Words: Steve Brown
A man who murdered a father with an overdose of GBL has been jailed for life.
Gerry Matovu, 26, drugged businessman and Skyfall actor Eric Michels with the chemsex drug and robbed him with their then-boyfriend Brandon Dunbar, 24, while Michels visited London.
Michels, 54, was found dead at his home in Chessington last August after a GHB drug overdose and the two men were both arrested in connection with the murder.
On Wednesday (September 11), Matovu – who also sold drugs to Grindr killer Stephen Port according to the BBC – was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation to serve a minimum of 31 years, the Metropolitan Police said.
Matovu had also been found guilty of multiple counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life, fraud and theft.
Dunbar was handed an 18-year jail sentence with an extended licence period of five years. In total, Matovu was sentenced for 39 offences and Dunbar for 23.
During their trial, the court heard that over a 19 month period, the two men targeted 12 gay men by using the hook-up app, Grindr.
Ten of the men had their property stolen and 11 had photos taken of their bank others, while other person items were also stored on a laptop for later use in fraudulent activities.
It is believed that eight of the men were drugged with the GHB drug to the point of unconsciousness so the pair could steal from them. