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Stephen PORT






A.K.A.: "The Grindr Killer"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Serial rapist - Poisoner
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: June 2014 - September 2015
Date of arrest: October 15, 2015
Date of birth: 1975
Victims profile: Anthony Walgate, 23 / Gabriel Kovari, 22 / Daniel Whitworth, 21 / Jack Taylor, 25
Method of murder: Poisoning (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB))
Location: Barking, London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Port received a life sentence with a whole life order on November 25, 2016, meaning he will not become eligible for parole and is unlikely to be released from prison

photo gallery


Sentencing Remarks of Mr Justice Openshaw

R v Stephen Port

Stephen Port (born 1975) is a convicted British rapist and serial killer responsible for murdering at least four men and for committing multiple rapes. Port received a life sentence with a whole life order on 25 November 2016, meaning he will not become eligible for parole and is unlikely to be released from prison. Police announced they are now investigating at least 58 deaths connected to the use of gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in response to the Port case.

Early life

Port was born in Southend-on-Sea. When he was a year old, he moved to Dagenham, where he grew up and his parents still live. He came out as gay in the mid-2000s. He lived alone in a flat in Barking, London and worked as a chef at a Stagecoach bus depot in West Ham.


Port met his victims via online gay social networks. He used gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a date rape drug, adding it to drinks given to his victims, raped them, and murdered four of them in his flat in Barking.

The prosecution said "postmortem examinations on the four young men who died revealed that each had died from a drug overdose featuring high levels of GHB", but Port surreptitiously used other drugs on his victims: amyl nitrite (poppers), Viagra, mephedrone (meow meow) and methamphetamine (crystal meth).

At his trial, the Judge accepted that Port's intention was only to cause really serious harm and not death, but made the point that Port must have foreseen that there was a high risk of death, especially after the death of his first victim. This was sufficient for him to be convicted of murder in English law.

His first murder victim, Anthony Walgate, 23, a fashion student originally from Hull, who on occasion worked as an escort, was contacted by Port on 17 June 2014 pretending to be a client and offered £800 for his services; they later met at Barking station.

On 19 June 2014, Walgate was pronounced dead shortly before 8 am after Port himself anonymously called the emergency services reporting that a young boy was "collapsed or had had a seizure or was drunk" on the street outside his flat.

Evidence linking Port to Walgate's death was missed at this time. Port was convicted of perverting the course of justice in March 2015 because his account of the death to the police varied. He was imprisoned for eight months, but released the following June and electronically tagged.

Between August 2014 and September 2015 Port murdered at least three more men: Gabriel Kovari, 22, who had moved to London from Slovakia; Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend in Kent, who worked as a chef; and Jack Taylor, 25, who lived with his parents in Dagenham, East London, and worked as a forklift truck driver.

The bodies of the last three of the four murder victims were found in the graveyard of the church of St Margaret of Antioch in Barking. Port had planted a fake suicide note alongside the body of Whitworth that suggested he was responsible for the death of one of the other victims, Kovari, and that he had killed himself out of guilt.


The inquests on the deaths returned open verdicts. Nadia Persaud, the coroner, however, said she had "some concerns surrounding Daniel's death which have not been answered by the police investigation". Her statement continued: "most concerning are the findings by the pathologist of manual handling prior to his death" and noted that "the bed sheet that he was found wrapped in was not forensically analysed, and the bottle of GBL which was found near him was also not tested for fingerprints or DNA". A detective was asked why the bed sheet had not been tested.

Conviction and life sentence

On 23 November 2016, he was convicted of the assaults by penetration, rapes and murders of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21 and Jack Taylor, 25, as well as the rapes of three other men he drugged, and ten counts of administering a substance with intent, and four sexual assaults. He was found guilty on all counts. In total, eleven men were victims of Port's crimes.

Commenting on the case, Malcolm McHaffie, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: "Over a period of three years the defendant committed a series of murders and serious sexual offences against young men. Port manipulated and controlled these men through the chilling and calculated use of the drug GHB, which he administered without their permission.... This was a technically challenging case, complicated by a significant amount of evidence taken from the numerous social media sites Port used."

