Stephen Port: The crazed chemsex killer who haunted the UK
Ladies, gents, and non-binary buds, we need to remember the horrors that await us if we’re not careful on dating apps. No matter what your sexuality is, what app you’re on, the danger of being attacked, robbed, or worse, murdered, while on an online date is becoming higher.
People like Stephen Port aren’t just a Lifetime movie villain come to life, they’re a real problem with finding love in the digital age. The 39 year old man took to the internet to pick off his victims, mostly using the gay dating app Grindr to find him young men.
But if the men took the bait and messaged Stephen Port back, they were in for a night that would end in tragedy. Between June 2014 and September 2015, Port raped and murdered four men through his evil scheme.
The dream persona of Port
To lure in his victims, Port created himself an ideal dating persona for men to approach. Coming up with a story of an Oxford-educated man with military experience in the Royal Navy, Port lied his way into their hearts.
In real life, Port was from Dagenham in East London, growing up as mostly a loner. A victim of bullying, Port kept to himself for the majority of his childhood. Even as a grown man, Port was a bit bizarre. His neighbor noted him often playing with children’s toys, and having a peculiar childlike personality.
Drugging a part time escort
Port took his first victim in June of 2014 when he hired 23-year-old escort Anthony Walgate the evening of the 17th. The two agreed to meet up at Barking Station and headed to Port’s apartment. Two days later, Port called emergency services saying a young man had collapsed outside his flat, though not sure why.
In reality, Port had drugged Walgate with a combination of the date rape drug gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, poppers, Viagra, meth, and bath salts. After raping him several times, Port put him outside and called emergency services to distance himself from Walgate’s death.
He couldn’t keep the story about Walgate’s death straight though, and police charged Port with perverting the court of justice in March 2015. He was in jail for 8 months, but released without issue and electronically tagged.
Three copycat murders
Walgate was far from Port’s last murder though. Between August 2014 and September 2015, Port lured three more men through Grindr into his evil plan. Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor were all killed in a similar fashion.
All three were raped and killed using the same combination of drugs used on Walgate. Unlike Walgate, who Port called emergency services for, Port left the other three bodies in the graveyard of the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Barking. For extra points, Port even left a suicide note with Whitworth’s body, saying he killed Kovari and killed himself out of guilt.
Improper DNA testing takes some time to catch Port
Similar to Walgate’s death as well, the police failed to properly collect DNA evidence from the crime scene for any of the three murders found at the graveyard. Especially when a bottle of liquor and a bedsheet was found, police didn’t test it, thinking it was an open and shut overdose case.
But all three bodies were left as open inquires, meaning police may not have evidence to prove this was a murder, but the cause of death is extremely suspecious. Finally, police connected these deaths back to Walgate’s, and put out an arrest warrant for Port. Port was charged with rapes and murders of all four men, along with three other rape charges and 10 counts of drugging people.
Easily, Port was found guilty on all charges, and given a life in prison without parole. But even after Port was put away, police were still questioned on why it took so long to find the “Grindr Killer”. A lot of mistakes were made by police, which could have prevented Stephen Port from striking any further had he been apprehended sooner.
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