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Gay History: Dating App Murders: Who Is Stephen Port, Who Were The Victims Of The Grindr Serial Killer – And Has He Launched An Appeal?

Stephen Port murdered men he met through a gay dating app to fulfil his sexual fetish for ‘twinks’

A GRINDR serial killer drugged and murdered four young men he met on the gay dating app – but who is he?

Here we explain who he is, how long he has been jailed for, and whether he is appealing his conviction…

Stephen Port was convicted of four murdersCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

Who is Stephen Port?

Stephen Port, who was trained as a chef, has previously been reported to have worked as a rent boy.

He featured in an episode of Celebrity Masterchef two years ago, wearing chef’s whites and mingling with famous faces.

The killer, now 41, helped celebrity chefs make pasta and meatballs for more than 100 bus drivers in an episode broadcast in 2014.

He is thought to have worked at the West Ham bus garage for more than 10 years.

Port was found guilty in November of the murder of Anthony Walgate, Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth and Gabriel KovariCredit: PA:Press Association

The Daily Mail reported one ex-boyfriend said he also worked in door-to-door sales, and he had just started a new job stocktaking before his arrest.

Port also claimed to have spent time as a special needs teacher at a catering college in King’s Cross and to have served in the Royal Navy.

After his arrest his parents said these claims, and that of his status as an Oxford University graduate, was false.

His mother said his school thought her son was deaf because he didn’t “speak up”.

Throughout the trial the court heard Port, of Cooke Street, Barking, east London, was obsessed with “drug rape” pornography and this led him to drug and sexually assault gay men.

He was a frequent user of the gay dating app Grindr, and would meet men using this app and other sites over the course of more than three and a half years.

In August 2018 The Sun revealed he was handed £136,000 in legal aid to fund his defence and that he was set to appeal his sentence.

sources close to his family have revealed the monster – dubbed “The Grindr Killer” after luring victims on gay dating sites – has shown no remorse.

And he is now seeking legal advice to launch an appeal claiming his murder and rape convictions are unsafe and he was guilty of lesser manslaughter charges.

Who were Stephen Port’s victims?

Jack Taylor was killed by Stephen Port after the pair met on a gay dating appCredit: Central News

21-year-old chef Daniel Whitworth was found dead with an forged suicide note in a churchyard near Port’s homeCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

22-year-old Slovakian national Gabriel Kovari was also killed by PortCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

Fashion student Anthony Walgate was the first to be found deadCredit: Central News

He is guilty of the murder of Anthony Walgate, Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth and Gabriel Kovari, with an overdose of date-rape drug GHB.

Anthony Walgate was a student who had dreams of being a famous fashion designer.

Port had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in relation Mr Walgate’s death and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

But, by the time he was jailed Port had gone on to claim the lives of two young men.

Slovakian Mr Kovari, 22, and 21-year-old chef Mr Whitworth, from Gravesend, in Kent, were murdered within weeks of each other in August and September 2014.

Both, like Mr Walgate, had died of GHB poisoning and were found in an almost identical position in St Margaret’s churchyard – near Port’s flat in Barking.

Port killed again just three months after being released from prison, in September 2015, when night shift forklift truck driver Jack Taylor, 25, was found near the same churchyard.

The families of the victims have since spoken out, slamming “homophobic” police for failing to link the deaths of the four young men.

A relative of Anthony told the BBC for the programme How Police Missed The Grindr Killer: “I totally believe that the Barking and Dagenham police that investigated Anthony’s death and the others are homophobic.

“I genuinely believe that if Anthony had been a girl left outside like trash they would’ve put a lot more effort into it, a lot more effort. As they were all young boys, they did nothing.”

An IPCC investigation was launched into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the response to the four deaths, this is still ongoing.

The mother of Jack said: “Stephen Port took Jack’s life but they let that happen as far as we’re concerned.

“They are just as guilty as him, they should be held accountable for his death as they could’ve prevented it and we have to live with that for the rest of our lives.”

Why is Stephen Port known as the Grindr serial killer?

Port met his victims on the dating app Grindr.

After his arrest he was dubbed the Grindr serial killer.

He filmed himself having sex with unconscious men, was obsessed with drug-rape pornography, and was attracted to smaller, boyish-type men known as ‘twinks’.

Port drugged his victims by spiking their drinks or injecting them in the anus with drugs which he claimed were lubrication.

In total, 12 men are said to have been attacked by Port over three-and-a-half years, between 2012 and 2015, four of which died of an overdose of the party drug GHB.

Port denied four counts of murder, four counts of manslaughter, four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm, seven counts of rape, six counts of administering a substance with intent to overpower to allow sexual activity, and four counts of sexual assault by penetration.

