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Romanian oil company claims Iran has seized one of its rigs

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Orizont oil platform in the Persian Gulf, owned by the Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) of Romania, has allegedly been boarded by Iranian troops after being fired at by a helicopter. Romanian officials have not “heard anything” from the workers on the platform “since then [the attack].”, according to a company statement. The Iranian news agency IRNA claims that the personnel who boarded the platform were not “troops” but “police”.

“We were called by one of our employees at 9.15 a.m. local time (0615 GMT), who told us a military helicopter opened fire against the Orizont rig, and by 9.45 Iranian troops got on board. Since then, we haven’t heard anything from them,” said Radu Petrescu, a spokesman for Servicii Petroliere.

According to a representative of GSP, Lulu Tabanesku, “Iranian [troops] used machine guns” and Iran is “in control of the rig. We cannot contact the rig.” There were at least 26 workers on the 13,000-ton platform when it came under fire. There is no word on whether there are any casualties.

The Foreign Minister of Romania is scheduled to have a meeting to discuss the attack with Iranian officials on Wednesday, but so far Iran has yet to release an official statement regarding the attack. Romanian president Traian B?sescu was unable to reach Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, the day of the rig’s seizure. August 22 is an Iranian National holiday.

The Romanian company GSP operates the Orizant and Fortuna rigs that are both subjects of a legal dispute with the Oriental Oil Company who rents the oil rights to Petro Iran Development Company (PEDCO), a broker for the National Iranian Oil Company. According to PEDCO, an Iranian court ruling in the contract dispute between the two companies found that both rigs should remain in Iranian waters. GSP moved the Fortuna rig on August 15, claiming the contract was cancelled illegally, Iran accused the Romanians of “hijacking” the platform.



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Nelson Mandela charity official resigns over ‘blood diamonds’

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) trustee Jeremy Ractliffe has resigned from the charity’s board, twelve days after admitting to the possession of “blood diamonds”.

Earlier this month, supermodel Naomi Campbell testified against former Liberian president Charles Taylor when she claimed she received “very small, dirty looking stones” from two men, allegedly associated with Taylor. Campbell said she gave these diamonds to Ractliffe to “do something good with” in 1997. He gave the diamonds to police the day after Campbell’s testimony. The police confirmed the stones were diamonds.

The board of the Mandela charity said in a statement, “Mr. Ractliffe regrets his omission to inform the chairperson, chief executive officer and the rest of the board of trustees of the NMCF of his receipt of the uncut diamonds until now… [Ractliffe] acknowledges that had he done so, he and the board would have found a better and lawful way to manage the situation.”

Ractliffe took the diamonds from Campbell, fearing she might be prosecuted for removing uncut diamonds from South Africa, illegal without a license.

Ractcliffe said, “Naomi suggested they could be of some benefit to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund — but I told her I would not involve the NMCF in anything that could possibly be illegal… In the end I decided I should just keep them.”

Taylor is on trial in The Hague, The Netherlands for allegedly trading diamonds for weapons to supply the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone. Taylor faces eleven counts for international crimes including rape, sexual slavery, enlistment of children under the age of fifteen, and pillaging.



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Sweeping bank regulatory overhaul passed in US House of Representatives

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Never again, never again should Wall Street greed bring such suffering to our country.

The US House of Representatives passed a significant overhaul of financial regulations that strengthens the government’s hold on banks and also creates a new federal agency to oversee consumer lending on Wednesday.

“Never again, never again should Wall Street greed bring such suffering to our country,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD after the bill was passed by the House.

The House vote, which was mainly split over party lines, had 237 representatives in favor and 192 opposed. Only three Republicans voted for the bill, though this was an increase from December, when no Republicans voted for the previous version of the bill. This new bill combines the old December bill with a newer one passed by the more conservative Senate last month.

But even though the Senate passed their bill already, support for the one passed Wednesday looks a little uncertain. Since earlier this year the Democrats lost their 60 vote filibuster majority, they had to secure the votes of a few more moderate Republican senators to beat back procedural hurdles. Democrats struggled to win the full support of these senators even after backing down on a US$19 billion tax on big banks and hedge funds, which had been opposed by Republicans. This group of senators includes Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. All three voted for the Senate bill last month.

The $19 billion tax was inserted in the 2000 page plus bill late last week, which came as a surprise to many large banks. Brown initially objected to the tax, and threatened to vote against the entire bill if the tax was not removed. Instead, the new way of financing the bill’s cost will be using $11 billion in cash that came from ending the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a bill passed in 2008 that bailed out struggling banks, and also by increasing rates that banks pay to insure bank deposits to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. However, the increase in rates won’t affect banks with assets of less then $10 billion.

On Wednesday, Collins wrote a statement saying that she now planned to vote for the bill. However, Brown remained on the fence and said he would use recess during the week of July 4th to examine the details of the bill. He credited Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd for “thinking outside the box” in coming with a new way to fund the bill.

Other Republicans were much more opposed to the bill, and attacked it for failing to place tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants that helped trigger the economic and housing meltdowns. House Republican leader John Boehner compared the new bill to using a nuclear weapon on an ant. In response, President Barack Obama said in a speech in Racine, Wisconsin that “[i]f the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant.”



