A serial killer who murdered four young men he met on gay networking sites in Britain was sentenced on Friday to life in prison without the possibility of release.
Stephen Port, 41, lured the men back to his flat and plied them with fatal doses of the date-rape drug GHB so he could have sex with them while they were unconscious, a court heard during his trial.
All four died of a drug overdose before Port dumped their bodies in or near a graveyard close to his home in Barking, east London, planting bottles of the drug on some of them and writing a fake suicide note for another in an attempt to cover up his crimes.
Judge Peter Openshaw described Port’s actions as “wicked and monstrous” as he handed him a whole life term at England’s Old Bailey central criminal court in London, to cheers from victims’ relatives.
Port, who worked as a chef, carried out the murders to “satisfy his lust” for sex with young men who were rendered unconscious, the judge said.
He was found guilty on Wednesday of the murders of Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, and Anthony Walgate, all in their 20s, after jurors deliberated for more than 28 hours.
He was also convicted of a string of rapes and sexual assaults on other men who survived.
Jurors heard how Port was attracted to smaller, boyish-looking men whom he sought out on social networking sites such as Grindr, while evidence included home-made videos of him enacting his drug rape fantasy.
London’s Metropolitan Police has been strongly criticised for failing to link the crimes sooner. The murders, which bore striking similarities, took place between June 2014 and October 2015,
The family of Taylor, who are planning legal action against the force, said: “We do believe Jack would still be here if they had done their job”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is conducting an inquiry into the handling of the case and 17 officers are facing investigation into possible misconduct.
Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Met’s specialist crime and operations command, said the inquiry would consider “potential opportunities that were missed”.
The gay newspaper PinkNews claimed its reporters contacted police about an alleged link between Port’s victims nine months before a murder investigation was launched.
Police had been treating the deaths as non-suspicious.
The BBC reported on Friday that the coroner at an inquest for the third victim, Whitworth, had raised concerns in July 2015 that someone else might have been involved in the young man’s death, several months before the killing of Port’s final victim.