Grindr serial killer Stephen Ports drug dealer is jailed for life
Matovu (pictured) murdered Mr Michels at home in Chessington, south-west London
Grindr serial killer Stephen Port’s drug dealer has been jailed for life after murdering a James Bond extra by plying him with GHB.
Gerald Matovu, 26, hooked up with Eric Michels, 54, through the gay dating website Grindr in August last year.
He killed Mr Michels at his home in Chessington, south-west London, then made off with his bank card details and other belongings.
Mr Michels, who had an uncredited role in Skyfall, was one of 12 men targeted by Matovu and his lover, Brandon Dunbar, over a 19-month period, jurors heard.
Matovu was found guilty of businessman Mr Michels’ murder at the Old Bailey and was today jailed for a minimum of 31 years. Dunbar, from Ilford, east London, was jailed for 18 years.
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 murdered them with GHB overdoses.
Matovu and 24-year-old Dunbar took advantage of Grindr hook-ups to steal property and bank details, prosecutor Jonathon Rees QC told jurors.
Divorced father-of-three Mr Michels made contact with Matovu on Grindr after a night out in Soho gay bars on August 16 last year.
Matovu drugged Bond actor Mr Michels (left) after going home with him and also sold drugs to serial killer Stephen Port (right), who murdered four young men in Barking, east London, by giving them overdoses
The grey car in the road contains Matovu leaving Mr Michels’ home after murdering and robbing him
Mr Michels invited him to his place in south-west London for sex, the court heard. While there, the defendant drugged Mr Michels and took photographs of his bank cards and driver’s licence.
Matovu made off with a MacBook, mobile phone, an initialled black case, US driving licence and various cards as well as a suitcase full of bottles of alcohol.
Mr Michels’ body was discovered in bed under a duvet the next day by his concerned family.
The couple were filmed using Mr Michels’ card to by luxuries from a local shop after they murdered him in Chessington
This 3ml syringe without a needle attached was found on the floor beside the bed and was used to kill Mr Michels with a fatal dose of GHB
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. Matovu denied murder but accepted going home with him to have consensual sex.
Matovu and Dunbar were photographed by one victim’s flatmate
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.
At today’s sentencing, Matovu drummed acrylic nails on the table as Mr Michel’s ex-wife Diane said in a statement to the court: ‘On a beautiful sunny day in August 2018 our family world changed forever. Within the space of a few hours we went from preparing a family holiday to the worst nightmare imaginable.
Judge Anne Molyneux’s full statement:
Today, Judge Molyneux told Matovu and Dunbar: ‘You met five or six years ago and began intimate relationship and ended in 2016. Ms Matovu now identifies as female.
‘Between December 2016 and August 2018 you lived entirely for your own gratification with no disregard for the well being of others.
‘You did not care about the consequences of your actions you use prohibited drugs on a daily basis in particular GHB. You were both well aware of dangerous aspects of that drug.
‘You had no legitimate employment, your lifestyle was funded by fraud and when police searched your property bank cards from your victims were found.
‘Your method was simple and calculated. You were predators you worked as a team and you met people for sex, usually using Grindr.
‘You would meet men together or separately. G was often a feature of the sex which followed.
‘As every opportunity either created by you. You stole from men so you could carry out fraud.
‘When a man came to your home he would be distracted, while having sex with one of you usually Mr Dunbar the other would help himself to his property.
‘For example on one occasion Mr Dunbar was having sex with a man this man was in an upstairs room while Mr Matovu a message which read “taking him to the shower”.
‘This was Matovu’s signal to come up and steal the man’s phone. The men you met were at different stages in their life, some were comfortable with themselves and their sexuality, others not, some able to express their choices, others not.
‘All the men placed their trust in you all were vulnerable when they were with you, all were victims of your callous behaviour.
‘You calculated they would be too embarrassed to report what had happened to them. All showed dignity and courage when giving evidence at trial.
‘On two occasions before August 2018 you administered GHB to render them unconscious. Mr Matovu administered the G assisted by Mr Dunbar.
‘[One victim] invited you into his home within minutes you had rendered him unconscious by giving him a drink with GHB you made a thorough search of his house you were caught red-handed by his ex-partner but still succeeded in taking some of his property with you.
‘When he awoke in the bathroom the next day naked and unwell he discovered all the curtains were drawn. You had filled a suitcase and taken his phone and cards.
‘Another victim was very vulnerable. His health was fragile. With the help from his friends he was beginning to recover. Within a very short time of arriving at his home you rendered him unconscious.
‘Mr Matovu then made himself at home. He turned on the TV and made himself some food. Mr Matovu described himself as sneaky.
‘Items which were important to this victim were stolen. He was unwell for several days after the incident. When he went to the next victim’s home he followed a similar pattern.
