Met Police warned seven years before Stephen Port murders of ‘failure’ in similar serial killer case

The Metropolitan Police’s LGBT+ Advisory Group warned Scotland Yard in 2007 that the force lacked knowledge of London’s gay scene following the murders of Colin Ireland.

<p>Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy appeared at the inquests today for the Met Police. Credit: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images</p>

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy appeared at the inquests today for the Met Police. Credit: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images

Police were warned seven years before the Stephen Port murders of a “serious failure in policing” in not linking the deaths of another gay-related serial killer, an inquest heard.

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Port was caged for life in 2016 after he was convicted of giving his victims lethal doses of the date rape drug GHB.

But today, the jury was told about a report from the Met Police’s LGBT+ Advisory Group which revealed the force was warned in 2007 it lacked knowledge of the gay scene.

Notorious serial killer Colin Ireland tortured and murdered five gay men in London in 1993, and the police investigation “failed to deal adequately with LGBT life and culture”, the inquest heard.

Stephen Port’s victims (L-R): Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor. Credit: Met Police

The report said Scotland Yard had failed to “recognise common threads” in linking the victims as gay, until after the fourth man was killed.

The inquest heard: “The investigation of the serial murders by Colin Ireland was hampered by a lack of knowledge of the gay scene in London and the special culture of S&M/bondage.

“In particular, valuable time was lost before the police managed to recognise two common threads to the crimes.

“These links were established only after the death of the fourth victim.”

Andrew O’Connor QC, representing the coroner, Judge Sarah Munro QC, presented the report during the hearing on Friday, November 19.

He said it was possible to “recognise echoes” of the Port murders in the document.

Serial Killer Stephen Port. Credit: Met Police

The inquest heard the report, a Thematic Review of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender related murders, stated: “Police at the time failed to deal adequately with LGBT life and culture.

“The initial investigations of the first murders seemed to us to be more focussed on determining promiscuity and risk taking, and seemed predisposed to interpreting circumstances as sex acts ‘gone wrong’.

“We would argue that given the rarity of such suspicious circumstances the police should have been in a position to link the first two murders, and to have done much more to warn the community at all times after that - particularly following the murder of Andrew Collier.

“This represents a serious failure of policing.”

He said: “London is an incredibly diverse and rich capital - there are so many communities, languages and cultures.

“We always need to be doing as much as we possibly can to inform communities, engage communities and work with communities to ultimately make London as safe as we possibly can do.”

The inquest continues.