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Wikinews interviews evicted London Metropolitan University occupier

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A group of students at London Metropolitan University (LMU) who had been occupying the graduate centre at their university since the afternoon of Wednesday May 4 were evicted just before midnight on Monday by police, university security and private bailiffs.

Wikinews, in contact with the occupiers, obtained a first-hand interview with one of the occupiers less than two hours after the occupation ended. The students staged the occupation in protest against cutbacks to courses at the university which, if enacted, would close 70% of the courses the university offers.

John Hughes, 35, a mature student born in the North London borough of Hackney and living in Brixton, was one of over twenty students who were sleeping overnight in the university building. A second-year student in sociology and international development, one of the courses at risk, Hughes described the police intervention at around 11:40pm:

As I came in the area we were occupying they came straight in the door…There was no warning. […] We were served the injunction on the spot by two county court sheriffs, four police officers, ten bailiffs and one member of London Met security. We said, ‘we need time to read this’. We were given ten minutes to read it and take our stuff.

The occupiers have not had access to legal advice, although they have had “a bit of advice from some people who are not actually lawyers”. The occupiers complain they were given no notice of the injunction and that it is inaccurate, naming at least one person “who hadn’t committed trespass at all”.

The eviction also pre-empts an agreement, negotiated by London Metropolitan University Students’ Union president Claire Locke, for LMU vice-chancellor Malcolm Gillies to meet with the occupation on Tuesday morning. The occupiers feel certain now that Gillies’ office made this agreement with the Students’ Union and occupiers in bad faith, knowing that an injunction evicting the occupation would be served before then.

The injunction follows a night after the occupation was itself invaded by members of a private security firm hired by the university management. In the early hours of Monday morning, occupiers say security staff kicked open the doors and entered an area where people were sleeping. Security personnel say an alarm was going off in the area; occupiers say there was no such alarm. Private security have also been sexually harassing and verbally intimidating the occupiers, Hughes alleges. “One of the members of the security team said through the doors to a young lady, ‘you should put up a picture of yourself, something that’s more sexy’ and ‘I’m quite a big bloke, and if I wanted to come into the occupation I would. Two young ladies are not going to stop me.'” Occupiers have also heard some racist comments from private security; the occupiers themselves are “a very mixed group” of all ages and ethnicities, “some from London, some from outside London, working class and some middle class.”

If the occupation had not been evicted, Hughes says they could have held out. “We had water, food and drinks for a while. I’m not sure for how long.” Students at Aberystwyth University in Wales occupied two rooms at their university for over a month earlier this year.



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Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.



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Airplane in Nigeria crashes during mock rescue exercise

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Nigerian airplane crashed in the city of Port Harcourt yesterday, resulting in several minor injuries.

The plane was supposed to be taking part in a mock rescue exercise, and was carrying 30 members from the National Emergency Management Agency and other emergency workers, when it slid off the runway and into some bushes after landing at Port Harcourt International Airport.

The rescue workers on the ground, intended to participate in the emergency drill, instead had to deal with a real emergency; however, only a few people on board the aircraft sustained minor wounds.

A spokeswoman for the police, Rita Inoma-Abbey, commented today that “[n]o life was lost, but the aircraft was severely damaged.”



The Demon Lover

Read An Opinion On:

The Demon Lover

by

C. Ozcan

Conflict is one of the most important elements of stories, novels and plays because it causes the action. In order to discover what the story is really about, it is important to examine those conflicts to find some ideas and themes. Conflict that exists totally within a person is called inner-conflict. It usually involves indecision, self-doubt, self-blame or some intense emotion.

