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October 21, 2015

Recorder sets 2016 dates for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

Recorder sets 2016 dates for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, today set a provisional timetable in the case against Stephen Port, an alleged serial killer. January 9 was set for a plea and case management hearing. The trial has been scheduled for April 2016.

File photo of the Old Bailey in London, scene of today’s hearing.
Image: Nevilley.

Port, 40, attended the hearing from HMP Pentonville via videolink. He spent the ten-minute hearing looking down, and spoke only to confirm his identity. He wore a bright yellow and green prison-issued uniform designed to make him highly visible should he escape.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have given overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

He was charged on Sunday. On Monday he appeared before a Magistrates’ Court which sent the case to today’s hearing at the famed Old Bailey courthouse. Port has not applied for bail and remains in custody.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths a week ago on Wednesday, when they were passed to serious crime investigators.

Three of the deaths occurred last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at the inquest.

Port was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death. Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.”



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Judge sets 2016 trial date for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

Judge sets 2016 trial date for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, today set a provisional timetable in the case against Stephen Port, an alleged serial killer. January 9 was set for a plea and case management hearing. The trial has been scheduled for April 2016, and is currently expected to last four weeks.

File photo of the Old Bailey in London, scene of today’s hearing.
Image: Nevilley.

Port, 40, attended the hearing from HMP Pentonville via videolink. He spent the ten-minute hearing looking down, and spoke only to confirm his identity. He wore a bright yellow and green prison-issued uniform designed to make him highly visible should he escape.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have given overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

He was charged on Sunday. On Monday he appeared before a Magistrates’ Court which sent the case to today’s hearing at the famed Old Bailey courthouse. Port has not applied for bail and remains in custody.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths a week ago on Wednesday, when they were passed to serious crime investigators.

Three of the deaths occurred last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at the inquest.

Port was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death. Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.”



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October 20, 2015

London serial murder accused Stephen Port makes first court appearance

London serial murder accused Stephen Port makes first court appearance

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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A London man charged on Sunday with drugging and murdering four men made his first court appearance yesterday. Stephen Port, 40, was remanded to appear before a higher court tomorrow.

The revolving sign outside Metropolitan Police HQ.
Image: “Man vyi”.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have administered overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

Three of the deaths were last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at inquest. The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police did not initially link the deaths.

Special needs teacher Port, who was guarded by three officers in the dock, spoke in court to confirm his identity. He did not indicate if he will deny the offences. He was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death.

Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.” The four deaths were finally linked and passed to the Metropolitan Police’s serious crime investigators on Wednesday last week.

The Magistrates’ Court ordered Taylor to appear at the Old Bailey, a famed London courthouse, tomorrow. He spent the hearing holding one arm, and repeatedly looking at the floor, whilst clad in a grey tracksuit given to him by the authorities holding him.


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December 19, 2013

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins sentenced to 29 years in prison for attempting to rape baby

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins sentenced to 29 years in prison for attempting to rape baby

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

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Ian Watkins in 2007.
Image: Lprandyb.

Ian Watkins, frontman of Welsh rock group Lostprophets, was sentenced to 29 years in prison yesterday for his involvement in a series of sex-related offences involving children. He pleaded guilty to offences including attempted rape and sexual assault, conspiracy to rape a child, sexual assault of a child, possession of indecent images of children, and possession of an extreme pornographic image involving sex with an animal.

Watkins had pleaded guilty to the offences along with two others, the mothers of two of the children he abused. The two women — who are being kept anonymous to protect the identity of their children — were jailed for 14 and 17 years respectively.

Watkins is to be eligible for release after two-thirds of his prison sentence, and is to spend six years on licence.

Mr Justice Royce, in his sentencing remarks, said the actions of the defendants “plunged new depths of depravity”. He also said: “Any decent person looking at and listening to the material here will experience shock; revulsion; anger and incredulity.”

The sentencing remarks detail text messages sent between Watkins and one of the mothers planning to abuse children, as well as giving the infant in their care methyl amphetamines. The evidence, according to the judge, “is a dreadful catalogue of abuse of a previously innocent boy to satisfy your own interests and lusts.” In other communications, Watkins planned to turn the life of the other defendant’s child into “a life of filth”.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle from the South Wales Police said investigating Watkins’ actions exposed him to “the most disturbing child abuse evidence” of his police career.

Following his guilty plea but before his sentencing, Watkins discussed his sentencing with a friend via telephone. The singer told his friend: “I’m going to put a statement on [December] 18th now just to say it was megalolz, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about.” Lolz is a variant form of LOL — laugh out loud.

He also told his friend: “You know I plead[sic] guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising ‘Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty’ but I would never harm anybody.” Watkins’ “mega lolz” comment was the front page story today in the taboid newspaper The Sun.

