Prosecutors say a serial thief who targeted men on the dating app Grindr killed a UK man with a drug overdose.
Police found Eric Michels, 54, dead at his Chessington home on 18 August. Michels was a businessman who also appeared as an extra in the James Bond movie Skyfall.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC claims Gerald Matovu, 25, worked with another defendant, Brandon Dunbar, 23, targeting men on dating apps. All-in-all, there are 26 charges against the defendants in the case relating to 12 male victims.
According to the BBC’s report, Matovu denies all the charges and allegations, including murdering Michels.
Fraud was the end goal
During the ongoing trial, Rees told the jurors that Matovu and Dunbar targeted men for the purpose of stealing property, money, and identities to commit fraud.
Lawyers detailed the timeline of events, saying Michels connected with Matovu on Grindr and then they met in London before going back to Michels’ Chessington home.
Rees told the jury there was evidence of the drug GHB, often present in chemsex scenarios. A large dose of it can lead to comas or even death.
In the prosecution’s case, they allege Matovu took photos of Michels’ personal information, including credit cards and passwords, the following morning after drugging him.
They also revealed eight other men were drugged.
Found by his daughter
Michels’ 14-year-old daughter was the first to find her dead motionless in his home.
She had previously sent him a text asking to meet. Soon after, she received the following response: ‘Hello hun im a little busy talk soon.’
She described the text as ‘totally uncharacteristic of her father’.
After that, she reportedly called him and an unknown voice answered before hanging up.
Michels has three children with his ex-wife, whom he divorced in 2010 after he came out as gay.
His daughter and ex-wife went to his home following the odd text and phone call, and that’s when they found him.
Matovu denies the murder charge, as well as six counts of administering a noxious substance to endanger life, one count of assault by penetration and one count of causing actual bodily harm.
The other defendant, Dunbar, also denies all charges.