BBC to air TV drama based on Grindr serial killer Stephen Port
The BBC is set to air a drama that is based on the case of Grindr serial killer Stephen Port.
Stephen Port, 41, of Barking, east London was jailed for life earlier this year for killing Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor.
The former chef hunted young gay men on hook-up apps, before luring them to his house, drugging them with GHB, and sexually assaulting them. Some victims, who have been granted anonymity, survived the attacks.
The killings took place between June 2014 and September 2015, but a series of police blunders meant officers failed to make connections between them or investigate Port, who was already known to authorities.
The case, which led to a complaint against the Metropolitan Police, will now be the subject of a TV drama.
The BBC announced at Edinburgh TV Festival this week that it had commissioned a drama based on the killings, provisionally titled The Barking Murders.
The drama, which is exec produced by Jeff Pope and written by Neil McKay, claims it will go “beneath the headlines” and focus on the families’ fight to uncover the truth.
Jeff Pope, executive producer at ITV Studios, said: “I think this is an opportunity to say something about how we don’t always have to accept what we are told by those in authority, and how determination, sheer bloody-mindedness and – above all else – love, will always triumph.”
The writer Neil McKay added: “Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way.
“This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice.
“It is a privilege to be able to tell it.”
An Independent Police Complaints Commission probe of the Port case is ongoing, over allegations that police officers missed a string of red flags that Port was connected to the deaths.
After the first death in June 2014, Port was charged with perverting the course of justice for filing a false police report.
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The killer told authorities he found Anthony Walgate’s body lying unconscious in the street, but police later discovered he had hired him via an online gay escort service.
Despite Port already being known to police, officers failed to make any connection to the subsequent deaths of Gabriel Kovari and Daniel Whitworth, who were killed within days of eachother in August 2014. The deaths were all treated as “unexplained”, but no murder investigation took place.
Over the next few months, Mr Kovari’s former flatmate John Pape raised concerns about a possible link between the deaths – but the Met confirmed to the Barking and Dagenham Post and PinkNews that the deaths were not being treated as suspicious, denying possibility of a link.
At the time, Det Ch Insp Tony Kirk said: “We do get sudden deaths on a very regular basis… there’s nothing, at the moment, suspicious about any of them.”
Port was jailed in March 2015 on the perverting the course of justice charge, but after being released killed his fourth victim, Jack Taylor, in September 2015. The fourth death finally prompted the Met to launch a murder inquiry. Port was arrested on suspicion of murder a month later.