A 40-year-old man has appeared in court charged with poisoning and murdering four men he is believed to have met on Grindr.
Stephen Port, of Barking, East London, is alleged to have invited the four men back to his house on four separate incidents between June 2014 and September 2015 where they were given fatal amounts of the party drug, GHB.
The softly spoken chef is accused of having sex with the victims while they were unconscious before dumping their bodies near his flat.
The four victims were aged between 21 and 25.
The first victim, Anthony Walgate, a fashion and design student at the University of Middlesex, was found dead by police in Barking early in the morning of 19 June 2014.
The second body, that of Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, was discovered by a dog walker close to the churchyard of St Margaret’s Church in Barking on 28 August 2014.
The third alleged victim, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, was found close to the same churchyard, on 20 September 2014.
Jack Taylor, 25, a night-duty forklift operator from Dagenham, was (hopefully) the final victim. He was last seen by friends on a night out in Barking on 13 September of this year. His body was found the next day.
Barking and Dagenham police had initially ruled out a connection between the four deaths, but last week detectives finally linked the deaths.
They began the hunt for a serial killer.
Stephen Port was arrested on Thursday 15 September and was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.
Yesterday, Port appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in East London.
Outlining the case, prosecutor Paul Nagle said: ‘The four deceased were contacted by Mr Port over the internet through gay websites. They were then invited back to his home in Barking.’
‘They were then given large amounts of a drug by the name of GHB and that caused them to die. He has then had sex with them whilst unconscious and dumped their bodies in Barking cemeteries.’
Port regularly used gay dating sites where he posted semi-naked pictures of himself. In each one he appears to be wearing a blond wig.
According to an advert on an online escort site, he also worked as a £100-a-hour gay prostitute.
On this site, an American client described Port as ‘a dream come true’ who has a ‘nicely muscled body’ and ‘strawberry blond hair that is very thick’.
He said Port was ‘the ideal companion’ who was ‘bright, interesting, loving’ and was someone who ‘enjoys laughing’.
On his Facebook page Port claims to have been an Oxford University graduate, a former seaman in the Royal Navy and a special needs teacher.
But yesterday his parents said to the Guardian Newspaper that he had worked as a chef in cafes for the past 13 years.
Port’s father, Albert Port, 73, told the Guardian that he first learned of the allegations on Sunday night when his son telephoned him from the police station.
Port was described by his parents as ‘just an ordinary working person,’ very quiet and easy-going.
Stephen Port was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
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