Michael Walker & Aaron Bastani
HORRIFIC Failings Of Met Police Allowed Serial Killer to Murder
Michael: Late in the summer of 2014, a body was found by a dog Walker in the grounds of Saint Margaret's Church in Barking. The body was that of 22 year old Gabriel Chavarria also known as Gabriel Klein. Just three weeks later another body was found. It was 21 year old Daniel Whitworth who was found by the very same dog Walker in the very same spot in the churchyard. Both men were gay. Both had died of GHB overdoses and both were found in the same position, propped up against the churchyard wall. Their T-shirts lifted up to expose their stomachs. Less than a year later, the body of a third Man, 25 year old Jack Taylor, was found. He was propped up on the other side of the churchyard wall. His T-shirt lifted up his midriff exposed. He, too, had died from a GHB overdose.
This Stephen Port, he was convicted. In 2016 of the murder, rape and poisoning of these three young men. He was sentenced to life in prison with a whole life order. He will never be released. It's a tragic sickening story about a vile murderer and young, innocent victims. It's also the one about police failure because Gabriel Kavari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor were not the first young men killed by Stephen Port. In June 2014, Port had raped and murdered Anton Wargate. He was aged 23 after killing Wallgate he dumped his body outside his flat, propped up against the wall with his belly exposed. After he dumped the body, he made this call to 999.
Operator: Emergency ambulance, what’s the address of the emergency?
Stephen: 47-58, Cook St. There’s a young boy, he’s collapsed, looks like he’s died.
Operator: Outside of which number?
Stephen: [inaudible] 47-58, Cook St.
Operator: 47 Cook St? What area?
Stephen: Barking. [Pause] It looks like he’s collapsed or had a seizure or something. I was just walking my dog.
Michael: That claim that he had nearly found the young boy outside was a lie, and after repeatedly changing his story, the police arrested port for perverting the course of justice. They never. Opened a murder investigation.
After the deaths of Kavari and Whitworth. That was, despite the urging of friends and family, the details of these later cases make that oversight on the part of the police almost unbelieve Trouble and there were multiple clues as to what was actually happening. Daniel Whitworth ports fired victim was found with what purported to be a suicide note. It read:
I am sorry to everyone, mainly my family, but I can't go on anymore. I took the life of my friend Gabriel Klein. We was just having some fun at a mates place. And I got carried away and gave him another shot of Gee, I didn't notice while we was having sex that he had stopped breathing. I tried everything to get him to breathe again, but it was too late. It was. An accident, but I blame myself for what happened and I didn't tell my family I went out. I know I would go to prison if I go to the police and I can't do that to my family. And at least this way I can at least be with Gabriel again. I hope he will forgive me.
The note finished by saying:
By the way, please do not blame the guy I was with last night. He only had sex then I left. He knows nothing of what I have done. I have taken what Gee I have left with sleeping pills so if it does kill me, it's what I deserve. Feeling dizzy now as took 10 min ago so hoping you understand my writing.
Michael: The guy he was with the night before was his killer Stephen Port and it was Port who wrote this fake suicide note which was intended to absolve him of not one but two murders. The police accepted it at face value. Whitworth's parents, for their part, never believed that the handwriting was that of their son. This didn't stop and Met Police officer from claiming at an earlier inquest that his father had confirmed it.
It later turned out that rather than consulting handwriting experts, as the police had promised, they simply compared the note to Whitworth's diary entry. Any discrepancies were put down to Whitworth, being in a strange state of mind when he wrote it. Even worse, Ricky Warmsley, who's Whitworth's partner, was not even allowed to see the note because, being with partner, was not enough to make him next of kin.
Whitworth’s Partner: I did ask if. I could see the letter myself, but the response I got was sorry you’re not next of kin, so we can't show. … Yeah, I believe it's a mixture of everything so. So they a bit of laziness, incompetence, lack of training. But I absolutely stand by that they were being homophobic towards these four victims. And making general assumptions that they're all gay, young gay men who take drugs and. They also, I believe, just looked at that letter and just took it at face value.
Michael: If Wormsley had been able to see that note and recognise it as a fake, it seems likely that the life of ports final victim Jack Taylor could have been saved. However, even after Taylor's death, the police initially refused to open a murder investigation. After these 4 deaths in the same neighbourhood in the same suspicious circumstances. It was only after the family of the final victim drew a connection between the four victims that the police were forced into action.
After initially dismissing their approaches, it was a month after Taylor's death that his family convinced the police to publish this CCTV image of Taylor and port walking together on the night of his death.
Almost immediately, someone in the force recognized port as known to them, the case was passed to the homicide team and two days later 16 months. After he took his first victim, port was arrested for murder.