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It is a state of mind in which you find it impossible to make a decision. It takes place within the mind of a character. In the story, The Demon Lover, by Elizabeth Bowen the major character, Mrs. Kathleen Drover, has an inner conflict. She is struggling to make a decision, take an action or overcome her feelings from the begining of the story till the end. The Demon Lover is a tale of one womans introspective journey to face repreesed memories of her past. The story takes place in the context of World War I and II. It is about an inward pilgrimage of Kathleen Drover who returns to her old house to pick up some things which she has left long before. Although it is not clear whether or not Kathleen Drovers return to her house is a physical journey, it is with certitude, a psychological one. She has been feeling guilty for the last twenty five years of her life. She promised to wait her fiance the day she sent him to war. But, she could not keep it and got married and became Mrs.Drover. As the story starts, we come across with Mrs.Drover who decides to go back to her old house which has not been used since war times. She goes there to question her life. Nevertheless, she has some doubts. She has repressed all her feelings for a long time and when she is confronted with truth she does not know how to behave. She has lived so long with no balance between societal rules and personal desires. She created a false identity for herself and bahaved according to the norms of society. She was expected to get married and she herself considered it as an escape. Later, she realized that it was impossible to escape from her real identity. So, this journey represents the exploration of her unconscious. In the begining of the story, there is a description of weather. This tells readers a lot about the mood of the character. It was late August; it had been a steamy, showery day : at the moment the trees down the pavement glitterd in an escape of humid yellow afternoon sun. ( pg 346) August is time of harvest. When we think of Mrs.Drover picking her things up, it is same for her. It is also end of summer when you are out of energy. Mrs.Drovers strength is also lessening because she can not bear this tension any more. It is a steamy hot weather; but on the other hand it is showery. This rain can be interpretted as release for her. She will feel releived after that visit. It is not only rain but shower. All of her feelings come out in a much stronger way because of the fact they have been repressed for twenty five years. The house also represents the psyche of Mrs.Drover. Bruised and battered by the war, the house contains several battle scars: the bruise in the wallpaper, claw-marks and the cracks in the structure, left by the last bombing. Not only her mind but also the house is damaged. She has closed the house which means she has erased her past. She now gets into her own mind she has locked . She is there to question her life. Nevertheless she is not sure whether to enter or not. She slowly forced round her latchkey in an unwilling lock, then gave the door, which had warped, a push with her knee. ( pg 346) It is clear from the passage that she has a dilemma in herself. She makes a decision but she is unwilling to act according to it. It is said to be an unwilling lock, but still she pushes the door with her knee. She wants to uncover the repressed memories but she suffers a lot while doing so. She had not put any more powder since she left the shop where she ate her solitary tea. ( pg348 ) She did not want to cover something on her face. It seems she is ready to confront with her past; but she is not willing to see the realities. Her going there without putting no powder on her face may be explained as her wish not to hide anything, but still she wears a hat which is pulled down. She keeps a secret which she can not confess. She is in between. She is so indecisive that she can not choose the right way. Mrs.Drover is described as a prosaic woman whose normal expression was that of controlled worry, but of assent (pg 348) She has always tried to control her life. Even her worry is controlled to maintain the impression that she is okey. She has always been a woman suffering and scarred by a repressed emotional event. As the story goes on we see a letter written by Kathleen addessed to herself . She has already forgot about it. She considers it written by her fiance. The letter is about the promise which should have been kept. She wrote the letter in order to relieve from the feeling of guilt. We, as readers, can see her conflict here. She has been suffering for a long time and she thinks she has to be punished. Therefore, she arranges the punishment herself. She comes back to the house in their anniversary date. She believes she has to suffer. Hence, she plans all these just to be punished. While she is getting ready to go, she thinks about the bad sides of him. He was never kind to me, not really, I dont remember him kind at all. Mother said he never considered me. He set on me, that was what it was- not love. Not love, not meaning a person well. What did he do, to make me promise like that?( pg 351 ). She wants to feel relaxed. On the one hand she feels guilty, but to make herself better she says she should not any more. After spending enough time in the house, she decides to flee. The idea of the taxi driver made her decisive, bold: she unlocked the door, went to the top of the staircase and listened down. (pg 351). The idea that she will leave the gloomy atmosphere makes her feel good, but still her mind is full of questions. She interpretes every sound as her fiances voice. She wants to leave before he comes; she does not consider that he will never be able to come as he is reported missing- probably dead in the war. When she comes eye to eye with the taxi driver, she starts to scream. She thinks that he is her fiance. No matter who the man is, she is ready to take any male she sees. Her screaming and beating on the glass around the taxi indicate a mental breakdown. At last, she comes to that point. But, on the other hand, this scream may be interpretted as something positive. Finally, she does not have to repress anything or control her feelings but she screams. She is in conflict with her mind. She has lived with that pressure all the time . She spent her days thinking about the promise and consequences she had to pay for not keeping it. At last, she accomplished; she came across with all the realities; the next step is much easier now ; because she is not willing to return to the town without the objects she has come to fetch.

C. Ozcan – is the author for Site Insaat Inc. Please visit

Site Insaat Mimarlik Taahht Dekorasyon Izolasyon

for more information about Turkish contracting and construction services in Turkey.

Article Source:

The Demon Lover



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Judge jails ‘monstrous’ London serial killer Stephen Port

Sunday, November 27, 2016

More than a year after he was first charged, a judge on Friday sentenced London serial killer Stephen Port to life imprisonment without parole for four murders and a host of poisoning and sexual offences, calling him “wicked and monstrous”. Port was convicted of the murders on Wednesday.

Chef Port, 41, was first charged on October 18 last year and made his first court appearance the following day. He initially faced four counts of murder and four of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm”. Two days later a provisional trial date was set in April but Port did not end up entering his pleas of not guilty until July 25.

The truth sounded like a lie, so I lied to make it sound like the truth

Delays were caused by post-charge investigations. By then Port was also facing the remaining charges; six more of administering a poison, seven of rape, and four of assault by penetration. These charges involved eight additional [alleged] victims. The poisoning charges were changed to “administering a substance with intent to stupefy / overpower to allow sexual activity” by the time of the trial.

The case revolved around allegations Port drugged, raped, and murdered men at his London flat. The prosecution told jurors Port’s modus operandi was to arrange to meet gay men via Grindr and other gay dating sites, then administer sometimes-lethal overdoses of recreational drug GHB.

Three of the deaths occurred in 2014. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lived in Cooke Street. The other three victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28, 2014. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20, 2014. Fourth victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14, 2015.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths less than a week before Port’s arrest.

Detectives released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.” Shortly after Port was charged police again appealed for anybody with knowledge of him “no matter how insignificant” to come forward in what local press called a “highly unusual” move.

