Grindr killer Stephen Port launches an appeal against his murder convictions

Stephen Port was sentenced to a whole life term for killing four gay men that he met on Grindr.

The chef and former escort was found guilty of the murders of Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate. Port was also found guilty of four rapes, ten offences of administering a substance with intent and four sexual assaults.

“The defendant will die in prison,” said Mr Justice Openshaw in the Old Bailey when sentencing Port in 2016. BBC News reported at the time that when the judge announced that Port would never be released, cheers, clapping and shouting erupted from the public gallery, where many of the victims families had been for the duration of the trial.

It was confirmed earlier this week that Port had lodged an appeal against his murder convictions, but not those of his sexual offences. The Court of Appeal said that his appeal was in the early stages.

The appeals process means that an applicant needs to submit papers to a judge to review before an applicant can be given permission to continue. It is understood by the BBC that Port’s application has not yet been approved by a judge.

The families of the victims, who are currently crowdfunding for legal representation ahead of an upcoming inquest into the deaths, said that his appeal application “changes nothing.”

Following Port’s conviction, the Independent Police Complaints Commission began an investigation into the Metropolitan Police for failing to link the deaths sooner.

Seven of the 17 police officers who were interviewed have been served with gross misconduct notices, while the other ten  have been served with misconduct notices.

However, back in July the BBC reported that all but one of the officers who were being questioned refused to answer questions surrounding the case, instead giving “no comment” interviews. The officers did, however, provide written statements.

Related: BBC announce new drama based on the victims of Grindr killer Stephen Port

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Stranger Things actress Shannon Purser hopes her coming out will help other young people

Shannon Purser, who plays Barb in Stranger Things came out as bisexual last year.

Writing on Twitter after Riverdale, another show that she stars in, was accused of “queerbaiting”, Purser wrote: “I don’t normally do this, but I figure now is just as good a time as any to get personal.

“I’ve only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends. It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much.”

And recently Purser spoke more candidly about her coming out and how it has helped others to People. “I would love for us to get to a point in society where it doesn’t really matter what your sexuality is, but right now there is a lot of turmoil around that issue, a lot of controversy where there shouldn’t be,” she said.

She then added that although she doesn’t consider herself to be a “perfect role model” she wants to “encourage  young people and be somebody that they can look up to.”

Purser then added: “I just always think about what would I have needed as a kid, what would have meant a lot to me?

“If somebody can see me and feel less alone and more understood, than that’s it.”

Purser also spoke about fans messaging her about coming out, and she said: “That’s what matters most to me. That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.”

Purser was speaking at the premiere of her new film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Last week, the tracklist for the film was released and it looks like it’ll consist of banger after banger.

American singer-songwriter Leland, who curated the soundtrack, appears on three tracks: Lights, Latitude and Middle of Love, with the latter featuring pop newcomer Vincint.

Allie X also has three tracks: Paper Love, Sunflower – Synth Reprise and Kid Wonder.

Only One songstress Carlie Hanson performs on Goodbye and MNEK – who was recently unveiled as our September cover star – appears on Half Of You.

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser will be available to stream on Netflix on 7 September.

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Man who flipped off families of gay couple he killed says it was his “duty” to kill them

In 2010, Peter Avsenew shot Steven Adams and Kevin Powell at their Wilton Manors home, before proceeding to steal their money, belongings and car.

Back in January, there was a court hearing over whether Peter Avsenew should be sentenced to death for the crime, the jury unanimously decided that he should be. After the hearing,  footage from ABC 10 showed him flipping off his victims’ families.

Speaking at the time, Marci Craig, a sister of one of the victims, said: “In my heart of hearts, I knew that he was making that gesture to us, and then he admitted that he made the gesture to our family.”

Speaking at the hearing, Avsenew said: “I have no regrets in my life and I am proud of the decisions I’ve made. No one really knows what happened that day. You would need a Ouija board for that.

“Everyone can speculate what ifs and maybes until they’re blue in the face, which they’ll never really know.”

Earlier this week, Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes had the option to overturn the jury’s decision, however she agreed to carry it.

And now, a hand-written letter that was sent to the judge has emerged showing Avsenew’s lack of remorse over the killings. In it, he wrote: “It is my duty as a white man to cull the weak and timid from existence.

“I will always stand up for what I believe in and eradicate anything in my way. Homosexuals are a disgrace to mankind and must be put down. These weren’t the first and won’t be the last.”

NBC News reports that a further line of his letter said: “If you only knew how many there really are you would faint.”

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