Boyfriend of Stephen Port victim 'treated differently by Met Police because he is gay'

8 November 2021, 16:19 | Updated: 9 November 2021, 09:22

Serial killer Stephen Port
Serial killer Stephen Port. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The boyfriend of one of serial killer Stephen Port's victims says he was treated differently by police during the investigation because he is gay.

Ricky Waumsley told an inquest into his partner Daniel Whitworth's death that he felt excluded by Metropolitan Police detectives.

He said he was not allowed to see an apparent suicide note until the year after the young chef's death.

READ MORE: 'Sick of platitudes': Mother of murdered sisters tells Met Police to 'get the rot out'

He told jurors at Barking Town Hall on Monday: "If it was a straight couple I wouldn't have been pushed out as much as I was at the time.

"They dismissed me in every single way. I believe and I stand by it, it was because we were a gay unmarried couple."

Mr Whitworth's body was discovered in Barking, east London, on September 20, 2014, after Port gave him a fatal overdose of the drug GHB.

The serial killer left a fake suicide note on Mr Whitworth's body which falsely claimed he had taken his own life after accidentally killing another man, Gabriel Kovari - who was in fact another of Port's victims.

Mr Waumsley said the police should have verified the handwriting on the note more carefully, rather than just asking the 21-year-old's grieving parents.

He told the jury: "I just felt that they took the suicide note at face value. I believe they didn't do any more than that."

On September 30, 2014, Mr Waumsley visited the site where Mr Whitworth had been found with his father Adam and stepmother Amanda, who were unmarried at the time.

Police officers took Adam and Amanda off to discuss the investigation privately without Mr Waumsley, which he said "really pissed me off and made me feel pushed out by the police".

On police refusing to show him the suicide note, he added: "I was really angry because he was my partner of four years and I wanted to see what he had to say for himself."

When he eventually saw the note, he said it was "really impersonal", did not mention any family members and he could not be sure it was his partner's handwriting.

During a 2015 inquest it also emerged that officers had not DNA tested the bed sheet on which Mr Whitworth had been found, or the drugs bottle that was discovered with his body.

There was also some bruising on his chest that suggested manual handling but this had not been investigated.

Mr Waumsley told police that Mr Whitworth had never done drugs apart from one joint in Amsterdam, and that he had never heard of the drug GHB before the young chef died.

But when Mr Whitworth's stepmother Amanda asked the police what the drug was, they had told her to ask Mr Waumsley "because he should know".

Jurors were read part of a witness statement he gave to the police watchdog in 2017, then called the Independent Police Complaints Commission, that said: "I didn't understand how they could just brush her question off and say that a typical gay person would know about drugs like that."

The jury heard from Acting Detective Inspector Schamberger, who attended the special post-mortem examination carried out on Mr Whitworth's body on September 23, 2014, with acting Detective Sergeant Stuart Denley.

In notes following the procedure, Mr Denley made reference to bruising found on Mr Whitworth's underarms that the pathologist said could be consistent with being carried or moved before or after death.

But the officer instead put forward the idea that the marks could have occurred during rough sex, and wrongly claimed that Mr Whitworth "clearly led a double life that his partner knew nothing of".

The pathologist "strongly recommended" that officers have the bedsheet on which Mr Whitworth was found examined and the handwriting on the note confirmed.

But Mr Schamberger told the jury he did not remember this being said, simply that it should be checked if Daniel had a pen that matched the ink used on the note.

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

Inquests into the men's deaths are now being heard to determine whether lives could have been saved had police acted differently.