The ten male jurors and two women were warned at the opening of the trial to face potentially graphic evidence in “a cool, dispassionate and analytical manner” by Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting. He told the court Port satisfied his “appetite for penetrating drugged young men”. The case was tried before Mr Justice Openshaw, who sentenced Port on Friday, at the Old Bailey, a famous London courthouse. Port was represented by David Etherington QC.

CCTV of Port and Taylor at Barking Train Station featured in the trial. After exchanging Grindr messages the duo agreed a meet for September 13, 2014; the day prior to Taylor’s body being found. The meeting was set for 3:00 at the station; Port is seen walking to the scene while Taylor arrives in a taxi. By 7:20 Port had blocked Taylor’s Grindr account and later that day deleted his own account.

I just thought he was disgusting and vile. He thought it was fine. He thought it was funny.

A rubbish collector found Taylor’s body, propped up and with his clothing ridden up as if he had been dragged. A bottle and bag of drugs were on his body, as was a syringe.

Port contacted Walgate on website Sleepyboys. Walgate worked as a prostitute and had notified a friend of the planned night “in case I get killed”. Port left the corpse outside his flat before phoning 999. Initially he denied knowing Walgate but later told police Walgate took drugs voluntarily while alone in the flat. Port, who said he “panicked” after returning from work to find Walgate dying, was imprisoned for eight months and released on licence after three in 2015 for lying in the investigation.

The prosecution told jurors Walgate was too cautious to consume drugs and it must have been Port who slipped him GHB, which led to death. Port’s 999 call was played to jurors; he hangs up early after saying he has to go to his parked car and the operator calls back to ask further questions. In the call Port says the man has apparently collapsed, is possibly drunk, and is a stranger to him.

Port was to tell police he slapped the man’s face and heard a “gurgling noise” in response, but a statement from the first paramedic on-scene stated the body was already cold when help arrived. After being alerted to the death by the ambulance service police tracked down Port. Pathologist Olaf Biedrzycki testified at the trial that Walgate’s death was due to GHB overdose, his underwear was both inside out and back to front, his fly was down, and there were fourteen injuries to the body.

Port’s police statement was that he had also propped the man into a sitting position, which was how paramedics found him. He said after ending the call he went to sleep rather than waiting for the ambulance. Walgate’s top was raised suggesting dragging of the body, and there were drugs in a holdall beside the body. After the trial the BBC reported a nearby CCTV camera was not working.

The bodies of both Kovari and Whitworth were found in the same spot as each other in St Margaret’s churchyard, about 500m (1600 feet) from Port’s home, within a month of each other. Both were found by Barbara Denham who testified she walked her dog at least once a day through the area. Like Walgate, both men were found sitting. Like Walgate, a bottle of GHB was with Whitworth’s body. Both of their clothing had again ridden up suggesting dragging. Whitworth was on a blue sheet; Port’s semen was on the sheet, which had come from his flat.

Whitworth’s body bore an apparent suicide note in which he seemed to blame himself for Kovari’s death, saying he had injected Kovari with GHB. The note said he could not confess to police for fear of his family seeing him going to prison. The note said “please do not blame the guy I was with last night, we only had sex and then I left, he knows nothing of what I have done.”

Rees told jurors an expert in handwriting analysis had ruled out Whitworth as the author and found it to be written by Port in what Rees called a “wicked” bid to frame Whitworth. Rees also said Port’s DNA was on the bottle of drugs on Whitworth’s corpse. Police initially accepted the note as genuine and did not investigate further; no effort was made to find who “the guy I was with last night” might be. The note was written on paper traced to Port’s flat, and in a plastic sleeve also traced to the flat.

Rees said the man was Port, the two having met via Fitlads, and that “cruel and manipulative” Port deleted his Fitlads account shortly after the meet. Rees also said Kovari told friends he had found a flat in the Barking area of London five days before he was found dead, alleging this was Port’s flat. Port’s defence was Whitworth had dictated the note to him.

Whitworth’s boyfriend, Ricky Waumsley, told the court Whitworth’s behaviour was inconsistent with guilty or suicidal thoughts. Waumsley also testified Port had never to his knowledge taken recreational drugs aside from experimenting with cannabis during a holiday in Amsterdam.

Katie Impey, a friend of Whitworth, said the deceased’s mother committed suicide and thereafter Whitworth viewed taking one’s own life as “the most selfish thing anyone could ever do, and you should never do it, so I know he didn’t kill himself.” Impey also spoke of the final conversation she had with her friend in which he spoke of a new romantic interest called Gab. “He was really excited. He said ‘I’ve met someone, he’s really artsy, he’s really cute, I don’t know how I’m going to tell Ricky’.”

The trial featured five months of content from a Facebook account named Jon Luck. Port’s computer was used to access the account, and Port admitted he was the user. The account was used to exchange messages with Kovari’s boyfriend Thierry Amodio, with Port pretending to be a Californian student who knew Kovari.

Port, via the Jon Luck account, told Amodio he spent two days with Kovari and that Kovari attended a drugs-fueled orgy with a man named Dan. Amodio was seeking information on his partner’s death; Port wrote “I hope he wasn’t murdered or anything like that as that would be awful.” After Amodio assured him this was unlikely Port replied “Thanks god for that I would hate anyone who could hurt him”.