Every detail of this story just gets more and more shocking. 3 young men died because the police wouldn't do the job they're paid to do, and we have to ask what made this possible? Well, the families of ports victims are clear… This is the sister [sic] of Jack Taylor:
Jenny Taylor: We was worried are the police doing their job? Why haven't they been in contact with us? … They had absolutely no support whatsoever because they're made of assumptions of what had happened to Jack. They just thought he had taken drugs. He'd overdose. There was. Nothing suspicious there.
Donna Taylor: Stephen Port took Jack's life… and was able to take Jack’s life, because that's the long and short of it… he was able to. He was allowed to. Because they could have caught him way before. If they’d looked into anything at all. Then they could have saved other lives.
Michael: Last Friday, an inquest into the depths of ports victims came to a close. The jury judged that astounding police failings probably contributed to the murders of the last three victims. The coroner, however, ruled that the jury could not make a judgement about. Whether the investigation was blighted by homophobia, the Met apparently fought tooth and nail to keep that issue out, the spokesman for the families had this to say:
Neil Hudgell: We are incensed by the police successful attempts to prevent the jury from examining whether prejudice played any part in the police actions. The caller did not rule that the police were not homophobic, and our position remains unchanged. Based on the treatment we received of firmly held belief is that the Metropolitan Police's actions were in part driven by homophobia.
Michael: Helen Ball, assistant Commissioner for the Met, denied that the countless errors in the investigation had anything at all to do with homophobia:
I don't think the met is institutionally homophobic. And I don't think that my colleagues are homophobic as well. I don't think that that has been an issue in these investigations. It was a range of different mistakes. Leads that weren't followed. Curiosity that perhaps wasn't quite there. Things that weren't tied up and understood to be contributing.
Michael: The excuses their, curiosity that wasn't quite there. Things that weren't tied up and understood to be contributing.
Aaron: You've got to start, I think, from what might seem counterintuitive, which is that the job of the police is not to solve crime. That might seem cancer intuitive. The job of the police. Historically, the reason why they. Were created was to maintain public order. And that is an argument you can find made you know repeatedly in in some pretty good scholarship on the matter. And if you look at actually the number of cases solved in the UK, I think now it's dismally low. It's terrifyingly low. But even if it's high watermark, I think in the early 20 tens you had. All this investment from New Labour. I think only about 15% of reported crimes were solved, reported crimes now about 7 1/2% I think. But but that that. Isn't really their job. Their job is to, you know, act as a certain kind of bureaucracy to process things quickly and.
There's a reason why. Crimes that happen often. Violent crimes. And you get nothing. More than a crime reference number. And yet when? There's a protest. You see dozens, if not hundreds of police somewhere, because public order is that that that reason? Etcetera and I think we do need as a society a a broader conversation around around what their role is, and I think sadly too many people have. Been taken in by the kind of media. Spectacle of you know crime dramas. And you know Netflix series and that that isn't really the bread and butter of what policing. Looks like and. This really horrific. I mean, this. Really horrific, not even I thought it was. It was this brazenly bad? Of course, we see it repeatedly in regards to race, and we've seen it with the Sarah override case and others with with regards to gender violence against women, you can go back to the mid 1990s, nineteen, 97. Of course, with Stephen Lawrence substantively. I don't think. That much has changed in. Terms of accountability and saying. You're not doing your job, you're not serving the public like you should and means to recourse and doing something about it and proper scrutiny and the default of both political parties to the. Police even in. Under Jeremy Corbyn and the media cover. Edge terrifying, absolutely terrifying.
This an organization. Let's talk about the London Metropolitan Police Service. Which has billions of pounds in its budget, has extraordinary authority over people's lives, is answerable to the Home Secretary, and yet there doesn't seem like basic mechanisms of accountability and scrutiny when it comes to things like this when it comes to whether or not they uphold the values, which is a society we care about. You think that's quite important and the thing is no politician wants to touch it. It's a hot potato because they see the cost as being too high. You don't start a political fight with the police. You don't call them out and things cause. You don't come out of that.
Michael: I assume there's a mixture of two things going on here, which is 1. As you said, the police aren't actually very good at investigating crime like this just incompetence after incompetence. After incompetence the other, I think the prejudice I mean, I presume there's some homophobia I believe the partner of of while the victims when he says that he would have been treated differently if they were in a heterosexual relationship. That seems entirely plausible. To me, I think. Probably you know the overarching story of what's going on here is that the police didn't think that these victims were real victims. No, they didn't really think that they were worth investigating. That was potentially partly because they were gay. I think it was probably a lot to do with that. They had overdosed. They hadn't overdosed on drugs, have been poisoned with drugs, but the police just read it as, oh, these are just gay. Guys who have chemsex they take dangerous drugs. It would be a waste of police time essentially for us to investigate this properly, so we're just going to push it over there. You know, loads of people fit into that category, but the drug takers, sex workers. People who are homeless, people from certain ethnic backgrounds, people who the police don't think it's their job to serve. Even if they. I think they serve you. Quite poorly, but these are the people that they don't even bother at all and that just seems like what has happened over and over again in this situation, which is they've just not felt like this a job they need to do, and it seems pretty clear that three young men died as a result.
