A Londoner, Gerald Matovu, 26, has been sentenced to 31 years in prison for poisoning and killing an American businessman and part-time actor, Eric Michels.
Eric Michels had an uncredited part in the movie Skyfall and also appeared in a small role in World War Z. He was one of 12 men to fall victim to Matovu. However, it was his death which led to police tracking down Matovu.
Besides their own crime spree, Matovu admitted dealing drugs to London serial killer Stephen Port, who was found guilty in 2016 of drugging, raping and killing four young men.
Matovu also involved their then-boyfriend, Brandon Dunbar, in their 19-month crime spree. Dunbar, 24, of Forest Gate, was today sentenced to 18 years for his role in drugging and thieving men.
Matovu met 54-year-old Michels, an executive with energy company SSE, via Grindr in August 2018. CCTV footage captured them in a convenience store before they went to Michels’ home.
Matovu was found guilty 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.
Judge Anne Molyneux QC told Matovu that by the time of Michel’s death, “You had already rendered five men unconscious using [GHB]. 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.”
Detective Inspector Mark Richards, of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime unit, said in a statement: “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.
“Their method in the majority of cases was to drug their victim with enough GBL to render them unconscious so they could then search their homes, selecting items of interest and photographing bank cards and personal documents for subsequent fraudulent use. They did this at their leisure, sometimes spending hours at an address.”
GHB is commonly known simply as G. A precursor form of the drug, GBL is converted to GHB in the body. It’s popular among some gay men on the party’n’play or chemsex scenes.
Last week, a survey revealed by Buzzfeed revealed insights from around 5,000 GHB users, including 2,700 gay and bisexual men. Almost one in three reported being sexually assaulted while on the drug.
Almost half the respondents knew or suspected they had been given GHB without their knowledge, while 18 percent reported being given a deliberate overdose.
It reported that not only could overdoses be administered orally, but some assailants were overdosing potential victims by mixing G with sexual lubricant.