A 40-year-old British man is accused of poisoning and killing four men he met through online dating websites.
The accused serial killer, Stephen Port, of Barking, east London, was arrested Sunday, the Metropolitan Police said. He is accused in the four deaths, which occurred from June 2014 to September 2015.
Police say the victims were Anthony Patrick Walgate, of Barnet; Gabriel Kovari, of Lewisham; Daniel Whitworth, of Gravesend, Kent; and Jack Taylor, of Dagenham.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Port Is Accused of Drugging the Men With ‘Liquid Ecstasy’
Port is accused of drugging the four men with GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy, before killing them, according to the BBC.
He was also charged with four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm, police said.
According to DrugFree.org, GHB is a central nervous system depressant that is also known as liquid ecstasy and Grievous Bodily Harm:
At lower doses, GHB can relieve anxiety and produce relaxation. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea, loss of muscle control and difficulty breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.
As the dose increases, the sedative effects may result in sleep and eventual coma or death. Other effects include difficulty thinking, hallucinations, slurred speech, headaches and amnesia. GHB has reportedly been used in cases of date rape. Because GHB is odorless and tasteless, it can be slipped into someone’s drink without detection.
The BBC says Port is accused of giving the men “large amounts” of the drug.
2. The Former Male Escort Claims to be a Special Needs Teacher & University of Oxford Graduate
Port was a male escort in his 30s, working as a “£200-per-night-rent-boy,” the Daily Mail reports.
According to reviews found by the Daily Mail, he was highly recommended. An American client said he was “bright interesting, loving and enjoys laughing,” and considered flying Port to the United States.
Another reviewer wrote, “Stephen was a dream come true. Everything was better than he promised. All dealings with him were easy and again the reality was better that I had expected. How do you describe a dream come true?”
On his Facebook page, Port claims he is is a “speacial” (sic) needs catering teacher at Westminster Kingsway College (King’s Cross).
He says he studied at the University of Oxford.
3. The Victims Were All in Their 20s & Were Found in the Same Area Near a Churchyard
The four victims were all in their 20s and were found in the same area near a churchyard in Barking, the Metropolitan Police said.
Anthony Patrick Walgate (pictured above) was the first victim. The 23-year-old Barnet man was found on Cooke Street in Barking on June 19, 2014.
The next victim, Gabriel Kovari, 22, of Lewisham, was found near the churchyard of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street in Barking on August 28, 2014. A photo of Kovari was not immediately available.
Daniel Whitworth, 21, of Gravesend, Kent, was found near the same churchyard on September 20, 2014.
Jack Taylor, 25, of Dagenham, was found near the Abbey Ruins, close to North Street, in Barking, on September 14, 2015, police said.
Police have not said if they are looking into whether there are other victims.
4. The Cases Weren’t Originally Connected by Investigators
Police investigators did not initially connect the dots between the four murders Port is accused of committing.
The Metropolitan Police said in a press release that it has called for an independent probe into the investigation.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning the murder of four men in Barking between 19 June 2014 and 14 September 2015,” the press release said. “The referral informs the IPCC of potential vulnerabilities in the response by the MPS to the four deaths. We await a mode of investigation from the IPCC.”
5. He Is Being Held After a Brief Hearing
Port appeared briefly at a hearing before magistrates in Barkingside on Monday, The Guardian reports. He was remanded to custody to appear at the Old Bailey courthouse in London on Wednesday.
He only spoke to confirm his name and address during the hearing, the newspaper reports.
His father, Albert Port, told the newspaper he is “in complete shock,” and didn’t think his son was capable of the killings.
He said his son is “very quiet” and “easygoing.”