At the Old Bailey on 25 November 2016, Mr Justice Openshaw sentenced Port to life imprisonment with a whole life order.

Questions over the Met investigation

Although the bodies of the four men were found in the vicinity of Port's flat in just over a year from late summer 2014, Walgate (the first) outside his front door, and the other three in a graveyard, the Metropolitan Police neglected to link the deaths.

The first three victims (Kovari and Whitworth being the others) were initially thought not to have died in suspicious circumstances, and despite the PinkNews website and the force's LGBT independent advisory group correctly believing there was a serial murderer at large, the police had told them the crimes were not linked. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now investigating whether 17 police officers in the Met should face disciplinary action.


Serial killer Stephen Port receives whole-life prison sentence

By Caroline Davies -

November 25, 2016

Judge says he accepts intention of chef, who murdered four men, was to cause serious harm rather than death.

The serial killer Stephen Port has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of four young gay men he drugged and raped before dumping their bodies near his east London flat.

The 41-year-old chef, who had a fetish for sex with unconscious boyish-looking men, was convicted on Wednesday of the murders of Anthony Walgate, a 23-year-old fashion student from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, originally from Slovakia, Daniel Whitworth, 21, a chef from Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, a forklift driver from Dagenham.

Sentencing Port to a whole-life order, Mr Justice Openshaw said: “I accept his intention was only to cause really serious harm rather than cause death but he must have known and foreseen there was a high risk of death, the more so after the death of Anthony Walgate, the first victim.”

He said: “The murders were committed as part of a persistent course of conduct of the defendant surreptitiously drugging these young men so that he could penetrate them while they were unconscious.

“A significant degree of planning went into obtaining the drugs in advance and in luring the victims to his flat. Having killed them by administering an overdose, he dragged them out into the street in one case, or took them to the churchyard in the other cases, and abandoned their bodies in a manner which robbed them of their dignity, and thereby greatly increased the distress of their loving families.”

The judge said: “I have no doubt that the seriousness of the offending is so exceptionally high that the whole-life order is justified; indeed it is required. The sentence therefore upon the counts of murder is a sentence of life imprisonment. I decline to set a minimum term. The result is a whole-life sentence and the defendant will die in prison.”

There were loud cheers and applause from family members in court, while someone in the public gallery shouted out: “I hope you die a long, slow death, you piece of shit.”

DCI Tim Duffield, senior investigating officer from the Met’s homicide and major crime command, said: “These evil crimes have left entire families, a community and a nation in shock.”

He said Port was one of the most dangerous individuals he had encountered in almost 28 years of policing and that a full-life term in prison was the only appropriate punishment in the circumstances.

Outside court, Taylor’s sister Donna said: “We finally have justice for Jack and the other boys. A sick and twisted scumbag will never be able to hurt or destroy any other family’s life. Jack can finally rest in peace. We will always be completely heartbroken.”

The judge highlighted Port’s attempt to cover up two of his murders with a fake suicide note as “wicked and monstrous”.

All four men died after being given fatal overdoses of the date-rape drug GHB, also known as G or liquid ecstasy. Port was convicted of 22 offences against 11 men, including drugging and sex offences against seven men who survived their encounters with him.

Despite striking similarities between the four murders, which were carried out over 15 months, the Metropolitan police failed to link them until the family of Taylor, his final victim, forced them to re-examine all the deaths.

The Taylor family are planning to sue the force, and believe Port would not have been stopped if they had not fought for a full investigation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the Met’s initial response to the murders, including whether “discrimination played any part in actions and decisions”.

The judge referred to the police investigation in his sentencing remarks, saying: “It is not to me to say whether the seeming bizarre coincidence of these three gay young men being found dead so close together might have given rise to suspicions that these deaths were not the result of ordinary self-administered drug overdoses but that is how their deaths, including Jack Taylor’s death, were treated at the time; the competence and adequacy of the investigation will later be examined by others.”

He said police had accepted the death of Port’s first victim, Walgate, “at face value”, adding: “Whether the police were right to do so, in the light of what they knew or ought to have found out, is for others to decide having thoroughly inquired into the matter, which it has not been appropriate for us to do in the course of the criminal trial.”

