Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, today set a provisional timetable in the case against Stephen Port, an alleged serial killer. January 9 was set for a plea and case management hearing. The trial has been scheduled for April 2016, and is currently expected to last four weeks.
Port, 40, attended the hearing from HMP Pentonville via videolink. He spent the ten-minute hearing looking down, and spoke only to confirm his identity. He wore a bright yellow and green prison-issued uniform designed to make him highly visible should he escape.
Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm”. He is alleged to have given overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.
He was charged on Sunday. On Monday he appeared before a Magistrates’ Court which sent the case to today’s hearing at the famed Old Bailey courthouse. Port has not applied for bail and remains in custody.
The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths a week ago on Wednesday, when they were passed to serious crime investigators.
Three of the deaths occurred last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.
Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at the inquest.
Port was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death. Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.”