January 03, 2020
The families of four young gay men murdered by serial killer Stephen Port will be represented by a barrister who fought for the victims of Grenfell Tower.
Serial Killer Stephen Port: Inquests Delayed So Grenfell Barrister Can Represent Victims Families
Leslie Thomas QC will represent the families of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25 at an inquest to begin next week.
They were all drugged and raped by Port, who then dumped their bodies near his home in Barking, east London, between 2014 and 2015.A full inquest into all four deaths is expected to focus on possible failings by police after the victims’ families questioned why Port was not stopped sooner. It will open on the first Monday in January 2021.
The delay is “frustrating” for the families of Port’s victims, but is necessary as Thomas is currently working on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He has previously represented 11 of the 96 families whose loved ones died in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster and worked on the Mark Duggan inquest and judicial review. 
A spokesperson for the families told HuffPost UK: “An earlier date was mooted for the inquest, but Mr Thomas was unavailable. The families wanted Mr Thomas to represent them so they were content to wait for the 2021 date.”  
Speaking in November at pre-inquest review hearing, Thomas called for the coroner to confirm she would call a jury for the full inquest.
He said: “Arguably there is a lot the police could and should have done.”Judge Sarah Munro QC, sitting as assistant coroner for east London, said: “I have concluded that I do have reason to suspect that the deaths resulted from the acts or omissions of police or police officers.” But she added: “There must be a jury inquest.”
Andrew Petherbridge, the lawyer from Hudgell Solicitors acting for the victims’ families, said: “The families were very pleased to hear the coroner say that she will sit with a jury. It is what they have always wanted.
“And while any delay to the inquest starting is frustrating for the families, they at least will have the legal team in place that they want and can now look forward with some certainty.”
Port, now 45, was handed a whole life sentence for the murders following a trial at the Old Bailey.Related... Who Were The Four Men Murdered By The 'Grindr Killer' Stephen Port? Serial Killer's Former Drug Dealer Found Guilty Of Chemsex Murder
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