Stephen Port inquests: Killer told neighbour second victim died abroad
Ryan Hooper, PA Chief Reporter
- Credit: Met Police
Barking serial killer Stephen Port tried to cover his tracks by telling a concerned neighbour his second victim died in mysterious circumstances abroad, an inquest heard.
Ryan Edwards said Port urged him not to speak to others about the death of Gabriel Kovari, 22, and described how he had concerns about Port’s fascination with young men and children’s toys.
Mr Edwards first met Mr Kovari after Port, who was said to have “a revolving door of boys coming and going”, invited him round to meet his “new Slovakian twink flat mate” (Mr Kovari) on August 24, 2014.
The next day, Mr Kovari told Mr Edwards that Port “is not the person you think he is, he’s not a nice man”.
This prompted Mr Edwards to offer him shelter at his home nearby, but Mr Kovari did not reply to his follow-up messages.
Unbeknownst to Mr Edwards, he was found dead on August 28 in a secluded corner of St Margaret’s Churchyard, near Port’s flat.
Two days earlier, Port contacted Mr Edwards saying Mr Kovari had moved out.
Port followed this by asking Mr Edwards if he had seen Mr Kovari around, floating the idea that he moved to Spain.
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Port then texted Mr Edwards on September 11 to say the young man had died on a flight abroad.
In one text, shown to inquest jurors today (October 28), Port wrote: “Hey neighbour, have just heard sum (sic) sad news from one of Gabriel’s friends that Gab did return to Spain to be with his bf (boyfriend) and he died on arrival from an infection.
“His (sic) being buried in slovkya (sic). Please don’t put on FB (Facebook) or mention to anyone else as his family are in bits.”
Mr Edwards, 42, said he found Port’s story to be suspicious, but did not have any reason to disbelieve him.
In fact, Mr Edwards was unaware that Mr Kovari was found dead in Barking until over a year later because he was away that month.
He also told inquest jurors that Port had a “voracious appetite” for meeting “very young” men, and had a “strange” obsession with children’s toys.
He said killer Port spent time with “vulnerable” boys to such an extent that he considered the softly-spoken chef might have “paedophile tendencies”.
Mr Edwards said he also had concerns about Port’s drug use, but was reassured by the predator that his interest in young males was legal and that the drugs were for personal use only.
Port, now 46, was jailed for life in 2016 after being convicted of murder by plying four young, gay men with fatal doses of the drug GHB, as well as a number of rapes.
Mr Edwards said he would have reported concerns about Port’s young companions and about drug use if there was any evidence of criminal activity, as he had done with a previous friend.
Anthony Walgate, 23, Mr Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, were all found dead near Port’s flat between June 2014 and September 2015.
Inquests into the four deaths are examining whether police actions could have stopped the 6ft 5in serial killer earlier.