Metropolitan Police ‘refers itself to watchdog’ after claiming alleged murders were ‘not suspicious’

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The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog, after initially failing to link a series of deaths that are alleged to be the work of a serial killer.

40-year-old Stephen Port, of Barking, east London was charged this week with the alleged murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor.

Port allegedly used GHB to poison a number of victims. The four bodies were found in and around the St Margaret’s Churchyard, Barking, between June 2014 and September 2015.

PinkNews can disclose that it was first made aware of allegations of a link between a number of the deaths in December 2014, and reporters carried out preliminary investigations over the next month.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was treating the deaths as separate incidents with “nothing suspicious” to link them, and was not looking for anyone else in connection with them. After contacting the police at the time, PinkNews took the decision not to print a story about the claims.

The Metropolitan Police has now confirmed it will refer itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission following the arrest.

A statement said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning the murder of four men in Barking between 19 June 2014 and 14 September 2015.
Metropolitan Police ‘refers itself to watchdog’ after claiming alleged murders were ‘not suspicious’
“The referral informs the IPCC of potential vulnerabilities in the response by the MPS to the four deaths.

“We await a mode of investigation from the IPCC. A man has been charged in relation to the murders.”

Stephen Port has been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm over the deaths.

Port, whose social media lists him as a special needs teacher, appeared in Barkingside Magistrates’ Court yesterday, but spoke only to confirm his name.

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