Stephen Port: Chef accused of killing four gay men was obsessed with ‘drug rape porn’, court hears

Stephen Port is alleged to have met some of his victims via gay dating apps like Grindr

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The Independent Online

A chef obsessed with “drug rape” pornography was a serial killer who murdered four gay men and drugged and sexually assaulted eight others, a court heard.

Stephen Port 41, of Cooke Street, Barking, east London, killed and raped men he met via websites including the gay dating app Grindr over the course of more than three and a half years, the Old Bailey was told.

“All of the offending behaviour,” Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, told the jury, “Was driven by one main factor, namely the defendant’s appetite for having sexual intercourse with younger, gay males while they were unconscious through drugs.

“This is a case about a man 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.”

His appetites were reflected in the type of “drug-rape” pornography he watched, jurors were told.

Mr Port also filmed himself having sex with men while they were unconscious, Mr Rees said.

Mr Port is accused of 29 charges including four murders, seven rapes, four indecent assaults and administering a substance with intent. It is alleged he secretly drugged 11 out of his 12 victims to render them unconscious. He denies all the allegations against him.

The court heard that the first man to die was fashion student Anthony Walgate, 23, who was found dead in June 2014.  Mr Port, the court heard, was later convicted of perverting the course of justice after making a false statement to Police investigating how Mr Walgate died.

The second alleged murder victim was Slovakian Gabriel Kovari, who was visiting London when he died in August 2014, aged 22.

Daniel Whitworth, a 21-year-old chef, from Gravesend, died in September 2014, while forklift truck driver Jack Taylor, 25, died in September 2015.

Mr Rees told jurors: “The evidence will show that the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the four young men who died were strikingly similar in a number of respects.”

Post mortems found that all four dead men had potentially fatal levels of the “date rape” drug GHB in their systems, the jury was told.

The court heard that three of the dead men were found in almost exactly the same location: in or close to the church graveyard some 400 metres from Mr Port’s flat.

Mr Rees said there was evidence that all three were dragged there and “propped up in a sitting position”.

In three of the four deaths, the jury was told, the men had bottles of GHB “planted” on them.

The four men who died were all in their early 20s and were found dead a short time after going to Mr Port’s flat, the court heard. Mr Port, said Mr Rees, was attracted to small boyish-type men, referred to by some in the gay community as “twinks”.

The jury was told that the first victim of Port's crimes survived, but was drugged and raped when he was just 19 years old.

The court heard he met Port through Grindr in February 2012.

Port, the jury was told, gave him red wine which tasted "a bit funny" and made him dizzy and sleepy. He found himself naked in bed with Port having sex with him without consent, the court heard.

Then in June 2014, a second man was allegedly drugged by Port.

The 23-year-old Muslim, who does not take drink or drugs, met Port through the gay website Fitlads. He was "knocked out" after being given a cup of liquid by Port and woke up naked lying on the floor, the court heard.

Mr Rees said Port helped him to Barking station where he collapsed at about 9.30pm on June 4.  After station staff came to the man's assistance, said Mr Rees, Port told Police they had both taken drugs but insisted he had found his friend under the influence outside his house and had brought him to the station to ensure he got home safely.

Mr Rees told jurors that this was a lie, but because no allegations had been made against him, Port was allowed to leave.

Fifteen days later, the jury was told, Port killed Mr Walgate, his first murder victim.

The jury heard Port himself alerted Police to the presence of Mr Walgate’s body by making an anonymous 999 call in the early hours of June 19 2014, to report a young man collapsed outside the communal entrance of his block of flats.

He then allegedly provided a witness statement saying he just happened to come across Mr Walgate as he returned home from a night shift.

Mr Rees said this was a lie.  The QC said that Police soon established that Port had met Mr Walgate, who occasionally worked as an escort, via the website ‘Sleepyboys’.

Port, it was claimed, also lied to police about his involvement with the alleged murder victims.

Mr Rees said Port denied ever meeting Mr Kovari and Mr Taylor and falsely claimed he did not write a suicide note that was found on the fourth victim, Mr Whitworth.

The trial continues.