Gerald Matovu is charged with murder after he and his lover allegedly drugged victims before stealing from them
The daughter of a James Bond actor poisoned with a chemsex drug discovered his lifeless body after she unwittingly spoke to his killer on the phone, a court heard.
Eric Michels, 54, was found dead at his home in Chessington, Surrey, after being given the drug by Gerald Matovu, 25, the day before, it is claimed.
Matovu and his lover, Brandon Dunbar, 23, are on trial accused of drugging or spiking the drinks of Mr Michels and 11 other men to steal their valuables and use their bank cards.
Matovu used a syringe to administer a fatal dose of GHB to Mr Michels before making off with his bank card and other belongings in August last year, the Old Bailey heard today.
Mr Michels’ 14-year-old daughter texted her father shortly after his death, asking if he would like to go for a meal before she went away on holiday.
When he did not reply, she tried again and Matovu, allegedly impersonating Mr Michels, replied: ‘Hello hun im a little busy talk soon’, the court heard.
The unfamiliar tone of the message alerted the teenager who rang up to find out what was happening. Matovu hung up after she told him who she was, the court heard.
Actor Eric Michels, who had appeared in the Bond film Skyfall, died at his home in Surrey
Concerned for her father’s safety, she asked her mother to drive her to his house and found him ‘lying motionless in bed with the duvet pulled up’, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said.
He added: ‘She attempted to rouse him by shouting his name but to no avail. Her mother then entered the property and pulled the duvet off his face to reveal that Mr Michels had dried blood and green bile near his lips. He was not breathing.’
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.
The Old Bailey has heard Mr Michels and his wife of 23 years divorced after he realised he preferred young males to women.
Since coming out as gay, the victim, who worked on the leadership team of a large energy company, had a number of long-term relationships, the court was told.
But more recently, he had become lonely and began going to Soho and using Grindr to find younger men, jurors were told.
Mr Michels’ body was discovered by his young daughter, the Old Bailey was told this afternoon
On the evening of 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 place in south-west London for sex, the court heard.
While there, it is claimed the defendant drugged Mr Michels and took photographs of his bank cards, driver’s licence and other personal information while he was dead or unconscious.
In the morning, Matovu set off in a taxi to Dunbar’s address with a suitcase and bottles of alcohol, jurors were told.
Mr Rees said Matovu took Mr Michels’ MacBook, mobile phone, an initialled black case, American driving licence and various cards.
Mr Michels was one of 12 men targeted by Matovu and his lover Brandon Dunbar, 23, over a 19-month period, it was claimed.
Mr Michels was found at his home in Chessington, Surrey (pictured) in August last year
Victim of drugging pair was found passed out in the street, court told
One of the victims was found naked and snoring in the street after having a party drug injected directly into his bottom.
The 28-year-old man, who had spent the evening scrolling through Grindr looking for dates, was bleeding from his nose when a woman found him collapsed on rubbish bags with a broken nose.
The man was found in the Romford Road
After finding a match he travelled to Dunbar’s flat in east London, where he met Matovu and the nude tenant Dunbar lying on a bed.
He was later found snoring and bleeding from his nose outside the flat, the court heard.
A technique which usually rouses even the ‘most intoxicated’ patients failed to have any impact on the victim, the court heard.
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.
‘In the course of their activities, a number of their targets were drugged to facilitate these dishonest activities and one of those, a 54-year-old male, was killed by an overdose of a substance called gamma hydroxybutyrate – GHB.’
Nine of the twelve men met both Matovu and Dunbar and three only met Matovu alone but all twelve were the victims of dishonesty, Mr Rees said.
‘Two of them had items stolen and photographs taken when they were in the shower with Dunbar while they were being distracted,’ he continued.
‘One of them took his trousers off to have sex, and while his trousers were off, photographs of documents were taken from inside the trousers.’
One of the alleged victims, a 53-year-old man, whose full identity cannot be reported for legal reasons, asked both Matovu and Dunbar to visit his home in east London.
‘He used a gay pick up site called Adam for Adam to invite two people to his house, which he was renting with his partner who was working that evening and wasn’t himself at home,’ Mr Rees said.
‘Shortly after their arrival all three went upstairs to the bedroom. The complainant accessed some pornography on his laptop, and he was handed a drink by Gerry.
‘He thinks it was either a Fanta or Coke. He then fell unconscious after taking the drink.’
Matovu and Dunbar, both from London, now face a string of charges at London’s Old Bailey
Victim ‘was drugged before pair stole from his parents’ home’
A 43-year-old man invited Dunbar and Matuvo over for sex when his parents were away and awoke the next morning to find they had vanished with three lap tops.
Mr Rees told the court the alleged victim had only a single gin and tonic, before going upstairs to have sex.
He passed out and woke up the next morning to find the computers had gone.
The prosecutor said: ‘He picked the men up from the railway station around 11pm and drove them to his home.
‘They all went into his living room having alcohol drinks before going into the bedroom and despite having only one gin and tonic he began feeling intolerably hot.
‘He had a carpet burn on his knee and it was plain to him that his drink had been spiked by the men.
‘When he regained consciousness, the defendants had gone. He discovered every room had been entered and on the face of it had taken various items of property.’
Mr Michels, who was born in the USA before moving to Britain in the 1980s, worked in human resources as a company executive for the energy firm SEE.
He was also a part-time actor who made brief appearances in the Bond film Skyfall and the Tom Cruise movie Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Both Matovu and Dunbar are charged with assaulting, poisoning, and using a syringe to sexually penetrate another man on 19 August 2018.
Matovu, of Southwark, and Dunbar, of Ilford, each deny five counts of administering poison, one count of assault by penetration, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a single count of theft.
Motovu alone denies the murder of Mr Michels and a further count of administering poison and a count of possession with intent to supply 500ml of GBL.
Dunbar denies six allegations of possession of articles for use in frauds, two counts of fraud by false representation, one of wrongfully retaining £300 in credit belonging to Mr Michels, and six counts of theft.
The trial continues.
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