Police apologise for ‘terrible mistakes’ in investigation into Grindr serial killer

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A senior detective has apologized to the families of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port, saying they made several “horrific” mistakes in their investigation of date-rape and murders.

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Port, 46, of Dagenham, is serving a whole life order after being found guilty in 2016 of the rape and murder of at least four men he met through gay and bisexual social networks and dating apps like Grindr.

In an interrogation, Detective Sergeant Martin O’Donnell told jurors that he regretted not informing his colleagues that, two years before his first known murder, a young man was raped by GHB on the port. Was accused of giving drugs.

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The investigation heard that Port was initially arrested on suspicion of raping a man in December 2012, but the case was dropped when the alleged victim later withdrew her statement despite making the same allegations.

Juries are being asked to assess whether the lives of the victims could have been saved had the police acted differently.

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Mr O’Donnell was the officer in charge of the progress of the investigation into the port’s crimes for the first seven months.

But it has emerged that she did not file rape allegations in the Crime Reporting Information System, which logs progress in an investigation for her colleagues to see.

Mr O’Donnell told the hearing at Barking Town Hall: “It seems like a critical mistake of mine for not including that in the document. It’s a terrible mistake that I didn’t put it there.”

He said he had failed to direct the police to conduct a search on the national database at the port. A search yields records from British Transport Police that show officers had spotted Port a short walk from his flat at Barking station, who was under the influence of drugs.

The incident happened the same month that Port drugged 23-year-old Anthony Walgate with a lethal dose of GHB in June 2014.

Mr O’Donnell said he had failed to quickly and properly test Port’s laptop. A computer investigation that took place more than a year after Mr. Walgett’s murder revealed that Port had discovered drug-rape pornography while arranging to meet him.

Mr O’Donnell said: “I can only deeply apologize to the families for not being able to make it (laptop search) up to standard.

“It was on his laptop and we should have found it – we should have found it.”

He denied allegations by Mr. Walgate’s friend Keira Brennan that the police “wrote” him. [Mr Walgate] off” because he was a sex worker.

Inquiries had previously heard that Port repeatedly changed his story of how Mr Walgett died – first telling emergency services he found the fashion student slipped through the entrance of his block of flats on 19 June 2014 later admitted that he had arranged to meet Mr. Walgate. gender.

Investigative attorney Andrew O’Connor QC said: “Stephen Port lied to police about his dealings with Anthony, suspected that his death was caused by drugs, and you have a detailed account that he ( Port) had overpowered her with drugs. (rape complainant) on more than one occasion.”

Mr. O’Donnell replied: “Yes, you are absolutely right, that report should have gone.”

The detective’s evidence echoed testimony from other officers that his team had overworked, adding that “there was enormous pressure in the office at the time” and that it was “easy to miss things.”

His associates, Detective Constable Nainesh Desai and Detective Constable David Parrish, told earlier interrogations that they made mistakes on the deaths.

Mr Desai said he failed to link the first two deaths – both victims were young, gay men, despite being young, found a short distance from Port’s flat, and who were later found to be intoxicated – while Mr Parish asked for analysis. To port did not send to the laptop. Killed for the first time in the days after that.

Port was sentenced to eight months in prison in March 2015 for lying about Mr Walgate’s death, but was released only a few months later. While being released with an electronic tag, he committed the murder for the fourth time before being caught.

The other three victims were 22-year-old Gabriel Cowry, 21-year-old Daniel Whitworth and 25-year-old Jack Taylor. Their bodies were found between June 2014 and September 2015 in the cemetery of St. Margaret of Antioch Church in Barking.

Two bodies were found by the same woman on separate occasions when she was walking her dog.

Port tried to frame one of his victims with murder, placing a fake suicide note with Whitworth’s body suggesting that he was responsible for Cowry’s death, and that he had killed himself with guilt.

Port was found guilty of four murders at the Old Bailey in 2016 and sentenced to life imprisonment – ​​meaning he will never be released.

Inquiry continues.

PA. Additional reporting by

.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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