The country’s police officer has admitted for the first time serial killer Stephen Port who murdered four young gay men could have been caught sooner.
Stephen Port, 41, was jailed for life for murdering Anthony Walgate, a 23-year-old from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Slovakia, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham over a 15 month period.
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.
Families of the victims have said if officers had done their jobs, Port could have been stopped before he killed them all.
Outgoing Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted mistakes had been made.
He said: ‘We should have spotted earlier there was something wrong there.
‘No-one put the connection together at the time. It just wasn’t realized there was a connection between the events and each of the events didn’t have an obvious suspicious element.”’
Port had been implicated in the death of Walgate in 2014, but was left free to kill three more times. He planted suicide notes which police took on face value.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘If four young middle class women had been murdered in Mayfair, I believe the police would have made a public appeal much sooner and mounted a far more comprehensive investigation.
‘The killing of low income gay men in working class Barking was treated very differently.’
Sir Bernard told LBC radio yesterday: ‘In retrospect, it looks obvious but at the time each officer had to deal with the circumstances they found.’
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 in the same churchyard close to his flat.