Investigation into Watkins’ activities continue, as do attempts to seek more possible victims. There are also investigations going on by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into how police failed to pick up on Watkins’ activities before 2012.



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October 18, 2013

UK politicians weigh in as \’Plebgate\’ affair reopens

UK politicians weigh in as ‘Plebgate’ affair reopens

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Friday, October 18, 2013

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Andrew Mitchell in 2011.
Image: Chatham House.

Following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruling on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior British politicians have criticised the actions of three police forces in England for allegedly covering up the behaviour of police officers involved in the investigation of former Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell.

Andrew Mitchell resigned from his job in the Cabinet as Chief Whip following an incident in September 2012 at Downing Street. Mitchell had been told he could not ride his bicycle in Downing Street. The next day, The Sun newspaper reported Mitchell had sworn at the police officers and called them “plebs“. Mitchell agreed he had been rude to the officers and apologised but denied he had used the word “plebs”. A police log was later leaked to The Daily Telegraph which claimed Mitchell had told the officers to “learn [their] fucking place” and referred to them as “fucking plebs”.

The current controversy regards a meeting between Andrew Mitchell and officers and representatives of the Police Federation, the union for police officers. The officers claim Mitchell did not disclose the precise words he said during the altercation. A tape by Mitchell has since emerged of this meeting which casts doubt on this claim.

An investigation by the IPCC ruled on Tuesday that the officers involved should face gross misconduct proceedings as there was evidence they had deliberately set out to discredit Mitchell. The report, and the revelation that Mitchell’s taped version of the conversation does not match the police accounts, has led to senior figures in the government to call for the Police to apologise to Mitchell.

Despite internal recommendations, the chief constables of the relevant police forces — West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire — have rejected the call for misconduct hearings.

David Cameron said of Mitchell: “He is owed an apology. The conduct of these officers was not acceptable.”

Nick Clegg said on his LBC radio show it was “perfectly legitimate for Andrew Mitchell to feel pretty sore” for the behaviour of the police officers.

Conservative minister Greg Clark told the BBC that David Cameron should reinstate Mitchell. Home Secretary Theresa May said the behaviour of the police in the Mitchell affair threatened the public’s trust in the police.

Sir Hugh Orde from the Association of Chief Police Officers said the chief constables need to be given chance to explain their reasons for not engaging in further disciplinary action: “It seems to me in this case there is no issue that the finding by the police service was the officers’ behaviour fell below the standard. The question is the quantum of seriousness and I think that’s why the chief constables are clearly determined to explain that.”

Next week, the chief constables are to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss their decisions.



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August 13, 2011

David Cameron responds to rioting, promises changes on policing

David Cameron responds to rioting, promises changes on policing

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

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Metropolitan Police in Lewisham preparing for the riots.
Image: Stuart Bannocks.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that a change in police strategy is appropriate following what many feel to be an inadequate response to the rioting that has overrun many cities across England. Riots started in Tottenham on Saturday night after the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old taxi driver who the Independent Police Complaints Commission state was in possession of a handgun, but did not fire it.

During the Parliamentary debate on the riots, David Milliband, the Labour leader, called on Cameron to reconsider cuts to police budgets. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne described the communities where the rioting occurred as being “left behind” and “cut-off from the economic life-blood of the rest of the country”, and called for solutions to the “deep-seated social problems”

One avenue the Prime Minister is said to be considering is changing regulations on social media services like Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger, the latter being used to communicate between groups of rioters. The Open Rights Group and Big Brother Watch came out in opposition to any plans to restrict communication using social media, with Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group warning that such regulation would be abused by the police and private companies.

In Southampton, England, three people were arrested by police for the suspicion of using Twitter or BlackBerry Messenger to encourage the rioting. The government is “working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” said Cameron.

The Prime Minister also announced that he would consider using the army to support the police in controlling future rioting, and also that he would consult with William J. Bratton, CBE, who had been the chief of police in Los Angeles and a police commissioner in New York City and Boston. Bratton is quoted as saying that arrests are not the only way to solve societal problems which lead to rioting and unrest: “You can’t arrest your way out of the problem.”



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  • “Rioting develops throughout England” — Wikinews, August 9, 2011

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August 9, 2011

Rioting develops throughout England

Rioting develops throughout England – Wikinews, the free news source

Rioting develops throughout England

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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A fireman puts out a fire in Tottenham caused by rioters.
Image: Christophe Maximin.

Rioting, theft, vandalism and other acts of violence are currently occurring in various cities throughout England. There is a substantial rioting problem, primarily in the capital of London, which has spread to the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham.

