Published: 13:00, 28 November 2017
The inquest verdict into the death of a Gravesend man murdered by a gay serial killer has today been quashed.
In June 2015 senior coroner for East London Nadia Persaud ruled that Daniel Whitworth, of Nine Elms Road, and Gabriel Kovari died after overdosing on GHB and methadone the previous summer.
They were both found dead in the same Barking churchyard within a month of each other and a suicide note found in 21-year-old Mr Whitworth's possession claimed he blamed himself after accidentally administering a fatal dose of GBH to his lover Mr Kovari during an orgy.
That was before their deaths had been linked to those of Anthony Walgate the previous year and Jack Taylor, who died in September 2015.
Stephen Port — known as the Grindr killer because of the dating app he used to meet his victims — has since been jailed for life for the four murders.
The "suicide note" had been forged by him.
The 41-year-old chef was also convicted of 10 offences of administering a substance with intent, four rapes and four sexual assaults.
The Metropolitan Police is investigating 58 deaths linked to the drugs in the last four years.
In the wake of the verdict, the families' lawyers requested the open verdicts into the pair's deaths be quashed and Ms Persaud made an application to the High Court.
Today Mr Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice Green approved the application.
Lawyers will now apply for their inquests to held held alongside Mr Walgate's and Mr Taylor's.
The inquests will resume after the conclusion of an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the actions of 17 officers during the initial response to the deaths.
Civil liberties and police action specialist Andrew Petherbridge, of Hudgell Solicitors, is representing the four families.
He says: “This is another important step in the families’ fight for justice. We’re very grateful to the coroner for her intervention.
"Holding all four inquests together for Gabriel, Daniel, Anthony and Jack, will help identify if institutional failings and discrimination within the Metropolitan Police Service played any roles in their deaths.”
Mandy Pearson, stepmother of former Dartford Grammar pupil Mr Whitworth, said: “This is an important start to getting some of the many wrongs concerning Daniel’s death corrected. The very least we can do for Daniel is to get the facts about his death recorded correctly and, with a new inquest we are hopeful we can do that for him and for Gabriel, Anthony and Jack.”