Around the time of Whitworth’s death Port informed Amodio he had discovered Dan and Kovari had attended a party where young men were raped whilst drugged. Posing as Luck he said he had “been expecting [police] to come to my door any second cuss of my DNA and my messages on [Kovari’s] phone.” When Amodio told Port he’d been visited by police probing Whitworth’s death Port replied “OMG your joking[…] please don’t let them arrest me.”

please do not blame the guy I was with last night, we only had sex and then I left, he knows nothing of what I have done

Port would also press Amodio for information on police investigations and suggested Dan had accidentally killed Kovari with an overdose and then “did same to himself” because he “could not live with the guilt”, an apparent reference to Daniel Whitworth’s death. Amodio tried to get “Jon Luck” to contact police but this was never successful. Port told a neighbour Kovari died of infection in Spain after travelling to join somebody Kovari had met online.

Kovari had in fact moved from Spain to London, having been living with his Spanish boyfriend Thierry Amodio. After initially failing to find a place to live Kovari met John Pape. Pape allowed Kovari to stay with him, which he did for several weeks before securing a rented room with Port in the Barking area of London. Turning down an offer to stay longer, Kovari moved in with Port on August 23, 2014.

The same day Kovari sent another friend a map showing Port’s Cooke St home as his new abode. The next day Port invited friend and neighbour Ryan Edwards to meet Kovari. On August 25 Kovari texted Edwards “Stephen is not a nice person”. The same day Kovari messaged the friend he sent the map to, saying “I’m fine.”

Pape texted Kovari on August 26, asking “Hey, hows it going in Barking?” There was no reply. A text from Edwards to Port the same day asked “How is Gabriel?” Port responded Kovari had already moved out to live with “some soldier guy he had been chatting to online” in the area. The body was found two days later. The corpse was clad in sunglasses and Kovari’s possessions were in two bags beside him.

The first alleged victim to give evidence, a nineteen-year-old student when he encountered Port, told jurors he met Port via Grindr and accepted a glass of wine at Port’s flat. After noticing a bitter taste and sludge at the bottom of the glass, the complainant said he felt ill and upon sipping a second drink containing vodka he “felt so dizzy. I was ricocheting off the walls. The room was tilting.”

The man told the court he fell asleep and awoke naked on his front with Port raping him, describing himself as “half asleep, half aware of what was happening” before passing out again. He said he left the flat after coming round in the morning, still feeling the effects. The witness claimed that while he was considering having sex with Port when he arrived he did not at any stage consent.

The next alleged victim to give evidence, also a student, told the court he met Port via Fitlads. The witness said they met at Port’s flat on several occasions. He said he declined alcohol because he was Muslim but on his fourth visit he accepted a glass of coke. He said swallowing it caused an instant burning sensation like acid, but Port pled ignorance and they met a fifth time. On that occasion Port gave the man what he said was ‘poppers’, and a massage, according to the witness.

The witness said he fell asleep and on waking was given a glass of what Port claimed was water, which instantly knocked him out. “The next thing I remember I was on the floor screaming and shouting. It was like I was going mad.” The witness claimed he was naked and confused, not even recalling his own name.

Port drove the man to nearby Barking Rail Station. The victim was “screaming and shouting” and described Port “kind of dragging me along and holding me up.” Police and ambulance attended, with British Transport Police Constable Alesha Owers testifying Port seemed “worried and jittery” and accepted he had taken meth. Port claimed the man had turned up at his door and Port was helping him get home.

The witness did not give a statement to police, telling the trial he did not want his family to discover the encounters and simply wished to be home. He says on arriving he telephoned Port. “I was shouting at him: ‘What did you give me? What the hell did you give me, because it certainly wasn’t poppers?'[…] I got the impression it was a normal thing what happened to me.”

The witness added he had one final meeting with Port at the accused’s flat. Port, he claimed, apologised to him but still did not say what substance was involved.

He said, ‘I’m going to sit down here for a bit, I’m feeling tired.’

A transgender man in his early twenties told the court he met Port via Facebook and they met for sex because the witness was angry his boyfriend had cheated on him. The man said after consensual sex and drinking he passed out and Port filmed himself raping the complainant.

The witness claimed Port showed off the video the following morning: “I just thought he was disgusting and vile. He thought it was fine. He thought it was funny.” The witness told the court he “felt angry because you don’t carry on having sex with someone when they pass out. I said, ‘you’re disgusting.'”

Another man, now 24, told the court he met Port via Gaydar when he was 16 and grew close to Port as the man had few friends. He said Port pressured him into taking mephedrone and he passed out, wakening to find himself on his back with his legs over Port’s shoulders and Port raping him. He said he returned a week later, at which time Port again gave him mephedrone and raped him, as well as non-consensually injecting drugs into him. He told the court Port was “god in his flat”, someone “you did not argue with”. He told the Old Bailey “I didn’t feel like I was being treated like a person.”

The court was played six homemade sex tapes from Port’s phone, with police and prosecutors alleging they showed Port raping an unconscious 24-year-old man. The six were amongst over 80 sex tapes in total Port had made involving himself. The alleged victim testified that while he and Port had consensual sex and sniffed poppers after meeting via Manhunt he did not consent to any activity in the videos.

