LONDON (AP) – A British chef was convicted Wednesday of murdering four young men whom he met online, plied with lethal drug-spiked drinks and raped, then left their bodies in and around a graveyard near his home.
Twelve jurors at London’s Central Criminal Court unanimously found serial killer Stephen Port guilty of three murders, and convicted him of a fourth killing by a majority of 11 to one.
He was also found guilty of 18 other offenses, including four rapes and four sex assaults, against several other men who survived their encounters with Port.
Port, 41, denied all the charges against him.
The U.K.’s independent police watchdog is investigating why detectives did not initially link the deaths of the four men whose bodies were found near Port’s home in east London over a 15-month period.
Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police conceded that “from the evidence we’ve heard at trial there were potential opportunities that were missed.”
The force said it was re-examining 58 unexplained deaths in London involving the psychoactive drug GHB – which Port gave his victims – over a four-year period to see if any were suspicious.
Prosecutors said Port invited the men, who all were in their 20s, to his home, where he gave them drinks containing deadly doses of GHB so he could rape them while they were unconscious.
The victims – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor – all overdosed on the drug. Port then dumped their bodies in and around a graveyard near his apartment.
He took elaborate action to cover up the killings, planting a fake suicide note in the hand of one victim and stashing drugs on the body of another.
Police began investigating the deaths as potential homicides only when the family of Port’s final victim, Taylor, pressed for action.
Taylor’s family said after the verdicts that police should be held accountable for his death.
“We do believe Jack would still be here if they had done their job,” they said in a statement.
The judge said Port would be sentenced on Friday.