Police inspector investigating Grindr killer ‘was unaware of similarities between four victims’

The deputy inspector said there had been no discussion with CID officers about the prior cases

Zaina Alibhai
Friday 12 November 2021 23:37 GMT
Stephen Port was jailed for life in 2016
Stephen Port was jailed for life in 2016 (Met Police)

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Louise Thomas

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A police officer leading the investigation into the death of serial killer Stephen Port’s four and final victim was unaware others had died under similar circumstances, an inquest jury has heard.

Port was given a whole life order for the murders of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.

The crimes occured between June 2014 and September 2015, with Port, now 46, sentenced at the Old Bailey in October 2016.

Inspector Jason O’Donohue was acting as duty inspector when Taylor’s body was found in a church graveyard by a park warden, apparently from a drug overdose.

However, he was unaware that the site was just seconds away from where Kovari and Whitworth bodies had been discovered a year earlier despite being at the scene with two detectives who had been involved in both prior cases.

Neither Yinka Ademayo-Phillips not Peter Sweetman told O’Donohue that the deaths all involved young men, found in close proximity, with drug paraphernalia present, and their mobile phones missing.

O’Donohue declared Taylor’s death unexplained but non-suspicious, and it was not until a month later that all four deaths were linked to Port when a police officer working on Walgate’s case came across a CCTV still of Taylor and Port together the night before he died.

The information came to light whilst O’Donohue gave evidence at Barking Town Hall during an inquest into the deaths of all four victims, and the police handling of the cases.

He said his decision-making during the investigation into Taylor’s death “might have been” different had he been aware of the striking similarities between the cases.

He said he had no idea the bodies of Kovari and Whitworth had been found so close to Taylor’s until Port went on trial for murder.

He added: “I was absolutely flabbergasted.”

Inquest jurors heard Taylor’s family were upset about a lack of information from police on the investigation, with it being 10 days after they were first told of his death that Pc Jon Taylor, a parks officer who was first on scene, went to see the family.

The police constable – who had no prior experience on investigatory work – then began contacting those who last saw Taylor alive, leading him to look for CCTV in Barking train station which showed he met an unidentified tall man, later identified as Port.

Port had met his victims on dating sites, including Grindr, where he constructed fake bios on the platforms.

He then coaxed them to his home in Barking before giving them fatal doses of drugs, raping and murdering them.

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