Alleged UK serial killer ‘had appetite for sex with unconscious men’

One of four young men killed texted friend with details of meeting ‘in case I get killed’

Court artist sketch  Stephen Port (left) appearing at the Old Bailey, London: he is  accused of drugging and murdering four young men he met on gay dating websites.  Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Court artist sketch Stephen Port (left) appearing at the Old Bailey, London: he is accused of drugging and murdering four young men he met on gay dating websites. Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

 

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 UK court has 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 London 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 3½-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 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,” Mr Rees said.

‘Drug-rape’ pornography

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 Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr Rees. Port was the common factor, and he had lied to police about his involvement with the victims, said Mr 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 Mr Kovari and Mr Taylor, and had denied writing the suicide note found on Whitworth, jurors heard.

Male escort

The defendant allegedly met Mr 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 June 17th, 2014, using the name Jo Dean, the court heard. Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr 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.

Mr 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”.

Met through website

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.”

The case continues.

– (Guardian service)