いろいろな意味で, Stephen Port did not fit the serial killer stereotype.
The softly spoken, bus depot chef had a “strange” obsession with children’s toys and rarely socialised, instead spending his free time in his flat on his laptop or internet dating, rarely going too far from work and home.
But the reality, unknown to the few who knew him, was that the 6ft 5in former escort was obsessed with drug-rape pornography, and lured unwitting, boyish-looking, gay men to his flat through websites such as Grindr before fatally plying them with GHB, sexually abusing them, and disposing of their corpses.
Port then weaved an unending web of lies to cover his tracks and muddy the waters, allowing him to strike again and again until police finally pieced together Port’s murderous involvement in four deaths.
Evidence at the inquests suggested Port had more aliases – used to spread rumours in the aftermath of each murder – than he had genuine friends.
Port, originally from Dagenham, trained as a chef after dropping out of art school.
He lived at home until his early 30s, having come out as gay, and part-bought a one-bedroom flat in Barking that would eventually become the grim theatre for his depraved acts.
As he approached his 40s, but with his desire for much younger male company unrelenting, the balding Port began to wear a floppy, blond hair-piece atop his athletic frame in an effort to persuade people he was closer to their age.
Port became a GHB user towards the end of 2013 そして, by then, had come to the attention of police for allegedly drugging and raping a man on New Year’s Eve.
He was said to have had a “revolving door of boys coming and going” at his flat, some of whom he boasted he would wed, only for them to disappear out of his life as quickly as they arrived.
確かに, one of his few friends, neighbour Ryan Edwards, remarked how Port had a “voracious appetite” for meeting “very young” men.
But he later became so concerned that Port was spending time with “vulnerable” boys that he considered he 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.
The truth, as police would later come to discover, was far more sinister.