Published: 10:41, 15 November 2019
| Updated: 11:49, 15 November 2019
A pre-inquest review into the death of four men murdered by gay serial killer Stephen Port is starting today.
Port, who was dubbed the 'Grindr Killer', was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2016 for murdering Gravesend man Daniel Whitworth, 21, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Anthony Walgate, 23 and Jack Taylor, 25.
The convicted killer used gay social networks to trawl for victims, including Mr Whitworth whose body had been dumped in a churchyard in Essex in September 2014.
The 21-year-old chef and former Dartford Grammar School pupil had been drugged and raped.
At an inquest in June 2015 it was ruled Mr Whitworth and 22-year-old Gabriel Kovari, who was found in the same spot a month before, died after overdosing on GHB and methadone.
However, that verdict was quashed in 2017 after their deaths were linked to those of 23-year-old Anthony Walgate the previous year and 25-year-old Jack Taylor, who died in September 2015.
A suicide note found in Mr Whitworth's possession had been forged by Stephen Port - known as the Grindr Killer because of the dating app he used to meet his victims - who was jailed for life in November 2016 for murdering the four men.
Now a new pre-inquest review (PIR) is set to start at the Old Bailey today and will examine amongst other things, the scope of the inquest, the witnesses to be called, whether a jury will be appointed and the location of the inquests.
Her Honour Judge Sarah Munro QC has been appointed an Assistant Coroner for the East London coronial area and will sit as the coroner for the inquests.
Andrew Petherbridge, from Hudgell Solicitors is acting for the victims’ families, said: “Although none of these hearing are easy listening for the families, it is welcome news for them that the inquest process is underway.”
Mr Whitworth's family previously raised more than £12,000 to pay for top solicitors to oversee the proceedings and ensure they get answers.