Stephen Port trial: ‘I thought it cannot be the same thing, in exactly the same place’ - dog-walker tells court how she found two alleged victims
PUBLISHED: 14:48 13 October 2016
Stephen Port is accused of murdering four young men including Gravesend’s Daniel Whitworth
The big sister of alleged serial killer Stephen Port told jurors she felt “sick” with worry when he confessed he had a dead body in his bedroom.
Port, 41, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with murdering four young men with lethal doses of date rape drug GHB after luring them to his flat in Barking, east London.
One of his victims, Slovakian Gabriel Kovari, was found dumped in a graveyard near Port’s home the day after he told his sister about the body, the court heard.
On August 27 2014, Sharon Port, 44, rang her brother and during their conversation he allegedly told her there was a body in his bed and he could not wake him up.
Miss Port, of Clacton on Sea, Essex, told jurors: “I just asked him to tell me why he was stressed and what was wrong. He did not want to tell me at first.
“We had always been close and I’ve always looked out for him.
“He just said there was a body in his flat and I just told him to go to the police straight away. It was a bit of a shock.”
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC asked: “Did your brother explain as to how this came to be?”
Miss Port said: “Just that he stayed the night with my brother and when he woke up in the morning he wasn’t moving.
“They had taken drugs but I didn’t know what.”
Asked how long the man had been in that state, she said it had been “a day and a night” during which time he had been to work as a chef at a bus depot in West Ham.
She told jurors: “I was sick about it. It’s not the sort of thing you hear every day. I was very worried. I wanted him to drop everything and go to the station then ring me when he got out and tell me what happened.”
She was so concerned, she drove with her boyfriend to Barking and when she was en route, Port called to say he had been bailed by police, the court heard.
When she went to his flat, he appeared “stressed and tired”, she said.
The following March, when Port was convicted of perverting the course of justice, he told his sister that the man who died was called Anthony and he was from Lithuania, the court heard.
In fact, Port had been jailed for eight months for lying to police about the circumstances of 23-year-old Anthony Walgate’s death after ringing 999 to report a body in the communal area of his flat on June 19 2014.
On the morning of August 28, dog walker Barbara Denham found 22-year-old Mr Kovari’s body while walking her collie dog in Abbey Green, near St Margaret’s Church graveyard.
Then on the morning of September 20, she came across Port’s third victim, 21-year-old Daniel Whitworth, in exactly the same place, the court heard.
Port had allegedly tried to get away with killing Mr Kovari, by planting a fake suicide note on the body of Mr Whitworth, admitting involvement in his “accidental” death.
Giving evidence, Ms Denham broke down as she described her shock at finding two of Port’s alleged murder victims in the space of two months.
She told jurors she would go round the grounds of the Abbey ruins and St Margaret’s Church graveyard every day as part of her habitual “small to medium” walk.
Describing finding Mr Kovari, she said: “I was right close to him. I have got the dog and walking round.
“Because there was no movement, that made me decide to turn back and get his attention. There was no movement, nothing whatsoever.
“I just touched him slightly on the ankle but obviously he just felt cold to the touch.
“He was wearing dark glasses and they were skewiff. I didn’t think it was right. You don’t go to sleep with dark glasses on.”
She called police and waited until they arrived about five minutes later.
The witness confirmed that the body had not been there when she walked the dog the evening before.
She became emotional and choked up when she told of finding a second body - that of Mr Whitworth - just a month later.
She said: “I seen him there and thought it cannot be the same thing again, in exactly the same place, lying in exactly the same position. I was so sad to find out - yes it was. I’m sorry.”
She went on: “I could see he had some form of a note in a plastic folder but I did not touch that.
“I virtually did the same thing with him that I did on the other young chap and again there was no obvious sign of him being alive.”
Port was finally arrested following the death of 25-year-old forklift truck driver Jack Taylor.
The pair were captured on CCTV meeting at Barking station hours before his death on September 13 last year.
Port denies 29 offences against a total of 12 men - including four murders, seven rapes, four sex assaults and administering a substance with intent.