At least three other men can be seen or heard in the videos. Port sniffs a bottle in one video and tells an unidentified man “you fuck him”. In another an unidentified voice says “I’ll leave you guys to carry on, I have got work in the morning.” Port then says to a second man “Shall we do more stuff?” “Yeah babe” comes the reply.

Two of the rape charges are sample counts relating to the videos. Sample counts are a method by which prosecutors can try multiple similar crimes based on a single count. Port routinely browsed the Internet for rape-themed pornography.

Stephen Port’s own sister, Sharon Port, was a prosecution witness. She spoke of a conversation with her brother — who smiled when she entered court to testify against him — the day before Slovakian national Kovari’s body was found. Speaking quietly, she said she had rung him and found him “very distressed”; he said there was a corpse in his flat.

Sharon Port testified that the conversation left her with the understanding the pair had been doing drugs together and Kovari expired. She said she urged Stephen Port to alert the police; the following day, she drove from her Essex home to visit him after he became unresponsive to messages. She described her brother as quiet, and saying he had been released on police bail to return in a month or two.

You try to manipulate the evidence to fit the facts as you know them to be and you have done this throughout this case

Kovari’s body was found that day. Sharon Port said Stephen didn’t mention the incident again at the time.

After Rees finished, defence lawyer Etherington questioned her further. During this she added that in March 2015, when he was imprisoned for lies to police after the first death, Stephen told her that the conversation had not referred to a body at all. Instead, he was talking about another man altogether.

Two former partners of Port testified early in the trial. Both said the accused wore a wig to help him feel confident about his appearance, and one further said both would watch ‘twink’ porn together. In the gay community, slender young men are sometimes referred to as twinks. The man also testified Port “never tried any sexual acts I wasn’t happy with.” The court also heard Port was a prostitute and sometimes wore the wig to meet men. Port was said to have called Kovari his “new Slovakian twink flatmate” who was “quite cute, tall and skinny” to friends.

Port’s sister, during her evidence, spoke of a bullied, quiet schoolboy who revealed his sexuality at 26. She said their mother did not approve. She also testified she was wholly unaware of Port’s drug use until the August 2014 phone call and even after did not know which substances were involved.

Port gave evidence in his own defence. Starting on October 27 he spoke of his version of the deaths. He started with the death of Walgate, confirming he offered the student £800 to spend the night with him. Port claimed Walgate visited the bathroom during sex, returning “high and very rampant.” Port testified he was unaware what Walgate had taken but spoke of his own experiences with GHB, which he said “could knock you out” before reawakening aroused. Port said he used it to have “hyper high” sex and in one relationship it was normal for him to have sex with his partner while the latter was unconscious through GHB use.

Port claimed Walgate became unwell and slept at the flat; Port went to work that morning and returned to find the deceased still there and woke that night to discover the “very rigid” body. Port said he “just panicked” when he carried Walgate’s corpse outside to call an ambulance, lying about the circumstances because he was “in shock”.

The next day Port confirmed Kovari shared his flat and said the pair went to a party to take drugs and have sex. He said his “friend” Kovari left early with ‘Dan’.

Port testified he realised weeks later Dan was Daniel Whitworth, whom he had met online. He spoke of Kovari and Whitworth having sex at the party with several onlookers but said he would not be able to find where the party was held and did not know who lived there. He said Kovari and Whitworth went to his flat “to get a bit more privacy”.

Rees asserted Port was “caught out” in a lie. The prosecution claimed Whitworth could be placed in a pub elsewhere when the alleged party happened and Rees said Port’s account amounted to the pair getting “coy and bashful” after public sex. Rees asked Port to explain Whitworth’s presence “in two places at once”. “I’ve no idea. I just know it was as I remember it,” said Port.

Port said Whitworth later recounted to him a story in which Whitworth and Kovari had sex at St Margaret’s. After both passed out, Whitworth claimed he was unable to rouse Kovari and could not revive him.

“He said he panicked. He was going to call an ambulance but did not know what to do, so he left him.” Port said he reassured a worried and guilt-ridden Whitworth and urged him to go to police. Port and Whitworth had sex with drugs at Whitworth’s suggestion, Port said, before Whitworth dictated the suicide note.

“I thought it was just the [drugs] talking and he was just getting his emotions out of his system,” Port told jurors. “I didn’t believe he was actually going to do it. I would have stopped him. I would have done anything to prevent him doing it.” Port said he added the line reading “please do not blame the guy I was with last night.”

one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered

Rees accused Port of manipulating evidence, saying he left a hoodie belonging to Kovari on Whitworth’s body alongside a bottle of GHB. Port countered he only agreed to write the suicide note because Whitworth promised sex in exchange for it. Port testified they did not in fact have sex because Whitworth gave him a drink laced with GHB, causing Port to fall unconscious.

“You are not suggesting he may have drugged you Mr Port?” asked Rees. “You are not suggesting he may have taken advantage of you whilst you were drugged?” Port confirmed this was possible, leading to Rees asking “Why did you raise the suggestion this young man may have raped or sexually assaulted you? Against this dead boy?” Port answered “I wouldn’t have minded if he did.”

“Come on, Mr Port!” Rees retaliated. “That’s not true, is it? You ‘top’ other people, they don’t top you. So you would have minded if he raped you whilst you were unconscious.” Port’s response was “It’s just a shame we didn’t get to do more together.” Rees later said “You just cannot bring yourself to accept the truth of what is going here. To the families. Lie after lie, that’s what’s being played out here in this court.”