The public gallery at the Old Bailey court was packed, and all the members of the jury had returned to court to hear the sentencing.

Ahead of sentencing, Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, read aloud to the court from victim impact statements. Relatives of Walgate described their “devastation”. His mother said her son was clever, funny and talented and wanted to be a famous fashion designer. Port had not only destroyed their family, but had destroyed his own, she said.

Kovari’s brother, Adam, said the impact on his family of the loss of his only brother could “hardly be described in words”, said Rees. His murder had “changed their lives for ever”.

Adam Whitworth, father of Daniel Whitworth, described living two parallel lives, where grief tainted everyday life. Friends had told him that “the light had gone out of his eyes”, said Rees, and he had a “life sentence of grief”. His partner and Daniel’s stepmother, Amanda Pearson, said she had become “bitter and cynical”, that the “rich and fulfilling life ahead of us with Dan has been stolen from us”. It had been painful for the family when they had first wrongly been told he had taken his own life, Rees said.

Taylor’s family said their lives had been destroyed, and they had had to suffer the “devastating effect” of his body being exhumed. They endured endless sleepless nights, and family members had taken time off work sick. The loss of the son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law had left “a black hole that will never be filled”.

Port’s family later said they continued to believe he was innocent, ITV news reported. Speaking anonymously to the broadcaster, Port’s mother said: “I know he’s my son – he’s a kind boy.

“He said all along, ‘I didn’t murder anyone mum,’ he said. Honest truth. ‘I didn’t murder anyone’ - that’s what he told me last Sunday on the telephone.”

David Etheridge QC, for Port, said in mitigation that at that period in Port’s life, he had descended into a “vortex” of drug-taking, where “gratification of his sexual life was central”.

Port’s fetish for sex with drugged young men had “graduated to fixation, and fixation to compulsion”.

He added the prosecution had not alleged “any intent to kill these young men”. The premeditated planning “was to drug to unconsciousness and not to end someone’s life”, said Etheridge.

As Port was convicted, Stuart Cundy, a police commander who leads the Met’s specialist crime and operations unit, offered personal letters of apology to the victims’ families for the missed opportunities to catch Port sooner.

During the trial it emerged that Port, a bus depot canteen chef, had been arrested and charged for lying about how the body of his first victim, Walgate, came to be found dumped outside the communal entrance to his flat in Barking, east London, in June 2014.

Port was bailed. He went on to murder his second and third victims, Kovari and Whitworth, in August and September 2014. Their bodies were found within three weeks, by the same dog walker, propped up in a sitting position in a graveyard near his flat.

As part of an elaborate cover-up, Port faked and planted a suicide note purporting to have been written by Whitworth claiming he had taken his own life by overdosing on GHB in guilt over accidentally giving Kovari a fatal dose of the drug during sex. The note, which was taken at “face value” by investigating officers, included the line: “BTW, please do not blame the guy I was with last night, we only had sex, then I left. He knows nothing of what I have done.” Had police attempted to trace that “guy’, which they did not, it could have led them to Port.

Port was briefly jailed in March 2015 for perverting the course of justice in lying to police about Walgate’s death. He was released in June 2015. Three months later, in September, he murdered Taylor.

Seventeen police officers are facing investigation for possible misconduct over the catalogue of failures in catching Port. The Met is now re-examining 58 unexplained deaths involving the drug GHB from a four-year period, across London, in case signs of suspicious death were missed.

Port used a string of fake online dating profiles and was very active on social media. He met his victims via apps such as Grindr, expressing a sexual preference for young, boyish-looking men he called “twinks”.

Following his conviction, the force has appealed for any other victims who suffered at Port’s hands to come forward.


Stephen Port trial: timeline of his crimes

By Caroline Davies -

November 23, 2016

15 June 2014

Port contacts Anthony Walgate through the Sleepyboys male escort website and offers to pay £800 for him to stay overnight on 17 June.

19 June

The body of Walgate, 23, is found propped in a sitting position near the communal entrance outside Port’s flat in Barking, east London. Port tells police he found the victim like that and called 999 because he thought he might be drunk, collapsed or suffering a seizure.

