boys that he considered he might have “paedophile tendencies”.
Mr Edwards was also worried about Port’s drug use, but was reassured by Port that the drugs were for personal use only - although the truth was more sinister.
Why is he called the “Grindr killer?”
Port is called the “Grindr killer” as he met his victims online, through the dating app Grindr.
He lured the victims to his flat, then drugged and raped them, before dumping their bodies close by.
The serial killer drugged his victims Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor with overdoses of GHB and disposed of their bodies near his flat in Barking, east London, between June 2014 and September 2015.
The deaths were not seen as suspicious by police until after the fourth death.
A solicitor representing the families said they believed the police’s actions were “driven by homophobia”.
How was Stephen Port finally caught?
It was only after Jack Taylor was murdered that action was taken.
PC Jon Taylor, a parks officer who was first on scene, went to see Jack’s family, who insisted he was anti-drugs and had no reason to be in Barking.
The police constable – who had no prior experience on investigatory work – then began contacting those who last saw Jack alive.
He found CCTV in Barking train station which showed Jack meeting an unidentified tall man, who weeks later was identified as Port.
Eventually, on 15 October 2015, Port was arrested on suspicion of causing the deaths of all four of his victims by administering drugs.
Jack‘s father, Colin, believes his son’s life “could have been saved” if police had only listened.
He told the inquest: “We think because the police treated Jack as a drug addict the police didn’t look any further.
“If they had done something from the start… Port could have been stopped.
“If the police had listened to all those people from the first murder... this would not have happened.
“They should have listened, just listened to people.”
In 2016, Port was found guilty of the murders and several sex assaults against other men in 2016, and was given a whole-life jail sentence.
The families’ solicitor Neil Hudgell said relatives had been “left traumatised by their treatment at the hands of the police”.
Where is Stephen Port now?
Port, 47, is serving a whole-life term for the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor in Barking, East London.
A spokesman for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the quality of the Met’s investigation into the murders “raised a number of concerns, particularly around homophobia”.
He added: “It is vital that London’s LGBTQ+ community has confidence in our police and the Met are able to gain the trust and confidence of all the communities it serves so that every Londoner, regardless of background or postcode can feel safe, protected and served.”