How Serial Killer Stephen Port Narrowly Evaded Capture For Years

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News & Politics
Sarah Guy

Despite Stephen Port's proximity to a series of murders, he avoided official charges for years. Even though he was known to have strange and off-putting tendencies, he was able to fly just under the radar of law enforcement and always seemed to find a way to explain away his bizarre behavior. However, this would not always be the case.

Who Is Stephen Port?

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Stephen Port was born in 1975 in Southend, Essex. His mom was a supermarket cashier, while his dad worked as a cleaner for the local council. At the age of 16, Port decided that he wanted to go to art school.

After realizing it was too expensive, he changed course and started training as a chef. This would build the foundation of his career, as he cooked for drivers at the West Ham bus depot and found other kitchen work.

By all accounts, he was on track to live a successful and productive life, but his outward appearance wasn't indicative of his true nature.

Concerning Behavior Begins

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Once he entered adulthood and moved out of his parent's home in 2006, Port's friends started taking note of his odd behavior. This included watching cartoons and buying children's toys that he would sometimes position to overlook his bed.

Port, who was gay, also began cheating on his partners, working as a male escort, and even acting as a pimp. In some instances, the men he was seeing were advertised on escort sites where his phone number was the point of contact that was listed.

Additionally, he started using GHB, which is a powder that can be dissolved in water, and GBL, a colorless liquid that coverts to GHB once it is ingested. The effects of these drugs can result in feelings of euphoria, unconsciousness, or even death. During the same period, Port also showed an affinity for disturbing videos and regularly searched for "drug rape" pornography.

First Assaults

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Before long, Port's online activity and everyday life started to blur together. And in 2012, he ventured into darker territory. That year, after meeting up with a man from Grindr, he reportedly took him back to his apartment and allegedly slipped something into his drink.

At first, the man, who was in his late teens, recalled that the wine seemed bitter, but he assumed that the unpleasant taste was because it was inexpensive. However, he soon started feeling dizzy, and Port suggested that he go lie down in his bedroom. When he briefly regained consciousness, Port was raping him.

Then, in 2014, another man had a similar experience with Port. On the fifth trip to his apartment, after drinking a glass of what appeared to be water, he lost consciousness. Once he came to, he found that his underwear had been removed.

Later, as Port was bringing him to Barking station, police noticed that something wasn't quite right with the man's behavior, as he was "screaming and shouting." This prompted them to call an ambulance. When questioned, Port stated that the young man had shown up at his apartment in that state, and he was simply helping him home. Ultimately, officials decided to let both men leave the scene.

Violence Accelerates

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Two weeks after the interaction at Barking station, Port met Anthony Walgate via the Sleepyboys male escort website. At that time, he offered to pay Walgate £800 (approximately $961.45) to spend the night on June 17, 2014.

On June 19, Walgate's body, which was propped in an upright seated position, was discovered near the entrance to Port’s building. Once police arrived, he informed them that he had found the man like that and alerted them because he thought he could have been drunk or had a seizure.

After an investigation, law enforcement learned that Port had hired Walgate as an escort. This resulted in a charge of making a false police statement. He was then released on bail.

Following his quick release, Port interacted with two other men shortly before their deaths: Gabriel Kovari on Aug 23 and Daniel Whitworth on Sept. 21. Similar to Walgate, both men were found propped up, but this time they were located next to a graveyard wall.

Port Pleads Guilty

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On March 23, 2015, Port pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice in Walgate's case. He was sentenced to eight months in prison but was released with an electronic tag on June 4.

Crimes Continue After Release

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By the time September rolled around, Port was yet again using Grindr to scope out his victims, and on Sept. 13, he met up with Jack Taylor at 3:00 AM. The next day, his body was found in the same position and location inside the graveyard. However, this time CCTV images captured Port walking with Taylor before his death. This led to his arrest. On Oct. 18, 2015, Port was charged with four counts of murder.

During the trial, an expert testified about an apparent suicide note left beside Whitworth's body and stated that the handwriting belonged to Port. It was also revealed that Port's DNA had been recovered from the crime scenes. He eventually received a life sentence.

Examination Of Investigation

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Since Port's conviction, many have started to take a closer look at how the investigation had been handled, including the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC). As stated by the watchdog group, the Metropolitan Police had failed to properly send forensic evidence for examination and carry out basic checks. At this time, they have decided to revisit the investigation due to these "material flaws."

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