What is GHB – gammahydroxybutyrate?

Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB), otherwise known as the date rape drug, was used by Stephen Port during the string of horrific murders targeting young gay men.

The drug can be used as a general anaesthetic but due to its stimulating, addictive properties, has also become a known party drug.

It can make a user feel numb or groggy, as well as leaving them with little ability to recall events while under the influence of the drug.

It was made illegal in 2003, with a derivative GBL then being manufactured before it was made illegal as well in 2009.

Met Police announced last year that it would examine more than 50 deaths related to the drug after the conviction of serial killer Stephen Port, BBC reported.

A documentary which unravels Port’s sinister character How Police Missed the Grinder Killer will be shown on BBC One on Tuesday at 10.45pm.

In August 2018 it was revealed he is seeking legal advice to launch an appeal claiming his murder and rape convictions are unsafe and he was guilty of lesser manslaughter charges.

A source close to the Port family told The Sun: “Stephen’s conviction for murder was way too high and untrue.

“If anything it should have been manslaughter as these deaths were a series of self inflicted accidental drug overdoses.

“It was proven in court that they had other drugs, medication and alcohol in their systems before they met up with Stephen.

“All of these can be lethal if taken alongside GHB. Stephen did not poison them.

“The rape charges will be dropped once the case is downgraded to manslaughter. Stephen didn’t murder anyone.”

‘I am still shaking’: Stunned parents of alleged serial killer tell of their shock as their male escort son is accused of murdering four men he met on gay websites and poisoning them with party drug GHB

The parents of an alleged serial killer revealed their shock today as their male escort son was accused of murdering four men he met on gay websites.

Stephen Port, 40, of Barking, east London, is accused of using the party drug GHB – known as liquid ecstasy – to poison his four victims in a string of attacks spanning 14 months.

And Joan and Albert Port said today the allegations had ‘shaken’ them, adding that their son’s claim on Facebook that he was an Oxford University graduate and a special needs teacher was false.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police tonight referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning ‘potential vulnerabilities in the response’ to the deaths of the four men – who were found dead in June, August and September of last year and September this year.

The Port couple – who protested their son’s innocence – said they only found out that he had been arrested for murder on the news this morning.

The Ports, who also live in Barking, added that they had taken their son books by adventure and thriller novelist Clive Cussler when he rang them from custody after being arrested on Thursday.

Pictured: This is Stephen Port, 40, above on Facebook and below in the dock, who today appeared in court accused of murdering four young men by poisoning them in the past 15 months

Map: Port lives in a flat in Cooke Street, Barking, and one body was found in the same street last year. Two bodies were later found in the nearby grounds of St Margaret’s Church and another was found on North Street, next to the Abbey Ruins. All the deaths happened in the space of 15 months

Mrs Port, 74, said: ‘The first we heard of it was on the news this morning. I was shocked. I am still shaking. We last spoke to him last night.’

And Mr Port, 73, added: ‘He phoned me up about half 10. He just said, “Can I have a bit of money and some books, something to read by tomorrow morning?”

‘So I had to go up there with a couple of books and £40 – you have to have a bit of money. He didn’t explain why he was there. He didn’t say nothing.’  

Stephen Port, who also claimed to have served in the Royal Navy and has worked as a male escort, is said to have met the men online and then invited them back to his flat for sex.

Between June 2014 and September this year the four victims were allegedly given fatal doses of GHB, known as a date rape drug because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless.

The men, all in their early twenties, were found dead within half a mile of Port’s Barking flat but were considered accidental drug overdoses until police launched a murder investigation last week.

Three of the bodies were found either in or close to the churchyard of St Margaret’s Church in Barking. Another alleged victim was found on the same street Port lived in, Cooke Street, Barking.

Port was arrested after a police raid on his flat and has been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.

Most recent photograph: This is a photograph of Stephen Port taken in the back garden of his parents’ home in February

Port, who has blonde hair but is now nearly bald with only a few tufts of hair on his head, appeared in the dock at Barkingside Magistrates accompanied by three uniformed officers.

He spoke only to confirm his name, age and address during the brief hearing.

Wearing a prison issue grey tracksuit he held one of his arms and repeatedly glanced at the floor. He gave no indication of plea. 

Deputy District Judge Shlomo Kreiman remanded Port in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Wednesday. 

His first alleged victim is said to be Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, from Barnet, who was found dead on Cooke Street on June 19, 2014.

Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, was found dead in the churchyard of St Margaret’s Church, North Street in Barking, on August 28 2014.

Less than a month later Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, was also found dead in the same graveyard.

Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, whose body was found near the Abbey Ruins close to North Street on September 14 this year, is believed to be his most recent victim.

