Given our seamy obsession with serial killers, real and fictional, one would expect the crimes of Stephen Port to have made more of a mark on the national psyche.
Port was convicted in November of the rape and murder of four young men in Barking, east London over a 15-month period. His modus operandi was cold and calculating: He would contact men on gay hook-up sites and incapacitate them with ‘date rape drug’ GHB, before sexually assaulting and murdering them. A further seven men were drugged and/or raped but lived. Port is serving a whole-life sentence; he will die in prison.
What makes these crimes particularly shocking is that the Metropolitan Police apparently had multiple chances to stop them and failed each and every time. Officers allegedly routinely ignored or dismissed information that could have led to Port’s apprehension. Unforgivably, they not only had Port in custody at one point, he was jailed for perverting the course of justice. And still he was able to carry out his murderous campaign under the noses of the authorities. These revelations are what made Thursday night’s BBC documentary, How Police Missed the Grindr Killer, at turns compelling, depressing and infuriating.