Stephen Port sentenced to whole life term for murder of four men

‘Wicked and monstrous’ serial killer will die in prison, judge rules

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The Independent Online

Serial killer Stephen Port will spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced to a whole life term for the murder of four men.

The 41-year-old chef was found guilty of a total of 22 offences against 11 men including the four murders, four rapes, 10 counts of administering a substance and four sex assaults.

Port met his victims using online dating services including Grindr and plied them with drinks spiked with fatal amounts of the drug GHB to rape them while they were unconscious, before dumping their bodies near his east London flat.

After killing the men, he embarked upon an elaborate cover-up operation. He disposed of their mobile phones, repeatedly lied to police and planted a fake suicide note in the hand of one of his victims, which took the blame for the death of another.

Mr Justice Openshaw gave Port the whole life sentence after he was found guilty of all four murders after a trial at the Old Bailey.

The judge described Port as a “wicked and monstrous” killer and said Port had carried out the murders in order to “satisfy his lust” for sex with unconscious young men.

Port denied all the charges against him but was found guilty of the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.

Families of the victims cheered and clapped as Port was sent down.

Scotland Yard faces allegations it failed to link Port to all four murders, despite their marked similarities.

It was only after the death of his final victim, Mr Taylor, whose family urged the police to re-examine the previous deaths, that a full investigation was launched.

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Met’s Specialist Crime and Operations command, said 17 officers are facing investigation into possible misconduct during the case. 

Following Port’s conviction, Mr Cundy offered the families personal letters of apology from the police for missing opportunities to catch Port earlier.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will investigate the police force’s initial response to the murders, and will examine whether “discrimination played any part in actions and decisions”.

The Taylor family has said it is suing the Met Police, saying they believe that if the force had investigated the initial murders they would not have had to fight for a full investigation and Port would have been stopped sooner.

Port’s first victim, Anthony Walgate, 23, was found dead on Cooke Street on 19 June last year. He was a fashion and design student at Middlesex University who was originally from Hull but living in Barnet.

The second victim, Gabriel Kovari, 22, was found by a dog walker near St Margaret’s churchyard on 28 August last year. He was originally from Slovakia but lived in Lewisham, south London.

Just under a month later, on 20 September last year, the same dog walker discovered the body of Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, near the same churchyard.

Then on 14 September this year, Jack Taylor, 25, a forklift truck driver from Dagenham, was found dead near the abbey ruins close to North Street.

Detective Chief Inspector 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. I have previously said that Port is one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered in almost 28 years of policing and a full life term in prison was the only appropriate punishment in the circumstances.

“All of those affected have my deepest sympathies and I hope they can find some solace from the fact that Port will spend the remainder of his life behind bars.”

Prominent LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told The Independent: “A life sentence is entirely appropriate for these shocking, premeditated multiple murders and rapes. However, I am uncomfortable with whole life sentences. If a jailed person expresses sincere remorse, has genuinely reformed and no longer poses a threat to the public, after serving 30-plus years they should be eligible for parole under licence and supervision. Allowing the possibility of redemption is the right thing to do.”

Following Port’s conviction, the Met Police has appealed for information from any of Port’s other victims.

The force has also said it is reassessing 58 unexplained deaths involving date-rape drugs to make sure foul play has not been missed. Port is not linked to any of them, a spokeswoman said.