26 June

Port is arrested after police discover he hired Walgate as an escort. He is charged with perverting the course of justice by making a false police statement, and released on bail.

23 August

Gabriel Kovari, 22, goes to stay at Port’s flat.

28 August

Kovari’s body is found propped up in a sitting position against the graveyard wall at St Margaret’s church, Barking, 500 metres from Port’s flat.

18 September

Daniel Whitworth, 21, arranges to meet Port in Barking.

20 September

Whitworth’s body is found propped up in a sitting position against the same graveyard wall. An apparent suicide note – written by Port in an attempt to frame Whitworth for Kovari’s death – is in his left hand.

23 March 2015

Port pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice in the case of Walgate’s death, and is sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. He is released with an electronic tag on 4 June.

13 September

Jack Taylor, 25, communicates with Port on Grindr in the early hours and travels to Barking, arriving at 3am.

14 September

Taylor’s body is found in the same position as the others, by the same graveyard wall as the two previous victims.

15 October

Port is identified on CCTV walking with Taylor near Barking station shortly before the latter’s death. Port is arrested.


Profiles of Stephen Port's victims

November 23, 2016

Anthony Walgate

An aspiring fashion designer from Hull, Walgate, 23, occasionally worked as a male escort and featured on the website Sleepyboys. He was a popular and talented second year fashion student at Middlesex University. Friends said he was “choosy” about his clients and turned down jobs he felt were risky.

His mother vented her anger and frustration at the police investigation nine months after his death, telling her local paper she had been given no information about why Stephen Port had been arrested at the time. Port was later jailed for eight months for lying about how he found Walgate’s body.

Gabriel Kovari

The 22-year-old had left Slovakia because he felt people were “conservative and intolerant”, and briefly worked in a Slovakian shop in London.

In a statement to his inquest, his mother, a pharmacist, and brother, described him as a gifted artist who wanted to make a difference. “He was full of love and care for others,” and loved the company of his friends, they said, adding that he “had been a very inquisitive and special child, gifted in arts”.

Daniel Whitworth

The 21-year-old from Gravesend, Kent, was “an active and intelligent outdoors boy who loved days on his bike exploring leafy byways”, his father, Adam Whitworth, told the inquest into his son’s death. “Those who knew him were shocked by this terrible news.”

The former Dartford grammar school student loved his job as a chef at One Moorgate Place and Canary Wharf in London, and was passionate about cooking. He had been in a relationship with a live-in boyfriend for three years, and his friends insisted he would never have taken his own life.

Jack Taylor

The 25-year-old lived with his parents in Dagenham, east London, and worked as a forklift truck driver at a warehouse for the company London City Bond. He was not “out” as a gay man.

He was a regular at the Trades Hall club in Dagenham, where he had spent Saturday night before returning home, calling a minicab and travelling to meet Port in Barking in the early hours after online contact. CCTV footage released by police of the two men walking from the station at 3am helped lead to Port’s eventual arrest.


Stephen Port murders: police failed to follow up on coroner's concerns

By Caroline Davies -

November 24, 2016

New evidence has emerged suggesting that police may have missed opportunities to catch Stephen Port, who will be sentenced on Friday after being convicted of murdering four young gay men.

The coroner at the June 2015 inquest into the death of Port’s third victim, Daniel Whitworth, 21, raised concerns that someone else may have been involved three months before Port murdered Jack Taylor, 25, his final victim, in September last year.

Transcripts from the inquest also revealed police were advised to test items found near Whitworth’s body for DNA but failed to do so, the BBC reported. He was found in a graveyard near Port’s flat. A fake suicide note, written and planted by Port, and a blue bed sheet, would later be found to have Port’s DNA on them.

The coroner, Nadia Persaud, said in her inquest conclusion: “My concerns of a third-party involvement in Daniel coming to be in the graveyard on 20 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.” She recorded an open verdict.

Transcripts obtained by the BBC show that Persaud asked DI Rolf Schamberger whether the bed sheet had been examined, as recommended by a pathologist. He said it had not, adding that the “circumstances at the time indicated towards no other external parties being involved”.

