QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE GREEN
|HER MAJESTY'S SENIOR CORONER FOR THE EASTERN AREA OF GREATER LONDON||Applicant|
|- and -|
|THE FAMILY OF MR DANIEL WHITWORTH|
|THE FAMILY OF MR GABRIEL KOVARI||Interested Parties|
(Incorporating Beverley F. Nunnery & Co.)
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This transcript has been approved by the Judge.
MR L THOMAS, QC appeared on behalf of the Interested Parties.
Crown Copyright ©
LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:
The legislative framework:
"(1) This section applies where, on an application by or under the authority of the Attorney-General, the High Court is satisfied as respects a coroner ("the coroner concerned") either -
(a) that he refuses or neglects to hold an inquest or an investigation which ought to be held; or
(b) where an inquest or an investigation has been held by him, that (whether by reason of fraud, rejection of evidence, irregularity of proceedings, insufficiency of inquiry, the discovery of new facts or evidence or otherwise) it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice that an investigation (or as the case may be, another investigation) should be held.
(2) The High Court may -
(a) order an investigation under Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to be held into the death either
(i) by the coroner concerned; or
(ii) by a senior coroner, area coroner or assistant corner in the same coroner area;
(b) order the coroner concerned to pay such costs of and incidental to the application as to the court may appear just; and
(c) where an inquest has been held, quash any inquisition on or determination or finding made at that inquest."
"The single question is whether the interests of justice make a further inquest either necessary or desirable. The interests of justice, as they arise in the coronial process, are undefined, but, dealing with it broadly, it seems to us elementary that the emergence of fresh evidence which may reasonably lead to the conclusion that the substantial truth about how an individual met his death was not revealed at the first inquest, will normally make it both desirable and necessary in the interests of justice for a fresh inquest to be ordered. The decision is not based on problems with process, unless the process adopted at the original inquest has caused justice to be diverted or for the inquiry to be insufficient. What is more, it is not a pre-condition to an order for a further inquest that this court should anticipate that a different verdict to the one already reached will be returned. If a different verdict is likely, then the interests of justice will make it necessary for a fresh inquest to be ordered, but even when significant fresh evidence may serve to confirm the correctness of the earlier verdict, it may sometimes nevertheless be desirable for the full extent of the evidence which tends to confirm the correctness of the verdict to be publicly revealed."
"My concerns of a third party involvement in Daniel coming to be in the graveyard on 20th September cannot be allayed by the evidence that has been produced to the court. I cannot say beyond reasonable doubt that I am satisfied that he voluntarily took his own life. I also cannot say that I am satisfied that he was unlawfully killed, because again, I would need to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, and there simply is not enough evidence for me to say that".
In his case also, therefore, she reached an open conclusion.
(1) Fingerprint and DNA findings connect Stephen Port to a bottle found with the body of Mr Whitworth, a blanket in which Mr Whitworth's body was wrapped and a pair of sunglasses worn on the body of Mr Kovari.
(2) A handwriting expert now attributes the handwriting of the note found on Mr Whitworth's body to Stephen Port. Mr Whitworth's family, having heard the evidence given at the original inquest, have denied that they identified the handwriting of the note as being that of Mr Whitworth.
(3) Stephen Port can be shown to have contacted all four deceased through internet dating sites and to have met each of them. Moreover, there is evidence that Mr Kovari lived with Stephen Port for a time.
(4) At the original inquests evidence was given about communications between Mr Amodio, Mr Kovari's partner, and someone called Jon Luck. Mr Luck purported to give information about Mr Kovari's movements and contact with Mr Whitworth. However, evidence is now available that Jon Luck was in fact Stephen Port using an alias, and that the information was false.
(5) There is CCTV footage showing Stephen Port with Mr Taylor on the night of Mr Taylor's murder.
(6) There is evidence of Mr Port purchasing GHB around the times of each of the murders, high levels of that drug being found on post-mortem examination of each of the bodies of the deceased.
(7) There is now evidence of Stephen Port having committed sexual assaults against a number of persons other than the four deceased.
(8) Most importantly, the totality of the evidence which is now available led a jury at the criminal trial to be sure that Stephen Port murdered all four deceased. The overall sequence of events shown by that evidence is that Stephen Port first murdered Mr Walgate, then murdered Mr Kovari, then murdered Mr Whitworth, and finally murdered Mr Taylor. The evidence is further capable of showing that both before and after the murders he committed sexual offences, including rape, against other young men.
MR JUSTICE GREEN: I agree.