LONDON, Nov. 25 (UPI) — A serial killer was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the murders of four young gay men over a period of 15 months.
A jury found Stephen Port, 41, guilty on Wednesday after deliberating for 28 hours and 27 minutes.
Two days later, Justice Peter Openshaw handed Port a whole-term sentence, meaning he won’t been released from prison. “The defendant will die in prison,” Openshaw said as cheers broke out in the courtroom.
The judge told Port that he carried out the murders to “satisfy his lust” for sex with young men who were unconscious. And he noted how Port attempted to cover up two of his murders with a fake suicide notes as “wicked and monstrous.”
The judge recognized Port intended to cause serious harm rather than death but said “he must have known and foreseen there was a high risk of death, the more so after the death of the first victim.”
He was convicted in the of killing Anthony Walgate, 23; Gabriel Kovari; Daniel Whitworth, 21; and Jack Taylor, 25, between June 2014 and September 2015.
He was also found guilty of drugging or sexually assaulting seven other victims, who survived.
Port, a chef and part-time male escort, used online dating sites to lure them to his flat. Then, he served them drinks laced with lethal doses of the drug GHB to rape them while they were unconscious.
He then dumped their bodies in or near a graveyard close to his home in Barking, east London.
Relatives of Port’s final victim, Taylor, expressed their satisfaction with the verdict outside the courtroom.
Jack Taylor’s sister Donna said: “We finally have justice for Jack and the other boys. A sick and twisted scumbag will never be able to hurt or destroy any other family’s life. Jack can finally rest in peace.”
The family is planning to sue the police for failing to properly investigate the earlier deaths of Walgate, Kovari and Whitworth.
The senior investigator in the case also applauded the life sentence.
“These evil crimes have left entire families, a community and a nation in shock,” said Detective Chief Inspector Tim Duffield. “Port is one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered in almost 28 years of policing and a full life-term in prison was the only appropriate punishment in the circumstances.”
Other deaths might be linked to Port.
Police are reviewing the chemical/sex-related deaths of 58 other men, previously dismissed as drug overdoses.