“The potential outcome of having the blanket analysed, the bed sheet analysed, could have been to identify maybe where he had been the night before, who had contact with him. But it wasn’t submitted,” Schamberger told the coroner.

Whitworth’s body was found by a dog walker in St Margaret’s graveyard in Barking in September 2014, just three weeks after the same dog walker found the body of Gabriel Kovári, 22, in the same location.

The body of Taylor was also found in the graveyard, which is about 500 metres from Port’s flat in Barking, east London. The body of Anthony Walgate – Port’s first victim in June 2014 – was found just outside the communal entrance to his block of flats.

Persaud was most concerned by bruises under Whitworth’s armpits, and on his chest and neck, which she said suggested someone may have lifted him and moved him.

Schamberger told the inquest that only the contents of a bottle found in a bag with Whitworth’s body had been tested. The bottle, which was found to contain the “date-rape drug” GHB, was later found to have Port’s DNA on it.

The detective inspector also revealed that officers had checked the handwriting of the “suicide” note found with Whitworth’s body with one of his diaries, but a handwriting expert was not called in to advise, the BBC reported. The writing on the note was later found to be a match for that of Port.

Seventeen officers are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is reviewing the coroner’s concerns as part of its investigation into the police handling of the case.

Port was convicted on Wednesday of 22 offences against 11 men, including four murders, four rapes, four assaults by penetration, and 10 of administering a substance. He was cleared on three counts of rape.

He will be sentenced on Friday.


Stephen Port conviction prompts police warning over dating apps

By Caroline Davies and Sandra Laville -

November 24, 2016

A senior police officer is warning people who use dating apps to take extra security precautions as concerns grow over the scale of violence and sexual assaults linked to their use.

The conviction of Stephen Port for the serial killings of young men he met via a variety of dating apps, including Grindr and Gaydar, comes after the case of Stefano Brizzi, who killed a police officer, Gordon Semple, whom he met via the Grindr app.

The use of dating apps by perpetrators of sexual violence is one of the National Crime Agency’s emerging threats to the general public. Recent figures showed the number of allegations of rapes linked to dating websites have risen sixfold in the last five years.

The NCA said in its most recent figures that 184 people had reported being raped by someone they had met via a dating app or website in 2014 – up from 33 in 2009. Twice as many people now report being raped by someone they met online as are attacked by a bogus taxi driver – a danger once seen as so great it attracted a huge public awareness campaign.

The Norfolk chief constable, Simon Bailey, national police lead on violence and public protection, said there was a direct connection between the use of dating apps and a rise in crime.

“The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes,” said Bailey. “We strongly encourage users to report offences and seek support if they become a victim of any type of crime.

“I would urge those who use online dating apps to be as security-conscious as possible and not to share personal data with anyone until they are sure about those they are communicating with.”

Port was a prolific user of gay dating apps including Grindr, Gaydar, FitLads, SlaveBoys, Hornet and Badoo. His case highlights how individuals with violent intentions can exploit the apps to gain the trust of victims. Port used a false name and a fake profile picture in some of his personal information to gain the trust of the men who were to meet him.

He used the names “shyguy”, “top fun Joe”, “Basketballguy” and a variety of others and cited his preference for “under 30” and slim men. In one profile, he claimed to be an Oxford graduate. In another, a special needs teacher.

“I am a shy, polite guy. Enjoy keeping in shape, love to have a good time. I am romantic, caring and would take good care of my partner. I am successful, educated and determined,” he wrote. “I’m looking for fun/date/bf who is between 18-24, slim, smooth twink type, not too camp tho .... who has plenty of energy and enjoys a good time.”

Bailey said the greatest danger was often at the first face-to-face meeting. He urged men and women who use dating apps to take security precautions when they met their “date” for the first time.

“If you are planning on meeting someone for the first time, take precautions and meet in a public place,” he said. “Individuals should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they are not comfortable with. If this happens you should contact the dating app provider immediately to discuss your concerns and always report any criminal activity to the police.”

