Gerald Matovu has been found guilty of murdering Eric Michels, a 52-year-old HR executive who had a small part in the James Bond movie Skyfall.
On Monday, 15 July, a jury at the Old Bailey in London convicted Matovu of murdering Michels - who he had met on the gay dating app Grindr - with another chemsex drug, gamma butyrolactone (GBL).
Eric Michels (pictured) was an American HR executive who worked for the energy company SSE. After his divorce he came out as gay and frequently met up young men for sex on Grindr. One of them was Gerald Matovu, who killed him pic.twitter.com/x7GgpisiRZ— Total Crime (@totalcrime) 15 July 2019
Matovu, 26, was a prolific thief who preyed on gay men - many of whom, like Mr Michels were “in the closet” - and stole from them after drugging them.
He was also found guilty of multiple counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life, fraud and theft, along with his partner Brandon Dunbar, 24.
The court heard Matovu and Dunbar targeted 12 gay men over 19 months by arranging to meet them through apps such as Grindr.
#BREAKING two men have found guilty on 29 counts after targeting men using Grindr, drugging them with GHB and stealing their property.— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) 15 July 2019
Tragically, one of their victims, Eric Michels, died after Matovu plied him with an overdose of the drug.#WATCH to hear more about the case👇 pic.twitter.com/7xxCM8g4aH
Ten of those men then had property stolen from them and 11 had photos taken of their bank cards and other personal items and stored on a laptop for later use in frauds.
Eight of the men were drugged with GBL - which converts to GHB when it is in the body - to the point of unconsciousness but Mr Michels, the father of two sons, died of an overdose.
Detective Inspector Mark Richards said: “Matovu and Dunbar had a well-rehearsed plan to take advantage of men they met through social networking sites and apps such as Grindr to steal their property. Matovu described himself in evidence as a hustler, a liar and a thief.
“But Mr Michels was different - Matovu gave him a fatal dose of GBL. Despicably, while Mr Michels lay dead or dying, Matovu raided his address of many of his belongings, leaving his devastated family to find his body the following day.”
Gerald Matovu has become the first person since the serial killer Stephen Port to be convicted of murder with a fatal overdose of the drug GHB. pic.twitter.com/0HQ0Nm855l— Leigh Milner (@EyupLeigh) 15 July 2019
On 16 August 2018 Mr Michels told his son he was going for a night out in central London. But after visiting several bars he contacted Matovu on Grindr around midnight.
They then took a taxi back to Mr Michels’ home in Chessington, south west of London.
After killing Mr Michels Matovu fled the house and used Mr Michels’ bank cards, including transferring £300 into Dunbar’s bank account which he then spent on two litres of GBL.
Mr Michels’ son, Sam, said: “Sitting in court and listening to lies about my father has made me feel physically sick at times. We knew him better than anyone, and hearing the defendant accuse my father of rape was soul destroying. He was gentle and caring and would never do such a thing.”
He added: “I am so proud of my father and I will continue to be until I die. He made such an impact on my life that can never be forgotten. He deserves nothing but justice for what happened to him last year.”
Matovu will be sentenced in September but faces a mandatory life sentence.