Stephen Port detective describes regret over serial killer's laptop ‘failing’

Stephen Port, who was jailed for four murders in east London Credit: Met Police

A senior police officer said he regretted not sending serial killer Stephen Port’s laptop for analysis in the days after the predator first struck.

Detective Constable David Parish told the inquest into Port’s four victims he had spent the years since Anthony Walgate was discovered dead outside Port’s home in June 2014 going over his actions.

The machine was sent to forensic scientists for scrutiny 10 months later, but it was not until June 2015 that Mr Parish was given a USB stick containing all the material found on it.

The stick showed repeated searches for drug rape videos and date rape drugs just before Port messaged Mr Walgate proposing he visit overnight in exchange for £800.

Anthony Walgate, one of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port Credit: Met Police

In another message on the FitLads website, before he met Mr Walgate, Port bragged about previously meeting a man who was on drugs and was like “a ragdoll”.

However, Mr Parish did not spot the material and reported only on selfies, sex videos and dating site messages on the laptop relating to Port’s “lifestyle”.

Mr Parish apologised for his actions as he gave evidence at the inquest into the deaths of the four young gay men, at Barking Town Hall, yards from where Port fatally drugged them with GHB over a 16-month period.

The officer was asked by inquest jurors on Thursday whether he felt “personally responsible for the failings”.

He replied: “Some of the things I was asked to do (on the investigation) I wasn’t trained in.

“I could have had more training.

“But in terms of the laptop – for the last seven-and-a-half years I wish I could have done that.

“And that is something I have to deal with.”

Stephen Port being interviewed by police Credit: Met Police

The hearings are looking at whether the victims’ lives could have been saved had police acted differently.

Mr Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, were all found dead near Port’s flat.

Port initially lied and pretended not to know who first victim Mr Walgate was, and was arrested for perverting the course of justice on June 27, 2014.

Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor Credit: Met Police

Port, now 46, was found guilty at the Old Bailey in 2016 of the four murders and sentenced to a whole life order.

The hearings continue.