A serial killer has been found guilty of murdering four young men by poisoning them with lethal doses of a date rape drug. Stephen Port, 41, lured his victims to his London flat and secretly gave them GHB, the Old Bailey heard. Scotland Yard believes there could be more victims and is reviewing 58 deaths in London spanning four years involving the drug.
Port, who denied 29 charges, will be sentenced on Friday.
The chef was also found guilty of ten offences of administering a substance with intent, four rapes and four sexual assaults.
Between August 2014 and September 2015 Port murdered Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, east London. The jury also found him guilty of murdering Anthony Walgate, 23, from Dagenham, east London, by a majority verdict. The Metropolitan Police admitted it missed "potential opportunities" in investigating the deaths and has urged any other victims to come forward.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is currently investigating how the force handled the initial investigation into Mr Whitworth's death. Seventeen officers are under formal investigation.
Port met his victims on dating websites, including Grindr, and coaxed them to his home in Barking for sex before giving them fatal doses of drugs. Their bodies were all found dumped in or near a graveyard within 500m of his house. He was found not guilty of three rapes relating to two living complainants.
Grey line - At court: Danny Shaw - BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
As the 12 jurors took their seats, there was an almost palpable sense of tension. Every day since Monday of last week, when the jury's deliberations began, relatives of Port's victims have gathered waiting for the outcome of this harrowing case.
At 10:35, the jury forewoman was asked whether they'd reached unanimous verdicts on each of the counts and, if so, what that verdict was. When the first reply of "guilty" came back Port just sighed. But to his right, there were sobs, tears and hugs among the parents and siblings of those who were murdered.
The trial had heard Port had an insatiable appetite for boyish-looking, smaller men, who he referred to as "Twinks." The Old Bailey was also told he trawled the internet for pornography involving impassive young men being "raped" by older men.
Home videos were played to the jury of 10 women and two men which appeared to show Port allegedly enacting his drug-rape obsession.
Gabriel Kovari was staying with Port as a temporary flatmate when he was killed in August 2014. Port called his sister to confess he had his body in his bed then dragged the 22-year-old to a nearby graveyard. He then constructed a web of deceit to divert suspicion, telling his neighbour that Mr Kovari had died of an infection in Spain.
Port also invented a Facebook identity via which he told the Slovakian's boyfriend Mr Kovari had gone to a sex party with a man named "Dan." The same dog walker who found Mr Kovari's body also found Daniel Whitworth dead in the same spot in the churchyard and "lying in the exact same position" three weeks later.
A fake suicide note was found in his hand which purported to be a confession by Mr Whitworth for Mr Kovari's death. It was later found to have been written by Port but at the time of Mr Whitworth's death police had treated his demise "at face value."
Jack Taylor died on 13 September 2015, hours after meeting with Port following a conversation on Grindr. Following his murder, Port got rid of Mr Taylor's mobile phone and deleted their communication on the dating app. His body was found by a refuse collector with a needle and syringe in his pocket.
Speaking outside court following the verdicts, Mr Taylor's family said: "Finally we have got justice for our Jack. He was a true inspiration to everyone who knew him. He was the life and soul of our family," his sister Donna Taylor said.
Daniel Whitworth's family said they were still "bereft at the loss of a such a clever, talented and much-loved boy." His step-mother, Mandy Pearson, said the guilty verdict "has marked the end of a large part of our battle" but the family "have yet to concentrate on other areas of accountability."
"The fight goes on until all our questions are answered," she said.
BBC/Nov. 23, 2016
Photos: Metro Police, BBC
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