Tuesday 25 January 2022


Barking & Dagenham murders: coroner publishes report

The coroner's inquest into the circumstances and the police investigation of the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor concluded in December 2021. The jury have returned a verdict of unlawful deaths, raising many issues regarding the professionalism of the Metropolitan Police. 

Her Honour Judge Sarah Munro QC has published her report on Action to Prevent Future Deaths (PFD report)

The report gives a summary of the facts of the murder investigation and lists six Matters of Concern addressed to the Metropolitan Police, National Police Chiefs' Council, College of Policing and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, covering

  • categorisation of suspicious, non-suspicious and unexplained deaths
  • interaction between specialist homicide investigators and local officers in determining ownership of investigation
  • leadership in responsibility over investigations of unexplained deaths
  • recording of investigation details on information systems
  • handwriting verification
  • need to verify identity of users of escort website
Although the disciplinary action is not in the remit of the coroner's inquest, the coroner points out to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) that the inquest has "exposed failings which were not identified by the IOPC in their investigation"

She also commends the IOPC report to upcoming reviews of the Metropolitan Police as containing a "valuable analysis of how assumptions, stereotyping and unconscious bias may have detrimentally affected the decision-making in these investigations and contributed to the failure to identify Stephen Port as a perpetrator sooner".

The LGBT+ Advisory Group is committed to working with the Metropolitan Police to address these concerns.

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