‘Mr Matovu helped himself to whatever he felt like take him. A watch which was sentimentally important to the victim as well as items of monetary value. He left the victim on the floor where he awoke hours later naked and unwell.
‘The next victim was met in his hotel room. The hotel room was ransacked. The victim went to the police station where police were so concerned about his well being that they directed him to hospital.
‘On 17 August 2018 Mr Michels went out to central bars in Soho. After an exchange of messages it was agreed Mr Michel’s would collect Matovu and they would go to Mr Michel’s house together.
‘After a short stop to buy some fizzy drinks and pastries they arrived at Mr Michel’s home at 22.20pm.
‘At some point Mr Matovu administered a lethal dose of g either by adding to drink or more likely by anal injection. A syringe was found on the floor. Mr Matovu was well aware of the effects of G.
‘Mr Matovu intended to cause really serious harm by rendering him unconscious. Mr Matovu had spent time in Mr Michel’s house packing the suitcase with items he had stolen. He had taken wine from the fridge. He listened to the radio as he did so.
‘Over the next couple of days he used Mr Michel’s card to buy groceries and food and transferred money to other accounts owned by him so he could withdraw cash.
‘By Saturday 18th she and her daughter were anxious about him. He had not replied to messages. With characteristic cruelty he answered the phone saying ‘who is this’ then sent a text message which Diane immediately knew was not sent by Mr Michels.
‘He was lying on his back only his eyes were visible she saw when she pulled the duvet back there was a small grubby hand towel had been positioned like a bib over his chest. There was dried blood and bile on it.
‘While he was looting the house and listening to the radio he knew Mr Michel’s was unconscious. Mr Michels was a much-loved son.
‘He was respected and much liked by colleagues. He was an accomplished actor and magician. The ripples of his loss extend far and wide.
‘He has been described by those who love him as decent, hard-working, caring and genuine. Diane Michel’s world has been changed forever.
‘Josh misses his father every single minute of every single day. Sam has lost the first person he called for advice and shared good news.
‘His daughter has lost her best friend. Their loss is immeasurable.’
Of the final victim the judge said: ‘Matters went beyond those to which he was willing to consent.
‘Just before 11.30, having tired of the victim, Dunbar injected a syringe into his anus. His naked unconscious body was then burned with a blow torch which was used to brand his buttocks.
‘He was left by the bins on the street outside. He had been assaulted by penetration in circumstances that were sexual and his life had been endangered.
‘He was humiliated when his naked and unconscious body was allowed to lie by the bins outside to be found by a passerby.’
The judge said Matovu was a dangerous offender and was ‘articulate and superficially charming.’
‘When I wake up for a split second everything is normal, then the inevitable avalanche of emotion descends upon me and it is crushing. Every day since this has happened we’ve had to get up and go through the motions of the day but our world has been changed forever.
‘At times I want to scream out: ‘Stop the world! Eric is dead!’ When we divorced we worked very hard to be good joint parents to our children. We shared family holidays, birthdays and Christmas together to create those memories.
‘All that has been taken away and we have had to adjust to being a family of four. I feel an enormous pressure to be all things to the children, both mother and father, [and am] overcome with grief, panic and fear.
‘I struggle to deal with my own pain and guilt at being alive [and] dealing with being the sole parent and running a small business. At times this is so overwhelming we fear we are not up to the task. I am also painfully aware of other voiceless individuals who have been affected.
‘Eric’s elderly parents are completely broken in their grief. The ripple of his loss extends far and wide. I was always glass-half-full person, now I view others with distress and I’m wary. I never imagined that people could be so wicked and my fear and anxiety for those I care for is entirely unimaginable.
‘I shall never ever forget [Matovu] accusing my gentle ex-husband of rape. It ripped my soul to pieces. [My 15-year-old daughter] saw her father’s lifeless body in bed with blood and bile coming from his mouth.
‘The last person who Eric ever saw was the person who took his life, stealing from him and listening to the radio. That haunts us and will continue to haunt us forever. I used to embrace the future now, I dread every milestone Eric won’t be there.
‘He will never walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. He will never see his children graduate. He will never see or hold his grandchildren all these special memories that should be part of our lives have been callously taken away from us. I watch my children trying to piece their lives together as best they can.
‘I’m so proud of them, but I’m overcome by an immense sadness because their dad who they loved so very much was taken away, on a beautiful sunny day in August last year.’
Eric’s children were unable to speak and had their harrowing statements read to the court.
The victim’s oldest son, Josh, said: ‘The impact this has had on our lives is unreal. The most important man in our lives has gone forever.
‘I regret that I didn’t see him every single minute of every single day to tell him how amazing he was, to say how proud I was to call him dad and to say how much I loved him.
