Lawyers will now apply for all four victims’ inquests to be held together
The High Court has today quashed the original inquest conclusions into the deaths of two of Stephen Port’s murder victims.
An application by the Senior Coroner for East London, Ms Nadia Persaud, asked the High Court to quash her original conclusions into the deaths of 22-year-old, Gabriel Kovari and 21-year-old, Daniel Whitworth. This followed a request from the families’ lawyers citing the wealth of new information available for her to consider, following Port’s sentencing in November last year.
In June 2015 at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, Ms Persaud recorded an open conclusion into the deaths of Gabriel and Daniel. However, these conclusions were reached before the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had made the link between the death of Anthony Walgate a year previous, Gabriel and Daniel’s deaths and, before Port’s fourth known murder victim, Jack Taylor was killed in September 2015.
Inquests into the deaths of Anthony Walgate and Jack Taylor have yet to take place and the families’ lawyers will now ask for all four victims’ inquests to be held together, once the IPCC investigation into the Metropolitan Police Service’s initial response to the four deaths is complete. In total, the actions of 17 officers are under investigation. The IPCC is expected to complete its report in early 2018.
Civil liberties and police action specialist Andrew Petherbridge of Hudgell Solicitors is representing the four families and says: “This is another important step in the families’ fight for justice. We’re very grateful to the coroner for her intervention. Holding all four inquests together for Gabriel, Daniel, Anthony and Jack, will help identify if institutional failings and discrimination within the Metropolitan Police Service played any roles in their deaths.”
Mandy Pearson, step-mother of Daniel Whitworth, says: “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 Service were aware of the application but did not make any objection.