The trial of Stephen Port, the man who stands accused of murdering four men he met on Grindr across a 15-month period between 2014 and 2015, has been postponed six months as police and lawyers continue to assess the “unusual” details of the case.
Port was formally charged with four counts of murder last October, and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm”.
The 40-year-old chef, who is currently been held in custody at Belmarsh prison, allegedly poisoned his victims with party drug GHB in his Barking flat, before dumping their bodies in a churchyard.
The four young victims from East London were Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.
While Port was due to attend a plea hearing this Friday (January 22), both prosecution and defence lawyers asked Judge Justice Singh for an extension, due to the complexity of the case, The Guardian reports.
“There is a very large amount of outstanding work given the scale of this inquiry,” said prosecutor William Emlyn-Jones.
Acknowledging the “unusual circumstances of the case”, the plea hearing has been rescheduled to April 15, with Port’s custody extended until a new trial date of October 4.
The trial itself is expected to last two months.
The bodies of all four men were found in or near to St Margaret’s Churchyard in Barking, East London.
Last month, Police appealed to members of the public with any information about the crimes to come forward.
At the time, Detective Chief Inspector Tim Duffield, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have information in connection with these incidents, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.
“If you have any reservations about speaking to the police, please rest assured that your call will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
“For anyone who feels anxious about talking directly to the police, I would urge them to speak to organisations such as Galop, a specialist charity that supports LGBT people affected by violence and abuse.
“They will be able to facilitate appropriate support and advice, maintain confidentiality and treat anything you tell them with the utmost sensitivity.”