‘He won’t get to smile again. He won’t get to meet my children. I would give anything to have him back. Every single year we still have to celebrate Father’s Day, Easter and so many more things without him. His memory will continue to live through his children.’
Mr Michel’s 15-year-old daughter, who found her dad dead in his flat, recalled the moment Matovu answered her dead father’s phone and pretended to be him.
She said in a statement read by the prosecution: ‘This traumatic event has impacted my life so drastically that I no longer feel I’m the same person. I cannot believe I’ll never see amazing father again.
‘I’ll never forget the moment when a disgusting man answered my dad’s phone and pretended to be my dad. I knew it wasn’t my lovely dad and the memory and shock of it is still with me every day at 14’.
Tana Adkin, QC, defending Matovu, argued that the murder was an accident, saying: ‘He fully expected Mr Michels to recover.’
She added that Matovu struggled with gender identity and had been encouraged by Dunbar.
‘The downward spiral can be tracked with her chaotic lifestyle during the period of time she was with Dunbar.’
Charles Miskin, QC, defending Dunbar, argued it was Matovu who had influenced Dunbar, and that the relationship had since been ‘permanently severed’.
He added: ‘He’s not very bright. His personality has been damaged by the drugs he took over those many years’.
Judge Anne Molyneux told Matovu and Dunbar: ‘You did not care about the consequences of your actions you use prohibited drugs on a daily basis in particular GHB.
‘You were both well aware of dangerous aspects of that drug. You had no legitimate employment, your lifestyle was funded by fraud and when police searched your property bank cards from your victims were found.
‘Your method was simple and calculated. You were predators you worked as a team and you met people for sex, usually using Grindr.’
Matovu and his boyfriend preyed on their casual lovers by spiking their drinks with GHB to steal from them and fund their own massive chemsex habits.
For 19 months they lived in an almost non-stop orgy of drugs and all night sex with men they met on dating websites.
After the GHB had left their victims helpless the pair took not their laptops, phones and cash snapped pictures of their credit cards to use for taxi fares and to buy goods online.
They would also load up suitcases and holdalls with any clothes they fancied and even worthless ‘trophies’ like lightbulbs and toilet brushes.
The day after Matovu murdered Mr Michels, he and Dunbar preyed on another man at Dunbar’s flat by injecting GHB into his backside.
The 28-year-old was lucky to survive after he was found outside naked and comatose, lying in a heap of bin bags.
When Dunbar was arrested shortly afterwards, he was still high and watching hard core gay porn.
The pair’s first victim was a 53-year-old man who met the pair through a site called Adam for Adam on December 10, 2016 and invited them to his house in Wanstead, east London.
They all went upstairs to his bedroom and during a sex session Matovu gave the victim a soft drink which left him unconscious minutes later.
The victim’s boyfriend returned home to find Matovu leaving the flat in his coat with his boyfriend’s Vivienne Westwood bag on his arm.
Matovu was made to return the items but escaped took 115 Euros and some other items of clothing.
Matovu, 26, had hooked up with Eric Michels, 54, via Grindr in August last year before he killed him with a fatal dose of a date rape drug. Matovu and his lover, Brandon Dunbar, 23, (right) targeted 12 men on Grindr
On the night of February 25, 2017 a nurse hooked up with Matovu on the Grindr app and both men turned up at his home in Bermondsey.
After having sex with them the nurse was given a drink and did not regain consciousness until 4pm the following afternoon.
He was unable even to stagger the toilet and later found the pair had stolen his computer, some items of clothing, together with his travel pass and iPhone.
On October 6, 2017, a Grindr user arranged a meeting with the pair at an address they were using in Eagle Lane, Snaresbrook.
After they all had sex together the two men stole the victim’s wallet from his trousers and photographed his cards to use them for taxi rides and make purchases on Google Play.
Three weeks later on October 26 another man went to the Eagle Lane address after contacting Dunbar on Grindr.
Dunbar invited him into the shower with him so Matovu could got through his bags and steal his phone, cash and an Amazon Firestick.
When he discovered what had happened the pair reluctantly returned his phone but kept the cash and the Firestick.
Mr Michels was found dead at his home in Chessington (pictured) last summer and Gerald Matovu, from south-east London, was then arrested and charged with his murder
A 43-year-old man invited Dunbar and Matovu over when his parents were away at his home in Cuxton, Kent on the night of January 3, 2018 and awoke the next morning to find they had vanished with three laptops.
He had a single gin and tonic before going upstairs to have sex and then passed out and did not wake up until the following afternoon with a carpet burn on his knee. The pair also took photographs of his Mastercard and used it to pay for Uber fares.
On 30 March 2018 a Grindr user arranged to meet up with two males known as Brandon and Gerry who described themselves as friends – even though he had never met them before.
He went to an address in Romford Road, Forest Gate, and was shown up to the studio flat on the first floor.
