An alleged serial killer has appeared in court accused of drugging and murdering four young men he met on gay websites, and dumping their bodies in and around a churchyard in east London.
Stephen Port, 40, is accused of poisoning the four men, who were all in their 20s, in a spate of attacks over 14 months.
Port, of Cooke Street, Barking in east London, has been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm, the Press Association reports.
It is alleged he invited the men back to his house where they were given large amounts of the party drug GHB which they overdosed on.
The bodies of two of the men were found by a dog walker less than a month apart in the churchyard of St Margaret's Church in North Street in Barking, while another was found near the ruins of Barking Abbey.
Port, who is blonde with a receding hairline, appeared in the dock at Barkingside Magistrates accompanied by three uniformed officers.
He spoke only to confirm his name, age and address during the brief hearing.
Wearing a prison issue grey tracksuit he held one of his arms and repeatedly glanced at the floor. He gave no indication of plea.
Port allegedly killed Anthony Walgate, 23, a fashion and design student at Middlesex University who was originally from Hull but living in Barnet. Mr Walgate was pronounced dead on Cooke Street on June 19 last year.
Port also allegedly murdered Gabriel Kovari, 22, originally from Slovakia but living in Lewisham. Mr Kovari's body was found by a dog walker near the churchyard of St Margaret's Church on August 28 last year.
Just under a month later, on September 20, the same dog walker discovered the body of Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, near the same churchyard.
Port is also accused of killing Jack Taylor, 25, a forklift truck driver from Dagenham, whose body was found near the Abbey ruins close to North Street on September 14.
The deaths were not initially linked, but after further investigation they were referred to the Metropolitan Police homicide and major crime command on October 14.
Deputy District Judge Shlomo Kreiman remanded Port in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.