Port describes himself on Facebook as a special needs teacher at Westminster Kingsway College in King’s Cross. It says he attended the University of Oxford between 2000 and 2003.

He is believed to have worked as a chef and may have helped disabled students learn to cook while one ex-boyfriend said he also worked in door-to-door sales.

His likes include a number of gay websites and lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual support groups, and it has also emerged he may have been a rent boy in the past.

Mr and Mrs Port, who live just two and a half miles from their son’s Barking home, said they only found out their son was gay when their daughter told them a ‘couple of years ago’, and that Mr Port disapproved of his son’s gay lifestyle.

Speaking from the front room of their small terraced house, asked what her son was like Mrs Port said: ‘He is a quiet boy, tall, 6ft 3in, size 14 shoes. He doesn’t say a lot. He had different boyfriends – he is gay.’

Mr Port added: ‘Don’t me get wrong – I’m against it. We thought he would be alright now – he has just started a new job. 

‘He goes round different shops stocktaking – the pound shop and car show rooms. He was a chef for 13 years at the bus garage in West Ham.’

Mrs Port said her son had lived in his current flat for nine years – which he kept tidy – and they regularly went to visit him.

They said he is in regular touch with his sister Sharon, 43, who lives in Clacton and were aware of an older man who stayed in his flat but insisted they were not in a relationship.

Mr Port said: ‘He lived on his own. He’s got this older chap who has known for donkey’s and he has got to have somewhere to live as well. He pays the bills.’

Pictured: This is Stephen Port, 40, pictured above and below, who allegedly drugged the four men and killed them after inviting them back to his flat

Mrs Port insisted she believed her son was not to blame. She said: ‘I don’t think he has done it. He will have got involved and taken the blame for other people.

‘He was like that at school – he didn’t speak up. They thought he was deaf because he didn’t speak up.’

Speaking about his son’s predicament and the court proceedings, Mr Port said: ‘There’s nothing to say, nothing to do, you’ve just got to let it go on.

He added: ‘We still like him – don’t get me wrong. He is too quiet. He has been led astray. He won’t speak up, he won’t argue.

‘If I say something, “don’t do it”, he’ll say “yes, dad, yes dad” and then he will go and do it.

‘He had a girlfriend about two years ago – but it was a case of she liked him more than he liked her. 

Anthony Walgate, the first alleged victim, was a student at the University of Middlesex who had dreams of being a famous fashion designer.

Police found him dead in the street at 4am on June 19, 2014.

At the time his devastated mother Sarah Sak, from Hull, said she was convinced her son would not have drunk too much or taken drugs before he died. 

Toxicology tests later confirmed that he had only a small amount of alcohol in his system and no traces of illegal drugs.

The second and third alleged victims Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21, were found at the same Barking church within one month of each other. 

An inquest earlier this year heard both men had taken GHB and methadone.

Mr Whitworth had ‘blamed himself for Mr Kovari’s death’ after they took the drug GHB at an orgy, Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard in June.

A dog walker found Slovakian-born Mr Kovari on August 28 last year while Mr Whitworth, from Kent, was found on September 20.

The coroner was told that Mr Whitworth was found dead holding a note in his left hand, which said: ‘I can’t go on anymore, I took the life of my friend Gabriel.

‘We were just having some fun at a mate’s place and I got carried away and gave him another shot of G[HB]. It was an accident, I know I will go to prison if I go to the police.’

The note said the men had sex at the party and added: ‘I have taken what G[HB] I had left, with sleeping pills – if it does kill me it’s what I deserve. This way I can at least be with Gabriel again.’

A statement by Mr Kovari’s family was issued at the time.

It read: ‘He was full of love and care for others and loved the company of his friends,’ a letter from his brother and mum which was read out in court, said. ‘He had been a very inquisitive and special child gifted in arts.

‘He had excellent relationships with all his relatives and the desire to prove himself to the world.’

Mr Kovari’s flatmate, John Pape, told the inquest he had seen him with Mr Whitworth and was meeting men through gay social network site Grindr.

A statement from Mr Whitworth’s father, Adam Whitworth, was read to the inquest.

It said: ‘He was an active and intelligent outdoors boy who loved days on his bike exploring leafy byways,’ it read. ‘Those who knew him were shocked by this terrible news.’

Ms Persaud recorded an open verdict.

The final alleged victim, Jack Taylor, 25, was found dead in September.

