Senior officer expresses regret over mistakes made in Stephen Port investigation


senior police officer has expressed regret that he did not push harder for specialist murder detectives to take over the investigation into the death of Anthony Walgate Stephen Port’s first victim.

Mr Walgate, a 23-year-old fashion student, was found dead outside Port’s flat in Barking east London on June 19 2015 after being given a fatal dose of GHB.

Port had alerted emergency services anonymously, claiming he was a passer-by, and then lied to police about the circumstances of Mr Walgate’s death.

On June 26, Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Tony Kirk emailed senior colleagues saying the force had a duty to Mr Walgate’s friends and family to get to the bottom of what happened.

I feel we as an organisation have a duty to his friends and family to get to the bottom of his death

The borough CID commander wrote: “Anthony Walgate appears to be organised and experienced in his activities and has a group of friends who are obviously concerned at the manner in which he has died as, I am sure, so are his parents and family.

“I feel we as an organisation have a duty to his friends and family to get to the bottom of his death in what are increasingly suspicious circumstances.”

Mr Kirk’s lawyer, Richard Atchley, asked what he was hoping to achieve.

He replied: “I hoped the superintendent and MIT (murder investigation team) would accept my rationale and take on the investigation.”

He said that did not happen and none of the people he had emailed responded.

Mr Atchley asked: “Did you feel as acting DCI you were in a position to push it further at that time?”

Mr Kirk replied: “No.”

His lawyer continued: “With the benefit of hindsight, do you wish you had done so?”

The witness replied: “Yes.”

From left: Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari (Metropolitan Police/PA) / PA Media

Mr Kirk told the court that staff had been “stressed” and “overworked”, with some reduced to tears, creating an atmosphere in which errors are made.

There were mistakes in sharing intelligence with colleagues about a previous allegation against Port, not instructing a search on the police national database (PND) about him, and not sending his laptop off for scrutiny until nearly a year after he first struck, jurors have heard.

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