Stephen Port: Serial killer inquest jury could be asked about 'beliefs'

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Stephen PortImage source, Met Police
Image caption,
Port was given a whole life prison term for four murders

Prospective jurors at the inquest into the deaths of four gay men killed by Stephen Port could be quizzed on their "moral attitudes", a court has heard.

The 45-year-old serial killer was given a whole-life sentence having drugged, raped and murdered four men in east London between 2014 and 2015.

At a pre-inquest review, jury questions were discussed including whether a person's "beliefs" should be quizzed.

The full inquest is due to begin on 7 January next year.

Port was jailed in November 2016 for the deaths of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.

Two previous inquests which gave open conclusions were quashed after the trial heard Port faked a suicide note, implicating Mr Whitworth in the death of Mr Kovari.

The fresh inquest is expected to focus on possible police failings after the families of the victims questioned why the serial killer was not stopped sooner.

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

Speaking at the pre-inquest review, Paul Clark, for the victims' families, told the Old Bailey questions about a juror's beliefs were relevant as they were to look into whether there were "unjustified differences" in the way gay people were treated by police.

However, Peter Skelton QC, for the Met Police, said there was no general precedent for such a question to be put.

Andrew O'Connor QC, counsel to coroner Sarah Munro QC, advised her to consider the matter again at a further pre-inquest hearing likely to take place on 20 November.

He said it was "an important and sensitive issue and we must strive to make the right decision".

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Daniel Whitworth (left) was murdered a year before Jack Taylor (right) died

Mr O'Connor also said the inquest, expected to last nine weeks, would be moved from the Old Bailey to Barking Town Hall due to the number of people who are expected to be involved.

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