Thu. May 26th, 2022

Serial killer Stephen Port was identified as suspected of sexual assault the day his first victim died, a lawsuit has heard.

Harbor was noted as a “significant witness” after the body of Anthony Walgate, 23, was discovered falling against a wall outside Port’s apartment in Cooke Street, Barking, east of London.

Officers arrived at the scene after an anonymous 999 call at 4:05 a.m. on June 19, 2014, where Port was later identified as the caller.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated archive images issued by Metropolitan Police by (left to right) Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari.  The long-awaited investigations into the deaths of the victims of Stephen Port will begin on Tuesday.  Over the next 10 weeks, a jury of inquiry will hear details about how four young gay men met their deaths in the hands of the serial killer between June 2014 and September 2015. Release Date: Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
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(LR) Ports victims: Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari

The first officer to attend the scene after the call said he was not aware of the serious allegation against the 6ft 5in Port, which dates back to 2012. The allegation has been noted by the city commander that day.

Over the next 16 months, Port killed three more young gay men, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and 25-year-old Jack Taylor, with overdoses of the drug GHB, before being stopped.

The lawsuit in the young men’s death investigating whether police’s mistake prevented Port from being stopped before he could kill some of his victims.

Inspector Gary Learmonth gave evidence on Friday, saying he arrived at the scene at 4:30 a.m. and stayed for four and a half hours.

Walgate had a “fat lip” and a “possible footprint” on his torso, so a “critical incident” was declared, jurors heard.

“We had a young man who had died in a public place. It was not clear at the time how this had happened,” Learmonth said.

He rated the death as “potentially suspicious”.

A view of St Margaret's Church in Barking, east London, as alleged serial killer, Stephen Port 40, from Cooke Street, Barking in east London, has appeared in Barkingside Magistrates accused of doping and murdering four young men he met gay websites and dump their bodies in and around a cemetery in east London.  PRINTING ASSOCIATION Photo.  Photo date: Monday, October 19, 2015. The bodies of two of the men were found by a dog handler less than a month apart in the cemetery in St.  Margaret's Church on North Street in Barking, while another was found near the ruins of Barking Abbey.  See PA History COURTS Gift.  Photo credit must read: Nick Ansell / PA Wire
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A view of St Margaret’s Cemetery in Barking, East London, where Port dumped the bodies of some of his victims

Kl. 5.16 records show that Port had been identified as the anonymous caller and his last known address was 62 Cooke Street.

Andrew O’Connor QC, the forensic pathologist, said: “You had his name and you had his address pretty much where you stood.”

The witness told jurors that officers were eager to talk to Port, but his number went to voicemail and officers repeatedly knocked on the door of his apartment not to answer.

An officer eventually took a statement from Port at 7:50 p.m.

Undated handed out aerial photo issued by Metropolitan Police showing the places where corpses were dumped by Stephen Port during his 16-month killing spree.  Release Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021.
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Aerial photo issued by Metropolitan Police showing the places where corpses were dumped by Stephen Port

The trial was shown a note by the city commander, Superintendent Andy Ewing, the same day stating “call’s previous sexual assault”.

Mr Learmonth said he did not recall being told about the allegation against Port.

The claim was printed by the Police National Computer (PNC) a week later.

Sir. O’Connor said: “If anyone in the police force had found this information that morning, would you expect to be told about it?”

Mr Learmonth said: “Yes, there is some overlap, but yes, potentially I would be one of those people who would have been updated.”

Undated handover photo issued by Metropolitan Police of a map showing the places where corpses were dumped by Stephen Port during his 16-month killing spree.  Release Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021.
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Metropolitan Police map showing the places where corpses were dumped by Port during his 16-month killing spree

The PNC report, which was shown to jurors, outlined a claim Port had raped a man in his apartment on New Year’s Eve in 2012.

Sir. O’Connor said: “If it’s true, was this information discovered that morning, it was important information about the person who had called 999?”

The officer said, “Yes, I agree.”

A crime report, which was also shown to jurors, revealed that the complainant had gone ahead and described several different cases of sex without consent in which he was subjected to medication and alcohol.

But no further action was taken after the complainant said he did not support a prosecution, the jurors heard.

Port was found guilty of all four murders and sentenced to a full life sentence following a trial in Old Bailey in 2016.

The hearing is adjourned until Monday morning.

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