The vulnerability of victims who meet people with violent intent via dating apps was starkly illustrated by the Port case. Having enticed his victim with a fake profile, Port would use his first meeting with the men to slip GHB into their drink, or in some cases, he would tell them it was lubricant. Within 15 minutes, they would be unconscious.

GHB, an anaesthetic, is popular on the dance and club scene, and is available in liquid form [liquid ecstasy] or powdered form.

In low doses, it is reported to produce euphoria, to lower social inhibition and increase libido. At higher doses, euphoria gives way to sedation. Still larger doses can induce coma. In some cases death can arise as a result of respiratory depression or inhalation of vomit. It is particularly dangerous when taken in conjunction with other sedatives, such as alcohol, or sleeping pills.

Port worked as a male escort – and was well aware of the power a stranger with violent intentions could hold over an unwitting victim.

When giving evidence he was asked about his safety rules as an escort. He replied: “I would never accept a drink or anything to eat off a client. And I always took my own lube, condoms and poppers.” It was just such vulnerability he exploited in the victims he targeted.


Stephen Port found guilty of murders of four men

By Caroline Davies -

November 23, 2016

Stephen Port, a chef from London, has been convicted of the murders of four young gay men he met through dating websites.

The 41-year-old, who used dating apps such as Grindr to meet his victims, drugged them with fatal amounts of GHB to rape them before dumping some of their bodies in or near a graveyard close to his flat in Barking, east London, the Old Bailey had heard.

Port was convicted unanimously of the murders of Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor, and by a majority verdict of 11-1 of the murder of Anthony Walgate. The jury of 10 women and two men convicted him of 17 offences against a number of victims, including the four murders. These charges included seven counts of administering a substance, three rapes and three sexual assaults.

Jurors have yet to reach verdicts relating to other charges. Mr Justice Openshaw has told jurors he will accept a majority of at least 10 to two on the remaining counts.

Port, who is due to be sentenced on Friday, gave no reaction from the dock when the guilty verdicts were read out. He had denied all charges.

The court was told that police had failed to make a link until after the death of Taylor, the last person to die at Port’s hand.

Jurors were told Port had embarked on cover-ups after the deaths, including trying to implicate Whitworth, 21, in the death of Kovari, 22, by faking a suicide note supposedly written by Whitworth saying he had taken his own life in guilt after accidentally giving Kovari too much GHB during sex.

The jury has been told that Walgate, 23, a fashion student whose body was found in June 2014 propped up outside the communal entrance to the building where Port lived in a one-bedroom flat, was his first murder victim.

Port was convicted of the murder of Kovari, originally from Slovakia and temporarily living in Port’s flat, whose body was found in the grounds of St Margaret’s church, around 500 metres from Port’s flat.

Whitworth’s body was found in the same graveyard in September 2014, three weeks after Kovari’s.

The court heard that Taylor, 25, died within hours of hooking up with Port on Grindr in the early hours in September 2015, and was found in the same church grounds.

The jury is continuing deliberations.


Alleged serial killer Stephen Port 'had appetite for sex with unconscious men'

Damien Gayle and Caroline Davies -

October 6, 2016

An alleged serial killer drugged and murdered four men he met on gay networking sites in his pursuit of his “fetish” for sexual intercourse with young males while they were unconscious, a court heard.

Stephen Port, 41, invited his alleged victims to his one-bedroom flat, and either spiked their drinks with the “date-rape” drug GHB or injected them with it to sate his “appetite for penetrating drugged young men”, an Old Bailey jury was told.

Port then allegedly dragged the bodies out of his flat, propping three of them up against a churchyard wall near his home in Barking, east London, having planted bottles containing GHB on some of them and a fake suicide note on one, the court heard.

Port, a chef, is accused of 29 charges against 12 young men, including four murders, seven rapes, four indecent assaults and of administering a substance with intent over a three-and-a-half-year period. Port denies the charges.

The alleged victims who died were Anthony Walgate, 23, from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, south London, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, east London.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Rees QC said Port met the men through websites such as Grindr. He told the jury of 10 women and two men that the case would feature fairly graphic evidence of a sexual nature which they should approach in “a cool, dispassionate and analytical manner”.