David Cameron, the current UK Prime Minister, condemned the violent acts, referring to them as “sickening”, proclaiming that those involving themselves the incident “will feel the full force of the law”. At least 563 individuals have been arrested in relation to these incidents. He also reported that Parliament is to be recalled this Thursday. The number of police officers in London tonight is to be increased from six thousand to sixteen thousand, the Prime Minister said, with any pre-arranged leave being abandoned.

The riots were sparked by the fatal shooting by police of 29-year-old Mark Duggan on Thursday in Tottenham, during the planned arrest of Duggan as part of anti-gun unit Operation Trident. Reports from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) claimed that Duggan had been shot in retaliation, however the IPCC later admitted there is no evidence that Duggan shot at the police. On Sunday, a peaceful protest in Tottenham held by Duggan’s family and friends sparked a series of disturbances in the area, which quickly became a violent riot, with youths from the area looting and clashing with Police.

For three consecutive days, London has experienced what the Metropolitan Police have referred to as “copycat criminal activity”. Hundreds of arrests have now occurred, with 105 individuals having been charged for a variety of crimes. The Metropolitan Police are now contemplating the concept of using plastic bullets as a disciplinary method within the riots. As of yet, English police have never used such a weapon in this context.



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March 15, 2011

Reggae singer Smiley Culture dies during police raid in Surrey, England

Reggae singer Smiley Culture dies during police raid in Surrey, England

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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Emmanuel died in a raid by the Metropolitan police force.

David Emmanuel, a British reggae singer known as Smiley Culture, has died during a police raid at his home in Surrey, England. The singer is believed to have died from a stab wound when the Metropolitan police arrived at his house at 07:00 (GMT). Emmanuel, aged 48, was due to face trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine next week.

It is unclear how Emmanuel received the stab wound but investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission are looking to see if it was self-inflicted. Mike Franklin, the South East IPCC commissioner, released a statement saying “We will be looking into the planning of the arrest, the way in which it was carried out and the actions of all the officers who were present at the time of the incident.”

A spokesman at Scotland Yard made a statement, “As part of an ongoing operation, officers from the Metropolitan police service’s serious and organised crime command attended a residential address in east Surrey to carry out an arrest warrant. While they were at the address, an incident occurred during which a 48-year-old man died. Officers from Surrey police attended the incident and it has been formally referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”

Emmanuel reached fame during the 1980s. His two biggest hits were “Cockney Translation” and “Police Officer”, the latter reaching number 12 in the UK singles chart.



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January 22, 2011

Police officer charged over double-death crash in Luton, UK

Police officer charged over double-death crash in Luton, UK

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Bedfordshire Police car, from file

Police Constable Kerry Smith, 24, has been charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving over a crash last year in Luton, UK. PC Smith was based in the town at the time and works for Bedfordshire Police.

Smith is accused in the June 4 deaths of Reda Lecheheb and Sidali Melal on Leagrave Road. Both were pedestrians.

The crash was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC said yesterday that Smith will appear before St Albans Magistrates’ Court on February 9.



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December 28, 2010

Gunman dies, police officer injured after stand-off ends in West Yorkshire, England

Gunman dies, police officer injured after stand-off ends in West Yorkshire, England

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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Correction — March 21, 2014
 
Kirkheaton is not a part of Huddersfield. It is a village nearby.
 

A gunman has been killed and a police officer hospitalised following a stand-off in West Yorkshire, England which concluded this morning. The gunman, who, according to police, “continually” fired at officers, sustained serious injuries after police returned fire; he died in hospital.

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where the incident occurred.
Image: Richard Harvey.

Police attended a property in Kirkheaton, Huddersfield yesterday, to arrest a man for allegedly threatening a person at a nearby property. Upon their arrival, the man inside fired with a handgun from his doorstep at police, injuring one officer. Armed police then surrounded the building.

Reports suggest the gunman fired on police throughout the stand-off, which involved negotiators. Around 0530 GMT armed police returned fire, seriously injuring the gunman. He was transported to hospital where he later died. “There were three loud bangs—possibly gunfire,” a news cameraman said. “Then the police started shouting and I heard them smashing glass as they went into the house. They were shouting at the gunman to show them his hands.”

Cquote1.svg Then the police started shouting and I heard them smashing glass as they went in to the house. They were shouting at the gunman to show them his hands. Cquote2.svg

—News cameraman

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police confirmed the stand-off had come to an end. “The man produced a gun and fired at the officers. A male officer in his 20s was hit and attended hospital for minor injuries,” he said. “We regret that the incident at the house did not conclude peacefully as we had hoped and can confirm that the man taken to hospital from the address has now died.”

The road remains closed as the investigation continues. Neighbours said they were shocked; one said about eight or nine shots were fired throughout the night. “The police then just told us to stay inside but I could see what was going on opposite,” he said. “Loads of police turned up—some carrying machine guns. They lit the house up like a Christmas tree and the armed police were behind hedges.” The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate.



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