He also recounted his time with Taylor. The pair met on Grindr and Port testified Taylor accepted a suggestion to get “mega high”, before the two left for “fresh air” and had “rampant” sex at St Margaret’s. Port described this in detail: “I realised our height difference was quite significant[…] It was a bit of a struggle at first, I had to hold him around the chest. Then we just had sex like that for two hours.”

Port testified he suggested going back to the flat; “He said, ‘I’m going to sit down here for a bit, I’m feeling tired.'” Port said he left around 2:30 in the morning and never saw Taylor again but he was “very much alive” at this point. He testified he left as he had a new job to go to the next day and did not expect anything further as Taylor “was not happy being gay.”

Port spoke of his previous accounts to police, especially his denials of knowing Taylor and Kovari while being uncertain if he knew Whitworth. He said “The truth sounded like a lie, so I lied to make it sound like the truth.” Under cross-examination from Rees, he also admitted his version was hard to accept and appeared as if he was a “determined liar to save your own skin”.

“The essence of it is, you like playing God and manipulating and controlling young men”, Rees told him in front of jurors. “The key to this case is you like penetrating young men who are unconscious. That is at the heart of this case, isn’t it? You try to manipulate the evidence to fit the facts as you know them to be and you have done this throughout this case.”

Rees asked “Do you agree it is never too late to tell the truth? Do you agree it would be a good thing for the families of the four dead men to learn the truth about what happened to them?” Port responded “of course.” After agreeing all four deceased met similar deaths shortly after being in his company, Port was asked “I know it’s very late in the day, Mr Port, would you care to change any part of your account you have given to the jury?” “No,” he replied.

The jury began deliberations on Monday last week, deliberating for over 28 hours. They faced a question of intent. The prosecution had to prove intent to cause very serious harm for a murder conviction. The prosecution case was Port administered GHB in a bid to cause comas, and Walgate’s death at least was likely unexpected. The jury had to decide if a coma met the test; if not, they could convict on alternative charges of manslaughter. The jury unanimously convicted Port of three murders, and by an 11–1 majority of Walgate’s murder.

Port was simultaneously convicted of most other charges and on Wednesday Mr Justice Openshaw informed jurors a 10–2 verdict would be acceptable for the remaining counts. Port was ultimately convicted of all charges against six surviving victims. He was also convicted of offences against a seventh but acquitted of raping him. The jury acquitted him of two rapes relating to an eighth man.

During Port’s trial one of his drug dealers, Peter Hirons, 48, separately pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court to supplying ?MDMA, crystal meth, mephedrone, brephedrone, chloromsthcathinone, and GBL, the last being metabolised into GHB when ingested. He also admitted possessing £6,060 of drug-dealing proceeds. He was jailed for two and a half years. Gerald Matovu appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, charged with supplying Port with mephedrone and GHB.

If four young well-off women had been murdered in Mayfair, I believe the police would have made a public appeal much sooner and mounted a far more comprehensive investigation

Lead investigator DCI Tim Duffield called Port “one of the most dangerous individuals I’ve encountered”. Victims’ relatives clapped, cheered, and yelled as Port was sentenced.

Police were criticised early in the case after the LGBT website Pink News revealed a friend of Kovari had contacted them after the death. Pink News in turn contacted the Metropolitan Police but received assurances police did not view the death as suspicious. The revelations coincided with the police appeal following Port’s initial charges. “This appeal should have been made in June and August last year after the first two killings”, said human rights activist Peter Tatchell at the time. “If the police had done that, the killer may have been caught and some of these men might still be alive.”

Following murder convictions it was revealed Taylor’s family triggered the homicide investigation themselves after pressuring police. Taylor’s relatives have indicated they intend to sue the police. The IPCC probe is examining possible failings by seventeen officers. In July the IPCC appealed for anybody who raised concerns with police prior to the launch of the murder investigation to contact them, and revealed they had met with London’s LGBT community.

On Wednesday the IPCC reiterated its call for witnesses, revealing seven Metropolitan Police officers had been informed they faced gross misconduct probes and ten more faced less-serious misconduct probes. Officers under investigation rank from constable to inspector. British Transport Police are not under investigation.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said “It is important we establish whether the police response to the deaths of all four men was thorough and appropriate in the circumstances, including whether discrimination played any part in actions and decisions[…] our investigators are continuing to work hard to scrutinise the police response to the tragic deaths of these four young men.”

Tatchell accused police of “class, gender and sexuality bias” and called the verdict “no compensation for the loss of four young gay men who had their lives, hopes and dreams cut short.” “If four young well-off women had been murdered in Mayfair, I believe the police would have made a public appeal much sooner and mounted a far more comprehensive investigation”, he said on Wednesday. Tatchell said police could have prevented some murders; Taylor’s family agreed. “We do believe Jack would still be here if they had done their job” they said. “The police should be held accountable for Jack’s death. We do understand it’s not them who took Jack’s life, but Stephen Port would have been stopped.”

