Port’s first victim was Anthony Walgate, a fashion student from Hull who was spiked with a fatal overdose of the date-rape drug GHB. Port proceeded to rape Walgate before discarding his body in the street.
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Sarah has previously stated that the inquest into her son’s death was ‘a travesty’, after police missed crucial evidence and acted with an attitude of indifference to Anthony’s death.
Sarah’s son Anthony Walgate was killed on June 19, 2014, becoming the first victim of the Grindr killer, Stephen Port.
A fashion student from Hull, Anthony had made contact with Port two days before and went over to the killer’s flat on June 19, where he was spiked with a fatal overdose of GHB.
Port proceeded to rape Walgate, before moving his body onto the pavement outside his flat and calling the police anonymously, falsely claiming that he had been driving past and saw a young man collapse in the street.
Anthony Walgate was pronounced dead shortly before 8am. He was 23 years old.
Fight for Justice
Sarah, along with the friends and families of the victims, was highly critical of the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the case.
She believed that crucial details and witnesses were overlooked and that there was an attitude of indifference demonstrated by the officers.
Grieving Sarah refused to accept the overdose story put forward by killer Port and begged police to investigate him further.
Yet the police initially failed to connect the cases despite all the men being gay, in their early 20s, apparently dying of drug overdoses, and with their mobile phones missing.
A BBC documentary broadcast in March 2017 suggested a “catalogue of police failings” in the Met’s response to the deaths.
Following Port’s conviction, the Independent Police Complaints Commission opened an investigation into whether 17 police officers should face disciplinary action.
Sarah and the families of the other victims have also opened a civil claim against the Metropolitan Police, emphasising their dissatisfaction and feeling of injustice with the officers who handled the case.
In the new BBC drama, Sarah Sak is portrayed by Sheridan Smith, a casting call that Sarah is very pleased with.
Sarah said: “I told series writer Neil McKay he had to find a gobby northern bird to play me, someone like Sheridan Smith or Sarah Lancashire. I couldn’t believe it when he said Sheridan had agreed.
“Sheridan has done a brilliant job. I think she is the perfect person to play me.”
Sarah admits it was odd watching herself being played by an actress, but is relieved to be portrayed by a fellow northerner and not some ‘posh actress’.
“Watching someone play me on screen is very, very strange,” she said. “That is particularly the case when the dialogue is sometimes word for word the things you have said.
“The actor playing Anthony really brought him to life and it was both difficult and uplifting to watch.”
The episodes of Four Lives air on BBC One this week at 9pm, or are available on the iPlayer.
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