Serial killer Stephen Port's murder appeal fails

By Daniel De Simone
BBC News

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Stephen Port was given a whole life prison term for the murders of four young men

Serial killer Stephen Port has had an appeal against his murder convictions dismissed.

Port, now 43, was sentenced to a full life jail term in 2016 after being found guilty of four murders and a string of sexual offences against seven living victims.

The killer, from Barking, made his written submission to the Court of Appeal in August.

The families of Port's victims welcomed the dismissal.

Port's appeal was dismissed at the initial stage after a judge reviewed documentation in the case.

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Anthony Walgate (L) and Gabriel Kovari (R) were Port's first victims

It is understood Port appealed against his murder convictions, but not those for his sexual offending.

Between June 2014 and September 2015, Port murdered Anthony Walgate, 23, originally from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham.

Mandy Pearson, stepmother of Mr Whitworth, told the BBC the appeal was an "insult to us and to Daniel's memory".

She added: "We're overjoyed it was declined and was seen for what it was; a futile attempt by him and his support system to excuse himself from his appalling crimes and drag our boys' names through the mud in the process."

Donna Taylor, sister of Jack Taylor, said: "We as a family are happy it's been dismissed as the worry has not been fair on anyone."

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Daniel Whitworth (L) and Jack Taylor (R) were also killed by Port

Port was convicted by an Old Bailey jury after a seven-week trial in 2016, but police missed a series of chances to catch him sooner.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) recently concluded an investigation into potential misconduct by 17 Met Police officers who worked on the initial inquiries into the Port murders.

The IOPC report has been passed to the Met which is deciding how to respond to the watchdog's recommendations.

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