“This has been an incredibly detailed and wide-ranging inquiry with detectives not only investigating these crimes but providing full support to all the families and victims” said Stuart Cundy, a Metropolitan Police Commander. “Throughout this case we have worked very closely with the LGBT community” he added. Cundy claimed none of the surviving victims had been in touch with police prior to Port facing murder charges.

A Metropolitan Police statement said the force takes “Offences against members of the LGBT community[…] extremely seriously.” The force said it had 900 hate crimes investigators in addition to 150 specialist LGBT officers.

Cundy however acknowledged “potential missed opportunities” to catch Port. He said he has written to the deceaseds’ families, apologising. “I have offered to meet them if they would like to do so, both now and at the conclusion of the IPCC investigation.” He said police were co-operating with the IPCC probe.

When Port was arrested for perverting the course of justice police seized his laptop, but did not examine it. Detectives took advice from homicide specialists but a murder investigation was not launched and Port was released on bail while the Crown Prosecution Service considered charging him. Port murdered Kovari and Whitworth while on bail.

Port’s laptop, when eventually examined, showed Port first looked at Walgate’s escorting ad on June 13, 2014. On the same day he also sought out gay rape pornography. Searches included “sleeping boy”, “unconscious boys”, “drugged and raped”, “taking date rape drug”, “gay teen knocked out raped” and “guy raped and tortured young nude boy”. Friends of Walgate pressed police to examine the laptop, with one alleging police told her it was too expensive.

We can’t rule out the fact there may be other victims out there who suffered at Port’s hands and have yet to come forward

Amodio emailed a detective about the Jon Luck communications. Over several exchanges the detective asked Amodio to get Luck to contact him, but police did not take it upon themselves to trace Luck. Had they done so they would have found Port. Amodio also linked the deaths of Kovari and Whitworth to the earlier death of Walgate, but the detective told him the first death was “nothing about Gabriel or Daniel.”

Whitworth’s death also caused his friends to press police for further action, but police again did not treat the death as suspicious despite seeking advice from homicide specialists. Port’s DNA was on the blanket with Whitworth’s body; police already had his DNA from arresting Port during the Walgate investigation. Police did not trace his movements or investigate the man referred to in the apparent suicide note.

DCI Tony Kirk said to press the two deaths were “unusual and slightly confusing” but not murders. A pathologist found Whitworth had “bruising below both arms in the armpit regions which is unlikely to have been caused accidentally and may have resulted from manual handling of the deceased, most likely prior to death.” At inquest coroner Nadia Persaud recorded open verdicts and advised police to perform additional forensic tests, but this was not done.

Port was finally caught after Taylor’s murder when the victim’s older sisters linked his death to the other three. While pressing police to take action, they learned of CCTV showing Taylor and an unidentified person. Taylor’s sisters convinced police to release the footage in a bid to trace the man; when this was done, another officer recognised Port from the footage. He was arrested and the case became a murder probe.

Police are re-examining a further 58 fatal GHB overdoses from June 2011 to October 2015. “We can’t rule out the fact there may be other victims out there who suffered at Port’s hands and have yet to come forward,” Cundy said. “We would appeal for them to contact us as soon as possible.”

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Mass panic as Zimbabwean officials fake air crash

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Today, Zimbabwean officials informed the media that an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 aircraft carrying 250 people had crashed at Harare International Airport, before they announced the reports were false and the incident had in fact been a drill to simulate the occurrence of such an event. Initial reports suggested that a flight from London had crashed upon landing at the airport. However, Medical Rescue International later stated in a post on Facebook that no airplane had crashed and it had “joined up with other services to attend to a mock accident at Harare International Airport … Good to keep the practising up.”

Those behind the staged accident had reportedly not told any other governmental departments, resulting in relatives inquiring with Air Zimbabwe as to what had happened. A senior figure for Air Zimbabwe stated that he was “concerned that this incident led to many, many calls to us. People were frightened. No actual plane was involved, but there was a scenario involving a Boeing 767 plane that had been hijacked and forced down at Harare airport.”

It was reported that Peter Chikumba, chief of Air Zimbabwe, had also not been informed that the exercise was to take place, and that the airline had set up an emergency helpdesk to liaise with the families of victims. Alan McGuinness, a correspondent for Sky News, stated, “journalists who arrived at the airport saw smoke rising from a runway and were then taken to a room where they were told to wait. David Chawota, the head of the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority, said the media was duped to make the drill more realistic.” Chawota stated, “telling the media was part of the exercise. We wanted to see how the media would react,” he said.

Chawota himself told BNO News that an airliner had crashed. Michael van Poppel, head of BNO News said that “while I first thought Chawota was just misinformed by others, although that would be odd since he is the CEO of the aviation authority, I was stunned to hear that he actually knew it was a drill and wanted to see the media’s response … This basically means he was lying to me when I spoke to him, but also to other reporters he spoke to … I think it was absolutely irresponsible of this CEO and I can’t imagine what the families of passengers travelling to Harare around that time must have gone through when they heard news reports that there had been an ‘accident’ at the airport.”

McGuinness reported, “Stuart Sprake, general manager of FX Logistics, works at Harare airport and believed the secrecy surrounding the drill will help emergency crews learn valuable lessons.” Sprake told reporters “they (the crews) had to find their way through crowds and traffic … training exercises should be ad hoc — the less people know about it the better.”



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