Drug dealer who murdered man he met on gay dating app Grindr is to seek gender reassignment in prison

Martin Evans
Gerlad Matovu was jailed for life after being found guilty of murder - PA

A drug dealer, jailed for a minimum of 31-years for murdering a businessmen with a fatal dose of GHB, could apply to be transferred to a women's prison after his lawyer revealed that he was seeking gender reassignment.

Gerald Matovu, 26, met Eric Michels, 54, via the gay dating app Grindr in August last year.

After plying him with a fatal dose of the party drug, GHB, he made off with his bank card details and other belongings.

Mr Michels, who had appeared in the Bond film Skyfall, was found dead in bed by his 14-year-old daughter.

Matovu, who the court heard had previously supplied the gay serial killer, Stephen Port, with drugs, was jailed for life with a minimum of 31-years for the "wicked and callous" murder.

But during mitigation at the Old Bailey, his lawyer, Louise Sweet QC, said Matovu had identified as female from the age of eight and now intended to seek gender reassignment while in prison.

Ms Sweet said Matovu hoped to have gender reassignment while in prison.

Gerald Matovu intends to seek gender reassignment in prison 

By self identifying as female, Matovu could be entitled to a separate cell, be permitted to shower alone and even apply to serve his sentence in a female prison.

The court heard how Mr Michels was one of 12 men targeted by Matovu and his lover and accomplice, Brandon Dunbar, 24, over a 19-month period, 

Jurors were not told about Matovu's past connection with former chef Port, 44, from Barking, east London, who had also targeted victims through Grindr and killed four of them with GHB overdoses.

Judge Anne Molyneux QC and Matovu and Dunbar: "All were victims of your total lack of respect and callous behaviour. You calculated they would be too embarrassed to report the full extent of what happened to them.

"They showed dignity and courage in giving evidence in the trial."

Eric Michels was killed with the drug GHB

She told Matovu: "You had already rendered five men unconscious using G(HB). You were an experienced poisoner and were aware of the dangers of the drug.

"You knew as far back as 2015 that it could be used to take advantage of others. You knew it could be life-threatening.

"You are a highly dangerous predator."

Earlier, Mr Michel's ex-wife, Diane Michels, said losing him was "the worst kind of nightmare", leaving her to bring up their three children.

Reading a statement in court, she said: "My view of the world has changed. I was always a glass half-full type of person. Now I view people with distrust and am wary of my ability to judge others accurately.

"This has been exacerbated by the callous disregard for Eric's life that has been displayed in court by the defendants. I never imagined people could be so wicked and my fear and anxiety for the safety of those I care for is now unimaginable."

"We have to live with the knowledge the last person Eric saw was the person who took his life."

Gerald Matovu had supplied gay serial killer Stephen Port with drugs

Matovu, of Southwark, south London, was convicted of six counts of administering a noxious substance, seven thefts, six counts of having articles for fraud, murder, assault by penetration, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing GBL drugs.

Dunbar, of Forest Gate, east London, was found guilty of three counts of administering a noxious substance, five thefts, six counts of having articles for fraud, two frauds, assault by penetration, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and dishonestly retaining wrongful credit.

Detective Inspector Mark Richards, of Scotland Yard, said: "Today's sentencing marks the end of a long and complex police investigation and the nature of Matovu and Dunbar's crimes mean their lengthy jail terms are more than justified.

"The pair 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. This was their overwhelming motive, rather than sexual assault. Matovu was described in evidence as a hustler, a liar and a thief - apt words."