‘Keystone Cops’ failed Stephen Port’s first victim, parents tell inquest

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: PA</span>
Photograph: PA

The parents of the serial killer Stephen Port’s first victim described the investigation into his death as a “travesty” by “Keystone Cops” who insisted their son’s death was not murder, an inquest heard.

Anthony Walgate, 23, a fashion student from Hull, was found dead outside Port’s flat in Barking, east London, in June 2014 after being given a fatal dose of date-rape drug GHB.

Port was later charged with perverting the course of justice over the death but killed three more young men before he was stopped.

Sarah Sak and Thomas Walgate believed their son was murdered, but said police insisted his death was not suspicious, the jury heard.

Walgate’s father described officers in the case as like “Keystone Cops”, saying: “It’s a travesty what’s gone on here. I know my son couldn’t be saved but the other three could have been if they’d done their jobs better.”

Describing the moment he found out his only son had died, he said: “I was at home watching the World Cup. There was a knock at the door and it was a WPC. She said, ‘You’d better sit down I’ve got some bad news for you.’ She said, ‘Your brother Anthony has died’.

“I said, ‘I haven’t got a brother called Anthony’. She said ‘it must be your son’.

He said the meeting took only a few minutes, adding: “The shock is unbelievable.”

Speaking of where his son was found, he said of police: “They could not find it suspicious (that Port) dragged the body out, called an ambulance and went back to bed. Just put the trash out.”

He said he pressed the officers to get Port’s laptop examined, but was informed it was “too expensive”.

Sak described how the relationship with the police went downhill. She said of family liaison officer DC Paul Slaymaker: “It was as though he had written it off there and then – it was probably drugs. He just wouldn’t listen to anything.

“I said Anthony was murdered. I will never shut up and I will never go away. He said he wasn’t murdered, it was unexplained.”

In September 2014, she found out about the deaths of Port’s second and third victims, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Gabriel Kovari, 22 and raised it with Slaymaker.

She told jurors: “I said how close they were and he just snapped at me. He said they are nothing to do with each other’”.

Sak said the deaths of Kovari and Whitworth could have been avoided if police had treated her son’s death differently. Referring to the inquests, she added: “I was having sleepless nights. Could I have done anything more?

“But as I have listened to all of this, no matter what I did, they would never have done anything.”

Over 16 months, Port killed four young men in similar circumstances. In 2016, Port was handed a whole-life order at the Old Bailey after being found guilty of the murders.

The inquests at Barking town hall, which are expected to last up to 10 weeks, continue.

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