London: A British chef went on trial on Wednesday accused of drugging and murdering four young men he met on gay networking sites, then dumping their bodies in or near a graveyard close to his London home.
Stephen Port, 41, invited the men back to his flat and spiked their drinks or injected them with drugs so he could have sex with them while they were unconscious, a London court heard.
Four of his victims died of overdoses and Port is accused of dragging their bodies outside, planting bottles of the party drug GHB on some of them and writing a fake suicide note for another.
He is accused of sexually assaulting or raping another eight victims who survived.
"In the pursuit of nothing more than his own sexual gratification, (Port) variously drugged, sexually assaulted and in four cases killed young gay men he had invited back to his flat," prosecuting lawyer Jonathan Rees said.
Port faces 29 charges relating to 12 men between February 2012 and October 2015, including the murders of four men in their 20s.
All four died in "strikingly similar" circumstances, the court heard, and in each case, Port is accused of lying to police about his involvement with the victims.
Port denies all the charges against him.
The court heard how Port was attracted to smaller men with boyish looks, known as "twinks", who he met on social networking sites such as Grindr.
He also allegedly used the sites to buy a range of drugs, including poppers, Viagra, Meow Meow -- a synthetic stimulant -- and GHB and GBL, chemically similar substances which can induce euphoria but can also have strong sedative effects.