‘Four Lives’ brings to the screen the Stephen Port murder cases

Four Lives

A new mini-series will screen soon in Britain documenting the murder cases of four young men who were revealed to be the victims of serial killer Stephen Port. The three part drama was filmed several years ago but has not been able to be screened until now because of ongoing legal action related to the cases.

Originally titled The Barking Murders, the series will hit the screen under the new title Four Lives. 

The drama comes as an inquest found that there had been failings by the police to fully investigate the cases, their short coming potentially contributing to the deaths of several of the victims.

Port met his victims, who were all in their twenties, on a gay social networking sites including Grindr and Fitlads before poisoning them and dumping their bodies in and around a nearby  graveyard.

At his trial it was alleged that he had drugged them men with GBH and that Port had sex with his victims once they were unconscious.

Port was found guilty of the murders of Gabriel Kovari, 22 a student; Daniel Whitworth, 21, Jack Taylor, 25, a fork lift driver and aspiring fashion designer Anthony Walgate, who was 23.

Their bodies were discovered between June 2014 and September 2015. Kovari and Witworth’s bodies were found in the churchyard of St Margaret’s church. The third victim, Jack Taylor’s body  was found near the nearby ruins of an Abbey.

Four Lives

The trial judge, Justice Openshaw, sentenced Port to a whole life sentence for the murders but was also additionally given another life sentence for the sexual assaults and a sentence of ten years for the drugging of the men. Port was also found guilty of offences committed for a string of sexual offences committed against seven other men who came forward and testified at the trial.

The dramatisation features Sheridan Smith who portrays Sarah Sak, the mother of Walgate, who campaigned to prove that her son had been drugged raped and murdered. At first Police would only list his death as “unexplained” rather than suspicious.

Jeff Pope, the senior producer of Four Lives, has told Radio Times that when he first began the project he thought the failure of police to properly investigate Walgate’s death would probably be linked to “rampant homophobia” in the Metropolitan Police.

“But it’s actually more worrying than that,” he said. “The shoddy investigation was due to ineptitude, poor systems, underfunding.”

Pope said he was shocked to discover the reason Walgate’s death was at first categorised as a lower priority was because investigations into suspicious deaths require greater resources, and more costs.

Take a look at the series trailer. 

Taking on the role of serial killer Stephen Port is actor Stephen Merchant. The co-creator of The Office and Extras is usually seen in comedy roles, this will be his first major dramatic part.

Merchant certainly has a similar physicality to Port, Merchant is 6’7, while Port is 6’4. In the trailer it can be seen that Merchant has shaved his head for the role, Port was bald but was seen wearing a hair piece in photographs prior to his arrest.

Four Lives begins screening in Britain on January 3rd. No Australian broadcast date has been announced at this stage. 

OIP Staff

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