Bond actor killed by chemsex drug in Grindr fraud scam, court told

Will Metcalfe
Contributor
Eric Michels who was found dead at his home in south West London after meeting Gerard Matovu for sex vid the Grindr app.

A Bond actor was killed by an overdose of the chemsex drug GHB after hooking up with a fraudster on Grindr, a court heard.

Eric Michels, 54, who had an uncredited role in Skyfall, was allegedly murdered by Gerald Matovu, 25 at his home in Bolton Road, Chessington, in August last year.

Matovu used a syringe to administer a fatal dose of GHB then made off with Mr Michels' bank card and other belongings, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Michels was one of 12 men targeted by Matovu and his lover Brandon Dunbar, 23, over a 19-month period, it was claimed.

Opening their trial, Jonathan Rees QC said: "The prosecution say that the defendants, often working together, took advantage of hook-ups, dates, arranged with other gay men through apps, such as Grindr, to steal their property and take photographs of their bank cards and other identification documents for the purposes of fraud.”

A general view of the Central Criminal Court in the Old Bailey, London.

The court heard how father-of-three Mr Michels was amicably divorced in 2010 after his wife Diane found out he had been involved with another man.

Since coming out as gay, the victim, who worked on the leadership team of a large energy company, had a number of relationships but jurors heard recently he began to use Grindr.

On August 16, he visited Ku Bar and G-A-Y Bar in Soho before making contact with Matovu via Grindr, jurors were told.

Mr Michels invited him to his home for sex, the court heard.

It is claimed the defendant drugged Mr Michels and photographed his bank cards, driver's licence and other personal information while he was dead or unconscious.

Mr Michels' body was discovered by his concerned family the following day in bed under a duvet.

Mr Michels had an uncredited role in Skyfall.

An empty 3ml syringe without a needle attached was found on the floor beside the bed.

DNA from the victim and defendant was identified on it as well as traces of GHB, the court heard.

Mr Rees said: "It is the prosecution case that Mr Matovu killed Mr Michels by administering GHB to him.

"We do not say that he intended to kill him, rather he intended to cause him really serious bodily harm by rendering him deeply, and dangerously, unconscious so he could steal property from him."

Mr Rees said Matovu denied murder but accepted going home with him to have consensual sex.

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He denied administering GHB to Mr Michels, claiming he took it of his own free will.

Of the 12 alleged victims, nine met both defendants while three only had contact with Matovu, the court was told.

Matovu, from Southwark, and Dunbar, of Forest Gate, deny a string of charges.

Matovu denies murder, six counts of administering a poison or noxious substance to endanger life, one count of assault by penetration and one count of causing actual bodily harm.

He is further charged with five counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, seven counts of theft and possession of a controlled drug of class C.

Dunbar has pleaded not guilty to five counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life, one count of assault by penetration and one count of ABH.

He is further charged with seven counts of theft, five counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, two counts of fraud and one count of unlawfully retaining a wrongful credit.

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