Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Stephen Port, dubbed as “The Grindr Killer,” targeted young men using dating apps. He would lure them to his flat, drug them, and rape them.
Port was found guilty of poisoning four young men. He dumped their bodies in or near a graveyard and disposed of their phones. He then planted a fake suicide note in the hand of one of his victims to make that victim take the blame for the death of another.
Apart from murdering the four men, he also drugged and sexually assaulted eight others. He reportedly killed and raped men for more than three and a half years.
Port’s Early Life
Port was born in Southend, Essex in 1975. He went to art college at 16, but due to the high expenses for his parents, he spent two years training as a chef instead.
He came out as gay in his mid-twenties and left home in 2006 for a small flat in Barking, London. While his flat gave him independence, his friends noticed a strange quality. At first, they would notice him sit watching cartoons and visit children’s shops to buy toys.
His behavior later grew selfish as he cheated on his partners, took drugs, and worked as a male escort. The drugs he took could lead to feelings of euphoria.
Port would use dating websites and apps to find his victims and lure them to his flat. He secretly gave them date drug GHB, or gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, before raping them.
He is believed to seek out sexual encounters particularly with youthful-looking men.
An example of an incident occurred in 2012 when a student spent a night with Port after meeting on dating app Grindr. He said during the trial that his first impression of Port was “quite polite, friendly, nothing that would ring any alarm bells to me.”
Port put on a film at the flat and offered a small glass of red wine that “tasted bitter.” The student said he “noticed a sludge in the bottom of the glass” after drinking the wine. He then felt “very dizzy and tired.”
The student fell asleep, and when he woke up, Port was raping him. He said he was “only half aware of what was happening.”
The next morning, the student woke up feeling disorientated. Port brought him to the station and spoke “as if nothing had happened.”
The Grindr Killer’s Victims
Port offered 23-year-old Anthony Walgate £800 for an overnight date. Walgate told a friend about the date “in case I get killed,” and was found dead outside Port’s flat on June 19, 2014. Port claimed that Walgate died from taking his own drugs.
Gabriel Kovari, who was 22 years old, was staying with Port as a temporary flatmate. He was killed in August 2014 and dragged to a nearby graveyard. Port told his neighbor that Kovari died of an infection in Spain.
Three weeks later, Daniel Whitworth was found dead by the same person who found Kovari’s body. Port wrote a fake suicide note which was intended to be a confession by Whitworth for Kovari’s death.
On September 13, 2015, Jack Taylor, who had an earlier conversation with Port on Grindr, died hours after meeting with him. Port disposed of Taylor’s mobile phone and deleted their conversation on the app.
All four men died of GHB poisoning.
Police’s Alleged Homophobia
The Metropolitan Police were sued for more than £200,000 by the families of the four murdered men over claims that the police failed to link the deaths because of homophobia.
Port held up the bodies in sitting positions with bottles of the party drug planted on them. Police thought that the victims had overdosed – dismissing concerns by their family members and friends.
After an investigation following Taylor’s death, officers realized that they had been murdered. Port was given a life sentence in November 2016.
The victims’ family members claimed that officers discriminated against the victims because they were gay. The Met was accused of “negligence, and misusing or abusing their power by failing to properly investigate,” as reported by The Independent.
Officers then admitted that they missed opportunities after failure in spotting similarities among the killings.
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