The police knew that he had called 999 and lied. He had called 999 and said I found this guy unconscious in the street. Actually he dragged that guy out of his own room. That's the point when the flag should have been raised. On his computer there were all sorts of search terms which should have led them to recognise that there was a bigger story going on here. Some of the search terms which were on his computer, Sleeping, Boy, unconscious boys, drugged and raped, taking ***, *** drug, gay teen knocked out raped, guy raped and tortured young nude boy.
These searches were all made the day before. He killed his first victim. The police they seized his computer. They didn't bother looking if they had, I presume. They would have drawn the connection and the free young men would not have been killed. 3 young lives would have been saved. This also not just a story about police failure, it's a story about police failing to investigate themselves because there actually has already been a watchdog investigation into this case. It was completed in August. 2018 their full findings haven't been published yet, but in their summary. They write this:
We and their Metropolitan Police Service agree that officers did not have a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct. We also agreed the performance of nine officers fell below the standard required and they will need to undergo measures to ensure performance is improved.
So essentially, not no one did anything that. Wrong, but maybe we. Could send some of them on a training program. And Despite that, recognition of at least some failures, the Belfast time reports that none of the 17 officers involved were disciplined, and seven were even promoted.
So the IOPC, they didn't get any justice whatsoever. Basically sounds to me like it was a white wash, which as I say the whole thing hasn't been published. It's only once you get a jury investigation that the you know any of the truth starts to come out. Even then, what they can consider is, you know, limited by what the judge will allow them to consider not. Allowed to consider institutional homophobia. Do you see any route? Aaron by which? The Metropolitan Police changes. You know, if not this, what?
Aaron: Change would for the for the Metropolitan Police Service would have to come out of something which looks like or resembles an existential threat. Now how does the police respond to an existential threat. Well, we know they have more than 70 press officers. The Metropolitan Police Service. And they bombard journalists with a political line. They lobby them. To cover certain stories to not cover certain stories, to conceal certain data. What would happen with the political establishment? Well, they wouldn't say much that they did attack. The police the force of the tabloid media. The print media on them would be extraordinary, so we do have this. Complex in this country. The this Nexus of. Power between billionaire oligarch media between ultimately. A frightened political class at best. Even the good ones between a hugely well resourced organization, which is the Metropolitan Police Service. Other ones, of course. Greg's Manchester Police. W Midlands Police, Yorkshire Police, et cetera. But you know? The London met is a huge organization and. Like I say, by virtue of what would have to happen, their response is fight, not fight, it's fight.
You look at the Duggan event for instance, Mark Duggan killed by the police. You have riots as a response to that now. The instinct from the media and the political class and the Met was to say this was just 10s of thousands of people randomly decided to get violent and there were no deeper economic grievances. There are no deeper grievances with policing. More generally, you see it in the early 80s or riots in Brixton and Toxteth.
Yeah, some people started talking about community policing. It's not like it used to be. I'm sure it isn't like it used to be right, in terms of people getting the shit kicked out of them for doing nothing. I'm sure it happens far less than it used to where we know it happens far less than it used to and you hear about some of the stories. For instance, in regards to, I think. There's a police. Station in Boston in the 80s. A Special Branch. Scotland Yard and. How they were dealing with sort of political activists in the in the 70s and the 80s? Things have changed. Methods have changed. But no, I don't, I don't. Think they will. Ever face accountability, accountability and scrutiny for the London Metropolitan Police Service and other police forces? Looks like a threat. And that's. Problem here that's the problem. So you can't have growth or constructive criticism or progress.
You know, even somebody like Steven Lawrence's parents, Michael Steven Lawrence huge police failings. Everybody admits it. Even then, notwithstanding the Lawrence family were were monitored by undercover police officers for years afterwards. Christopher Alder, you know Janet Alder, his sister, pressed for justice for her, her brother Christopher, another black Briton. I think she she once said an event I spoke alongside her. She said I think they they discovered. I think 16-17 plainclothes officers had infiltrated her at some point during her life. Whether it was activist meetings or you know whatever trying to monitor what she was doing, she was trying to get justice for her brother Christopher. All that people are entitled to Google that name if they want to know more about his case.
So no, we won't. We won't because they see scrutiny as a threat, and they're aided and abetted. By the media and politicians in this country.
We may see change in some like Scotland or Wales because things are done a bit differently. But in terms of the centre of the British state, London reaching out no chance.