Home: Port’s first alleged victim is said to be Anthony Walgate, 23, from Barnet, who was pronounced dead outside the alleged serial killer’s flat on Cooke Street, Barking on June 19, 2014
Deaths: The second and third alleged victims Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21, were found here in the graveyard of St Margaret’s Church last summer, pictured today
Victim: Last month Port’s final alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, was found close to the Abbey Ruins, next to the churchyard, also pictured today

The 25-year-old, who worked on night shifts as a forklift operator, had been out with friends on the Saturday evening before he was found dead in the early hours of the morning.

He was last seen meeting a man at Barking station at around 2am and walking towards the Abbey Ruins. 

His body was found around 300 yards from where Mr Whitworth and Mr Kovari were found dead by a dog walker. 

Stephen Port lived in a one bedroom ground floor flat in a block of 12 in Barking, where his first alleged victim Anthony Walgate, 23, was found dead in the street last year.

Kristina Piliciauskaite, who lives with her husband and 11-month-old son in a flat two floors above Port, described how police examined the body.

She said: ‘We woke up at about 4 o’clock in the morning because we heard police and ambulance sirens.

Neighbours: People living in the same block as Port described him as quiet and shy and someone not keen to speak to them

‘We looked out of the window and there was a body right outside the door covered with a sheet.

‘The legs were sticking out and we could see the jeans and trainers of a man. The police were here for about a week, checking everyone in and out of the block of flats and asking us if we saw anything’

Describing how she used to see Port apparently smoking cannabis in his garden she added: ‘I used to see him quite often because during the summer I sit out on my balcony and it looks straight down onto his front garden below.

‘He was nearly always dressed in a sports tracksuit and would sit outside in the garden playing loud music from his phone and smoking grass.

‘We could hear shouting coming from the flat late at night sometimes too.

‘He would come in and out of the flat a lot. Sometimes three or four times a day, always walking around and then buzzing the door. If someone didn’t let him in then he would hop over the garden fence and knock on the garden door.

‘He would never speak if you saw him in the corridor or outside’. 

Nenita Enriquez, 69, a retired nurse who lives on the same floor, said: ‘He doesn’t talk to anyone. He doesn’t say hello he just walks around quietly’. 

Speaking about the body that was discovered outside the block of flats in June last year, she said: ‘The body was found just to the left of the door as you come in – where the gas box is. And the forensics tent went right across the entrance to the block – where all our mail boxes are.’

Posing: Port’s Facebook site and other social media profiles contain dozens of selfies showing himself clothed or with his shirt off

Ollie Sharp, 19, was working on the block of flats on the three days before Port’s arrest last Thursday. 

He said: ‘I had been working in his flat since last Monday. 

‘On Thursday about 12 police came up to the door and asked me to let them in to the building. They all went up to the front door and then smashed down the door with one of those red battering rams like you see in films.

‘On Friday, one of his friends turned up and buzzed the door and I heard the police talking to him. He was a small guy, with red hair and a neck tattoo.

‘The red haired guy said he was coming to visit a friend and his ex lived in the flat and had cheated on him loads. And then not long after CID came and put him in a van and took him away too.

‘One minute I am painting, the next he is getting arrested for four murders.

‘The police haven’t explained or said anything – I didn’t even know what he had been arrested for at the beginning.’

He added: ‘I was supposed to be painting his outside windows and door frames.

‘But when I went in I could instantly see it wasn’t the cleanest of places. It was messy and disorganised. It just looked dirty.

‘It wasn’t rubbish – it was just his stuff everywhere – not organised. He never went out to work – he was always there. 

Paid work: This online advert reveals that Stephen Port is believed to have worked as a male escort while in his early thirties

An alleged serial killer worked as a rent boy charging £200-per-night, it was revealed today.

Stephen Port, who claimed to be an Oxford graduate who worked as a special needs teacher, advertised his services online.

Reviews reveal he was highly recommended by men who visited him at home for sex.

One American client described him as ‘bright interesting, loving and enjoys laughing’ and even considered paying for Port to fly to the US.

The alleged murderer was described as being ‘shy’ but ‘easy and friendly’ and sent the client ‘nice messages’.

In an anonymous review he wrote: ‘Stephen was a dream come true. Everything was better than he promised. All dealings with him were easy and again the reality was better that I had expected. How do you describe a dream come true?’

Port wooed the older man to the point the customer feared he could be ‘hurt emotionally’ him. The reviewer said he thought he was under-charging for his services.

Compared to any ‘regular London escort’ he was a ‘wonderful guy’ and ‘such a kind individual’, the client said.

The testimonial was left on an escort review site after a liaison in May 2007 when the American client, then in his late 50s, met him a number of times.

Port was said to charge £100 for a session and £200 for an overnight stay. 

Port was described as the ‘ideal trip companion’ and an American client said he wanted to pay for him to travel to the US the following winter.

 

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