Statement on the findings of the inquest into the murders committed by Stephen Port by Monty Moncrieff MBE, CEO, London Friend
Failures by the Metropolitan Police investigating the murders of four gay men in Barking “probably” contributed to the deaths of three of them, an inquest has found.
The East London Inquests investigated the crimes of Stephen Port, a serial killer who is currently serving a life sentence. He incapacitated his victims by administering the drug GHB/GBL to murder four gay men and sexually assault several others. Police missed opportunities to link the murders and to prevent Port killing again.
We are saddened and angered by the inquest’s findings and by the Metropolitan Police’s failings to properly investigate these crimes or to protect London’s LGBT communities, even as concerns were being raised to them. The Metropolitan Police must now show leadership to improve how they support LGBT people and build trust.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of Port’s victims - Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor – and with those who are survivors of Port’s appalling crimes.
GHB/GBL is a drug used frequently – and consensually – by gay and bisexual men for chemsex, to enhance and prolong sex. A very small amount of the drug produces desired effects, but even a tiny amount more can mean a user becomes unconscious and a larger amount can be fatal.
Port administered the drug without his victim’s knowledge or consent, but even where drugs are taken willingly users face risks of accidental overdose. This increases the risk of crimes such as sexual assault or robbery where a user is unaware of what is happening around them, or unable to respond to it. Used long-term, GHB/GBL can also cause chronic dependence. Information about the risks can be found here; we urge anyone using GHB/GBL consensually to be informed about dosing and risk.
Since Port’s crimes were uncovered, we have worked with Metropolitan Police officers supporting victims of sexual assault to improve their knowledge of drug use within LGBT communities. We welcome the Met’s Project Sagamore initiative to tackle the rising incidence of chemsex-related offending.
However, there is much still to do for the Metropolitan Police to address the catastrophic errors made in this case, and it is vital they work with LGBT communities and listen to our concerns.
LGBT people also need to feel that they can report sexual assault and other crimes even where these occur in settings where chemsex and other drug use occurs. We applaud the work of partner organisations such as Galop, Survivors UK, Survivors Manchester and The Havens in London to improve the response and support offered to LGBT victims of sexual assault.
Our Antidote service offers support to gay and bisexual men experiencing difficulties with chemsex, and to all LGBT people affected by alcohol or other drugs in London. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to self-refer.