IOPC to reinvestigate Met Police handling of deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor
Following the 2021 inquests into the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor - which revealed previously unknown evidence - we will re-investigate the way the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) initially handled the deaths of the four men in Barking, East London.
The MPS made a voluntary referral to us in October 2015 after it identified concerns regarding the initial investigations into their deaths. We completed our investigation in August 2018 and shared our findings with the families of the men, the MPS and with HM Coroner.
The new inquest concluded late last year and the jury found that investigative failures by the MPS probably contributed to the deaths of three of the men. During the inquests new evidence, previously unknown to us, was presented by officers who had been subject to the IOPC investigation, by other officers who gave verbal evidence and in documentary form by the MPS.
Regional Director Graham Beesley said:
“Since the inquests concluded, an IOPC team has been closely examining the original investigation material and comparing it with the information and verbal accounts provided to the new inquests.
“Due to the size of the original investigation and the amount of information it obtained, this has been a complex task. This has been necessary to ensure the reinvestigation decision process was in line with legislation and that any subsequent decisions on reinvestigating were based on a thorough and robust examination of the information available.
“A matter can only be reinvestigated by the IOPC if we are satisfied that the original investigation was materially flawed in a manner which had an impact on the subsequent decisions made on discipline, performance and/or referral to the Crown Prosecution Service, and/or there is ‘significant new information’ that requires further investigation.
“There must be a real possibility that the new information, had it been available, would have led wholly or partly to different decisions on the outcomes of our investigation. Lastly, it must be considered in the public interest to reinvestigate.
“In this case, the reinvestigation process has identified evidence which meets both the significant new information and material flaw categories, and we believe a proportionate - but thorough - new investigation is in the public interest.
“In our original investigation, we examined the actions of 17 officers. All but one gave no comment interviews under misconduct caution and chose to provide written responses to the investigators.
“Following analysis of the new information provided at the inquest, we have concluded that the original investigation needed to be wider in scope and, therefore, certain lines of enquiries were not followed. Had this information been known at the time it may have led to different decisions on outcomes.
“A new team has been appointed and they will decide the scale and scope of the new investigation.
“The reinvestigation decision does not necessarily mean that the entirety of the original investigation will be examined again, but it would not be appropriate to comment further on any future lines of enquiry at this stage.
“We recognise this process has taken some time to complete and I would like to thank everyone for their patience. Those who have been closely impacted by this decision, including the families of the young men, and the officers whose conduct was originally investigated were consulted regarding our decision and they have been regularly updated by the IOPC throughout this process, alongside a number of other key stakeholders.”