The first victim of the Grinder killer ‘may have died a day before he was found’

The inquest heard that the first victim, known as the ‘Grinder Killer’, may have died more than a day before his affected body was discovered.

Anthony Walgate, 23, was found anchored on the wall outside the East London Flats of Barking, east of Stephen’s Block, in the early morning hours of June 19, 2014, when four drug-related murders of young and gay men were ported over a 16-month period.

Fashion student Anthony Walgate, 23, was Stephen Port’s first victim in June 2014

(PA)

Home Office pathologist Dr Olaf Beedzicki testified Tuesday that Mr Walgate, who was working as an escort, had died of a high dose of GHB poisoning. After his first post-mortem examination, he ruled out death from “natural causes.”

Andrew O’Connor QC, examiner’s adviser, said: “Anthony was alive on Tuesday 17 June and was in touch with some friends and went to Barking that evening.

“We know he met Stephen Port, whose body was found Thursday morning, June 19th.

“The first question is, when did Anthony die in one and a half days for you (Dr. Bidekicki) in 2014, and secondly you can watch now?”

Dr. Bedrzycki replied: “I don’t think pathology is helpful.

“If there’s a corpse at the entrance of a block of flats on Wednesday morning, I imagine someone might have seen it.”

Mr. Walgate had bruises on his body and was moving while he was alive — unconscious or near death.

Dr. Bedrzycki said: “I don’t think he’s dead when those bruises happen.

“But if they are sick with low pulse, low blood pressure, and they are in the process of dying, they are more likely to form.”

The inquest had previously seen Mr Walgate’s death as suspicious by paramedics and police officers, but was later opposed by paramedic medical examiners.

The alarm was first raised by Port itself, who initially said Mr Walgate had invented the word “gurgling”.

In his 999 call, Port claimed he did not know what happened to Mr Walgate but later told police he had met for sex, the trial judge asked.

He admitted that he had picked him up, dragged him and penetrated the wall, the jury was told.

Port later lied to police about the circumstances of Mr Walgate’s death.

Fellow victims Gabriel Kovari, 22, and Daniel Whitworth, 21, were found dead by the same dog walker on August 28 and September 20, 2014, respectively, in the corner of a wall cemetery near the Port address.

The final victim, Jack Taylor, 25, was found on the other side of the stone wall on September 14, 2015.

Port, now 46, was found guilty of four murders at the Old Bailey in 2016 and sentenced to life imprisonment the entire time.

The long-awaited inquiry into the deaths is examining whether police have made mistakes in their investigation that could result in the loss of lives by failing to stop the port quickly.

The trial continues.

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