Stephen Port, also known as the Grindr killer, killed four men by luring them to his flat and drugging them with lethal doses of GHB. It’s almost certain that had police thoroughly investigated the murder of the first victim, a fashion student named Anthony Walgate, Port wouldn’t have killed Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor.
After Port’s arrest, more victims emerged accusing the murderer of sexual assault. Stephen was found guilty of murder, rape, sexual assault, and administering a substance with intent. Eleven men came forward as victims of Port’s crimes. His crimes and case play out in the 2022 BBC drama thriller Four Lives.
Stephen was handed a whole life sentence and will likely die in prison
Stephen is one of sixty people in the UK serving a whole life sentence. It makes him ineligible for parole, making it likely that he will die in prison. Stephen started his sentence at HMP Belmarsh but has since been transferred to an unidentified facility.
Port showed no remorse after his arrest; he wrote letters to his friends bragging about his sexual conquests before incarceration. Per The Sun, Stephen gloated about bedding a celebrity:
“I did have a couple of famous clients when I was escorting, but of course I can’t mention names, but they were generally MPs. I have slept with one famous guy who I met when I was on holiday. I best not mention his name lol but he used to be a BBC presenter… We dated for a few months.”
Stephen alleged that he remained friends with this mystery man after the relationship ended. Port also bragged about his celebrity status in prison.
“Everyone here has been all right with me,” Port wrote. “Just the normal questions if I did it or not etc and was asked a few times to sign a picture of me in the paper. I think I am the only celebrity on this wing, there’s no one I recognize from TV.”
According to The Mirror, Stephen struck up a sexual relationship with Richard Huckle, a man dubbed Britain’s worst pedophile. A source speaking to the publication alleged that the pair had intercourse as the guards couldn’t monitor all prisoners. The source said:
“They were both in the max area of the prison but when the cell doors are open, those in that area can mix. You have 90 inmates being overseen by three guards, they can’t see everything going on in every cell.”
Port and Richard went separate ways after Stephen’s sentencing, but the source suspects that they keep in touch through letters.
Stephen told The Mail that he’d want his case played out on television, with actors like Kevin Bacon, Eddie Redmayne, or Chris Evans portraying him. Port knows about Four Lives and is unhappy that Stephen Merchant was chosen to play him as the pair don’t look alike.
Port also claims that the drama will make him a target in prison. “He thinks it makes him look really bad and Stephen Merchant doesn’t look anything like my brother,” Sharon, Port’s sister, told The Sun. “It’s all going to be lies. All this is making my brother look evil – but he is not evil.”
The victim’s family’s feel that police ignored their pleas due to homophobia
“If they had listened to any of us, the three other boys would still be alive,” Anthony Walgate’s mom, Sarah Sak, told The Telegraph.
The police’s first crucial error is that they failed to investigate Anthony Walgate’s death, despite the suspicious circumstances of his passing. Port called the police claiming to be a resident who found Anthony’s body on the sidewalk.
It later emerged that Anthony died in his flat, and Port moved the body. Stephen explained that Anthony died of an overdose; he panicked and dragged his body outside. The police accepted Port’s explanation and performed no further background checks on him.
Authorities charged him with perverting the course of justice. While on bail, he killed Daniel and Gabriel. After serving a short prison sentence, he killed Jack. Gabriel and Daniel’s deaths were eerily similar, but police declined to link the cases, amounting to another error.
An inquest into police conduct during Stephen’s murderous spree found that failings by the Metro police ‘probably contributed to three of the four deaths.’ The jury described the investigation as ‘one of the most widespread institutional failures in modern history.’
However, the inquest didn’t find the police guilty of ‘institutional homophobia.’ “We don’t see institutional homophobia, we don’t see homophobia on the part of officers,” assistant commissioner Helen Ball said. “We do see all sorts of errors in the investigations which came together in a truly dreadful way.”
A joint statement by the families reiterated their belief that homophobia played a role in the shambolic investigation. Rights advocate Peter Tatchell agreed with the families, saying:
“Evidence given at the Stephen Port inquest revealed the police to be incompetent, negligent, unprofessional and homophobic. Every gay person who expressed concerns about the deaths was ignored, dismissed and treated with contempt, even the partner of one of the victims. That’s institutional homophobia.”