The sisters of one of the victims of Stephen Port have responded to news that Metropolitan Police Service officers are being investigated for gross misconduct.
On Thursday (16 November) the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced eight officers – five current and three former – are being looked at.
In a statement shared with Attitude on Thursday, Donna and Jenny Taylor and their mum, Jeanette, said the news “has made us feel grateful that someone is finally taking this seriously.”
They added that they, their brother Jack Taylor as well as the other victims – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, and Daniel Whitworth – and their families “are now finally being treated as human beings instead of just numbers. This should have happened from the start.”
All four men were in their twenties when they were killed by Port between June 2014 and September 2015. Port was eventually arrested and given a life sentence in 2016.
Continuing, the Taylors said: “We sat through eight weeks of the trial and eight weeks of the inquest, every single day and we listened to every piece of evidence. We know that Jack should still be here if the officers had done their jobs properly. We live this nightmare every day and we will do for the rest of our lives.
“At the end of the day, Stephen Port killed Jack and the other boys, but the police have blood on their hands”
While Thursday’s announcement means officers will be investigated, the IOPC noted that “this does not necessarily mean disciplinary proceedings will automatically follow.”
Recognising this, the Taylors said they hope officers are disciplined and that “people are held accountable for letting people lose their lives and leaving families left heartbroken.”
They closed: “We will not stop fighting for justice and change because we do not want another family to have to go through what we have.”
The two sisters took a leading role in establishing connections between the deaths of the four men. All four men were found in or near the same graveyard in Barking. The sisters’ investigative work eventually encouraged the police to look at the links and arrest Port.
Speaking to Attitude for the Awards issue Jenny Taylor said: “At the end of the day, Stephen Port killed Jack and the other boys, but the police have blood on their hands. They’ve played a part in people’s deaths because they could have stopped that.”
In 2022, the IOPC announced it was reinvestigating the way the case was originally handled by the MPS. That followed new evidence coming to light from a 2021 inquest which concluded MPS failings “probably” contributed to the deaths of three of Port’s victims.
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