Serial killer Stephen Port sentenced to whole life term in prison

London Metropolitan Police

“Port told ‘wicked and monstrous lies’ and ‘will die in prison’.

Stephen Port, 41, has been handed a whole life prison sentence for the murders of Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate. All four men died from lethal doses of the drug GHB.

The chef and former escort was found guilty of the murders earlier this week by a jury, who also found him guilty of four rapes, ten offences of administering a substance with intent and four sexual assaults.

“The defendant will die in prison,” said Mr Justice Openshaw in the Old Bailey this morning. BBC News report that when he announced the port would never be released, cheers, clapping and shouting erupted from the public gallery, where many of the victims families had been for the duration of the trial.

The judge went on to describe Port’s crimes as “terrible offences,” adding that he was clearly “a dangerous man”.

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, told the court during proceedings: “All of the offending behaviour was driven by one main factor, namely the defendant’s appetite for having sexual intercourse with younger, gay males while they were unconscious through drugs.

“This is a case about a man who in the pursuit of nothing more than his own sexual gratification, variously drugged, sexually assaulted and in four cases killed young gay men he had invited back to his flat.”

The judge in summing up commented that Port told ‘wicked and monstrous lies’ and under cross examination his “stories unraveled, and the truth emerged.”

He went on to praise the surviving victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Port for their courage and  for giving evidence. He went on to say: “Stephen Port abandoned the bodies of those who had been killed in a manner which robbed them of their decency.”

The Stephen Port murders have raised major concerns about how the London Metropolitan Police handled the investigation. This was a case that involved four young men dying from the exact same causes and having their bodies dumped in almost the exact same place – around 500 metres from Port’s flat in Barking, east London.

Following his arrest, the London Metropolitan Police referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over their handling of the case. Despite the IPCC’s investigation still being active, a senior figure from the force admitted this week that officers missed opportunities to catch Port.

“The IPCC investigation is ongoing and I can’t pre-empt its findings but the evidence heard at the trial did identify potentially missed opportunities to catch Port sooner,” commented Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Met’s Specialist Crime and Operations command, in a statement.

Interestingly, Mr Justice Openshaw touched on this ongoing investigation in his remarks; saying that three men who were found just 15 months apart in the same place should have given ‘rise to suspicion,’ adding that ‘the competence and the indecency of the investigation will be looked at, but it’s not for me to say.’

At present seven MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] officers have been served with gross misconduct notices while a further 10 officers have been served with misconduct notices. Those under investigation by the IPCC in relation to the Stephen Port case range in rank from constable to inspector.

It has also emerged today that police are reviewing a further 58 deaths related to the use of the drug GHB over a four year period, in order to determine if there had been any other wrongdoing.

“It is important we establish whether the police response to the deaths of all four men was thorough and appropriate in the circumstances, including whether discrimination played any part in actions and decisions,” explained IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts. “As his trial established, Port was known to the police in connection to the death of Mr Walgate. We now know that tragically, three more young men went on to lose their lives.”

The IPCC has repeated the call for further information from anyone relating to the Stephen Port Case. “We would like to hear from anybody who provided information to the police about Port, or any of his victims, between 19 June 2014 and 15 October 2015,” said Ms Butts via a statement.

Anyone with any information should contact the IPCC on 0800 151 0021 or email barking&dagenham@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk

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