London

Stephen Port 'drugged four murder victims for sex'

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Media captionThe prosecution alleges Stephen Port met his victims on gay networking sites

A chef murdered four men he met on gay networking sites by giving them a fatal dose of the drug GHB, a jury has heard.

Stephen Port allegedly plied them with the drug at his home in east London so he could have sex with his victims while they were unconscious.

The Old Bailey was told the 41-year-old left their bodies in or near a churchyard and planted suicide notes and fake bottles of the drug on them.

He denies 29 charges, including four murders and seven rapes.

The offences are in connection with attacks on 12 men over three-and-a-half years.

The victims were: Anthony Walgate, 23, originally from Hull, Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, and Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, east London.

Image copyright .
Image caption Stephen Port has denied all the charges

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said the defendant was attracted to smaller, boyish men he referred to as "twinks" who he would invite to his one-bed flat on Cooke Street in Barking.

The jury heard the accused lied to police about his involvement with the dead men. The bodies of all four victims were found near on in a churchyard about 400m from Mr Port's home.

'Spiking drinks'

Mr Rees said: "The prosecution say it is a case about a man - the defendant - 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.

"We say 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."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The bodies of three victims were found in or around the churchyard close to Stephen Port's home in Barking

The court heard the accused drugged 11 of his victims by spiking their drinks or injecting substances into their bodies and he also filmed himself having sex with men while they were unconscious.

Mr Port used drugs, including poppers, Viagra, mephedrone, crystal meth and GHB, jurors were told.

'Planted' drugs

Post-mortem examinations showed the victims had died from an overdose of GHB and the circumstances surrounding their deaths were "strikingly similar", the jury was told.

The prosecutor said the victims died soon after being invited to the accused's flat and three of them had GHB bottles "planted" on their bodies, with evidence of them being dragged to the spot where their bodies were found and "propped up in a sitting position".

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Stephen Port reported finding Anthony Walgate's body outside his flat

Mr Rees said the accused was convicted of perverting the course of justice after making a false statement in the investigation into the death of his first alleged murder victim, Mr Walgate, by telling police he found the Middlesex University fashion student collapsed outside the communal entrance to his flat.

The court also heard Mr Port had made "lots of money" working as a male escort.

He met his first alleged rape victim in February 2012. The jury heard the 19-year-old was given red wine who later woke up to find himself naked with the accused having sex with him.

The court heard the next rape victim, in June 2014, was a Muslim man who does not drink or take drugs. He was "knocked out" by a cup of liquid and woke up lying naked on the floor, the trial heard.

Mr Port helped him to Barking station, where he collapsed. The accused told police they had both taken drugs.

Three weeks later the chef allegedly killed Mr Walgate and called 999 anonymously.

The trial continues.

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