The family members of victims murdered by gay serial killer Stephen Port will launch action against the Met Police over the failings in the case.
The 41-year-old chef was convicted 21 November of the murders of Anthony Walgate, a 23-year-old from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Slovakia, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham.
In all, he was found guilty of a total of 22 offences against 11 men including four murders, four rapes, 10 counts of administering a substance and four sex assaults.
The force is being investigated into the handling of the case and 17 officers are facing investigation into possible misconduct.
Many questioned, after a series of similar deaths, whether a serial killer was targeting young gay men but at the time police said the deaths were unconnected.
Port met victims on a variety of dating apps and websites, invited them to his flat in Dagenham, poisoned them with GHB, raped them and then dumped their bodies close to his flat.
He forged a sham suicide note and put it on the body of Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Kent, taking the blame for 22-year-old Gabriel Kovari’s death, saying he gave him too much GHB at a party.
Jurors heard how police treated Whitworth’s death ‘at face value’, and made no efforts to verify the note which turned out to be in Port’s handwriting.
Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, relatives of the victims vowed to sue the police as they believed Port was allowed to carry on young gay innocent lives.
Amanda Pearson, Daniel Whitworth’s stepmother, said the police were determined to treat his death as a drug-related overdose.
She said: ‘Daniel wasn’t a party boy… [the police] didn’t want to know about the personality of my son, they didn’t want to know really, they had made up their minds and that came across.
‘We were in the dark, I found out most of the things we needed to know at a public inquest five or six months after his death.
‘They were very difficult to get hold of, the police. Our liaison officer basically didn’t liaise and that’s my take on it.’
Jack Taylor’s sisters Donna and Jenny said: ‘Stephen Port obviously took Jack’s life but we feel that the police didn’t do their jobs, with any of the families.
‘As far as we’re concerned, they have played a massive part in Jack’s death because if they had done their jobs properly, Jack would still be here today.
‘There is no other way of looking at that and we feel we want them to be held accountable. We want the answers of why they didn’t do this, didn’t do that.”
‘We kept saying to [the police] from the start if this was a woman you’d be doing a lot more than what you are.’
Anthony Walgate’s mother Sarah Sak said: ‘I keep thinking this: If they were four girls would it have been different?
‘If Anthony had been a 23-year-old girl and then Gabriel and then Daniel, if they had all been girls in that area found in suspicious circumstances I think there would have been a lot more media coverage as well and a massive part of this investigation by the police was homophobic, I really do think that.’