When the victim went to have sex with Dunbar in the shower, Matovu rifled though this rucksack and took pictures of his HSBC bank card which the pair attempted to use.
Another Grindr user contacted Matovu in the early hours of April 14 after returning from a night out drinking with workmates and invited him to this flat in Bermondsey.
They all had sex before the victim passed out and the pair made off with items including his headphones, an Amazon Firestick, three watches phone and cash.
Pictures were also taken of his bank cards and identity documents and the pair attempted to use the details.
Pictured: Matovu in a shop with Mr Michels before he murdered him in Chessington, south-west London
The victim, awoke lying face down and naked on his bedroom floor the following afternoon. A Dutch businessman was staying at the Viking Hotel in Stratford, east London on 10 May and contacted Matovu on Grindr.
When the victim took a shower Matovu slipped GHB into his glass of wine, knocking him out for ten hours.
Matovu took his laptop, a tablet, two phones, some clothing and a travel bag. He also grabbed the hotel TV and a toilet brush.
Matovu gave the name ‘PourItUp’ to the Grindr contact who became his victim when the hustler travelled to his home on July 20.
When the victim went out to make a cup of tea Matovu, took £125 and 350 Euros, together with and a Samsung S6 mobile phone.
He also used the details of the victim’s NatWest business account to carry to buy a litre of product called Procleaner.
It is use to clean alloy wheels but is largely a chemical called GBL – almost identical to GHB.
Five days later on July 25 Matovu was giving a man oral sex at the flat on Romford Road when he passed out.
Police raided Dunbar’s apartment and found syringes and even a blowtorch he used on one victim’s buttocks
Matovu and Dunbar stole his £1,000 phone and used his bank card details to buy pizza and more GBL.
A jury deliberated for 26 hours to reach guilty verdicts on all the charges against both defendants. Members of the victim’s family in court shouted out ‘yes – the rest of your life in prison’ as Matovu looked on impassive.
In 2016, Port was handed a whole life term for raping and murdering four young men and dumping their bodies near his home in Barking between 2014 and 2015.
Following Port’s trial, Matovu pleaded guilty to supplying mephedrone and GHB and offering to supply GHB, but denied knowing what Port planned to do with it.
Matovu’s connection to Port was revealed found in 2015 when his number was found in the serial killer’s mobile.
He was given a 12 month community order for supplying drugs to Port after he told the court he was ‘no longer in a party lifestyle’.
Matovu was lying – he had preyed on his first two victims after his arrest for supplying Port.
He was to tell his murder trial he could not remember many details of the orgy of sex drugs and theft which passed him a blur.
‘I was high out my head. I feel terrible about it now,’ he said. Both men told the jury that their victims had administered the drugs themselves but admitted stealing from some of them them when they were comatose.
‘You’ve taken away my father – and robbed him of his dreams’: Fury of murder victim’s teenage son
Actor Eric Michels, who had appeared in the Bond film Skyfall, died at his home in Surrey
Eric Michels’ family blasted his killer who had shown no remorse, falsely accused him of rape and goaded them in court.
Mr Michels’ teenage son Sam said in a victim impact statement: ‘Ordinary people cannot begin to understand why you would do the things that you have done and how you can show no remorse for any of your actions.
‘You have taken away someone who gave so much more than you have given, cared so much more than you care, respected people and was indisputably successful throughout his life.
‘You have taken away all the lessons my Dad was yet to teach me and all the experiences he deserved as a father – like meeting his grandchildren and walking his daughter down the aisle. He talked about these things regularly and was so excited for the future.
‘To me, my Dad had the answers to everything and he was always the first person I would call for advice. He was everything to me, and I am completely and utterly lost without him.
Gerald Matovu and his lover drugged victims before stealing from them
‘Alongside us, his children, my father was also loved by our large extended family. I have struggled so much having to see my grandparents fall to pieces accepting the loss of their only son. His sister, cousins and friends are all distraught having had an angel taken from them. Losing Dad affects so many people, not just us.
‘My mother has had to take on a different level of responsibility that she shouldn’t have had. She has now had to become mum and dad while trying to pick up the pieces herself. She loved my father dearly and their relationship had stayed strong despite their divorce.
‘Sitting in court and listening to lies about my father has made me feel physically sick at times. We knew him better than anyone, and hearing the defendant accuse my father of rape was soul destroying. He was gentle and caring and would never do such a thing.
‘I have also had to experience both of the defendants laugh and smile as we enter the court room, as if they have something to be proud of. On multiple occasions while giving evidence, Mr Matovu turned to us and grinned. This only tells me about the type of person he is. His lack of empathy or respect for anyone else in unimaginable.
‘I am so proud of my father and I will continue to be until I die. He made such an impact on my life that can never be forgotten. He deserves nothing but justice for what happened to him last year.’