“The prosecution say this is a case about a man – the defendant – who, in the pursuit of nothing more than his own sexual gratification, variously drugged, sexually assaulted and in four cases killed young gay men he had invited back to his flat,” Rees said.

He said Port described himself as “70% more gay than straight” with a preference for young, smaller, boyish-type men “often referred to as ‘twinks’”. His “appetite for penetrating drugged young men” was reflected in the “drug-rape” pornography he watched, and he occasionally filmed himself having sexual intercourse with unconscious males, Rees said.

He had the propensity “to render young gay men unconscious with drugs without their consent so he could have sex with them in that state. That was his particular inclination, his particular fetish, and what turned him on,” said Rees.

The jury heard that Port used a range of drugs: poppers or bottles of amyl nitrite; viagra; M – also referred to as Meow Meow; T or Tina, a name for crystal meth; and G, either GHB or GBL in its liquid form.

“GHB is of particular significance in this case. The postmortem examinations on the four young men who died revealed that each had died from a drug overdose featuring high levels of GHB,” said Rees.

The circumstances of each of the deaths were “strikingly similar”. Each alleged victim was between 21 and 25 and had died within a short time of meeting Port. Port had engaged in sexual activity with them, they had died of drugs toxicity, and in three cases were found with a bottle of GBL/GHB in circumstances consistent with being planted, the prosecution claim.

Each was found in an outside location close to Port’s address; three in a churchyard and one in his street. Three were propped up in a similar position, said Rees. Port was the common factor, and he had lied to police about his involvement with the victims, said Rees.

After the first death – that of Anthony Walgate – Port was convicted of perverting the course of justice after making a false statement. He had falsely denied ever having met Kovari and Taylor, and had denied writing the suicide note found on Whitworth, jurors heard.

Rees said Port had acted as a male escort, according to one former partner, who described him having a big sexual appetite and who particularly liked men in their late teens.

The defendant allegedly met with Walgate, a fashion student working as a male escort, through the website Sleepyboys, offering him £800 for an “overnight” and picking him up from Barking station at 10pm on 17 June 2014, using the name Jo Dean, the court heard. Walgate had texted a friend giving the details of who he was meeting, joking: “In case I get killed.”

Around 30 hours later, at 4am on 19 June 2014, Port called the emergency services reporting that a young boy was “collapsed or had had a seizure or was drunk” on the street outside his flat. He did not give his name, and claimed he was just driving by.

Police and ambulance attended. A doctor pronounced Walgate dead shortly before 8am, although it was clear he had been dead for some hours. A holdall next to the body contained a bottle containing GHB, and a postmortem revealed high levels of GHB in his blood and urine “within the range at which deaths from GHB intoxication have been reported”, said Rees.

Port was discovered by police, who had rung him back, asleep in bed. He then told officers that he had found the male lying unconscious and had propped him up against the wall as he thought the boy had had a seizure, and then entered his flat and had fallen asleep.

Rees told jurors there were similarities in these circumstances with the case of another man who, three weeks earlier, had been seen with Port at Barking station “in a state of distress”, and “unsteady on his feet, incoherent and vomiting”.

Port had told station, ambulance and police he had found the 23-year-old “under the influence” outside his home. The prosecution allege Port had drugged him at his flat after the two met through the website Fitlads, giving him a clear liquid, which he thought was water, and which caused him to fall unconscious. The man had woken to find himself naked and lying on the floor before Port took him to the station. He was deliberately drugged “so the defendant could engage in sexual activity with him while he was unconscious”, the prosecution alleged.

The court heard that Port’s first alleged victim was a 19-year-old whom he met in February 2012 through Grindr and invited to his flat. The man passed out and woke to find Port having sex with him which he had not consented to. The victim later told friends and a counsellor he believed his drink had been spiked, and that he had been “date-raped”.

Of the eight alleged victims who are alive, the prosecution allege five were raped after being drugged, and one was the victim of some other sexual activity.

Of the four men who died, the prosecution said: “It offends common sense to suggest that it was just an unfortunate coincidence that all of these men happened to die from an overdose featuring high levels of GHB shortly after meeting the defendant.”



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