Father of serial killer's victim denies confirming son's suicide note to police

Daniel Whitworth
Daniel Whitworth was the third young man to be murdered by Stephen Port Credit: PA

The father of the youngest victim of serial killer Stephen Port has denied telling police a fake suicide note planted by the killer was written by his son.

Kent chef Daniel Whitworth, 21, was the third victim of Port's 16-month killing spree in London between June 2014 and September 2015.

He was killed by an overdose of date rape drug GHB and left in a churchyard near the killer's flat in Barking, east London, in June 2014.

A fake suicide note Port planted on Whitworth’s body appeared to take responsibility for the death of Gabriel Kovari, Port's second victim who was found dead in the same churchyard a few weeks before, an inquest at Barking Town Hall has heard.

A fake suicide note written by serial killer Stephen Port Credit: PA

Giving evidence on Thursday, Daniel Whitworth’s father Adam and stepmother Amanda denied telling police the suicide note was written by him.

Detective Constable Yinka Adeyemo-Phillips has previously given evidence to say Adam Whitworth confirmed the handwriting was Daniel’s.

But Mr Whitworth said: “I definitely did not say it was.

"She said, ‘Is this Daniel’s handwriting?’, and I said… ‘I cannot confirm it is Daniel’s handwriting, I don’t know’."

Whitworth told jurors his first reaction on learning about the suicide note was that police "could have got the wrong person".

"They said, ‘No, we have got documents. He’s been identified’," he told jurors.

L-R: Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari Credit: PA

An earlier inquest into Daniel Whitworth’s death led to an open conclusion but police refused to reopen the investigation, jurors heard.

The couple told the hearing they were unhappy that police did not follow up more leads despite their concerns and described the investigation into their son's death as “shoddy”.

Adam Whitworth told jurors he tried to find out more information from the Barking and Dagenham Post and raised his concerns with police.

"I was not there myself as a handwriting expert, I saw this note for five or 10 minutes," he said.

"I was desperate to see that note. I was there to read through it and see what it is all about, checking the handwriting was not my top priority."

Mr Whitworth said he felt under “pressure” to confirm it was genuine but he assumed it would be examined by a handwriting expert.

Stephen Port was found guilty at the Old Bailey in 2016 of murdering four men and sentenced to a whole life order Credit: PA

He said he pointed out there was nothing in the note that identified it as his son’s – no words or phrases he would use or personal information.

After the earlier inquest, the victim’s grandmother Barbara Whitworth voiced concern there must have been a “third party” involved and his partner Ricky Waumsley was “very angry” and thought the police had not done their job properly, jurors heard.

In 2016, Port, now aged 46, was found guilty of murdering Anthony Walgate, 23, Mr Kovari, 22, Mr Whitworth, 21, and final victim Jack Taylor, 25, between June 2014 and September 2015.