Police warned London's gay community Wednesday to be vigilant because a possible serial killer may be singling them out.
Police say they think the killer, who has taunted them with phone calls, may be seeking revenge at random after contracting the HIV virus that causes AIDS from a homosexual encounter in central London.
Five men have been killed in the past few days, including a leading West End theater director, an American official of a multinational company and a librarian. Police were seeking the identity of the latest victim, whom they described as gay. His body was discovered in his apartment late Tuesday.
According to some reports, the killer has called West London police stations and told detectives he plans to commit a murder a week.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ken John, coordinating the five homicide inquiries, took the unusual step at a hastily called midnight news conference of appealing to the killer to contact them again.
"We have had a number of calls from one man which give us considerable cause for concern. We would ask the man to contact us again as a matter of urgency," he said.
Police warned gays of the dangers they face if they pick up strangers for casual sexual relationship.
"We feel we owe this to the gay community," said John. "We have to warn individual practicing homosexuals who are frequenting various pubs, restaurants and bars in London to be aware that somebody who is prepared to attack their community is about in the city."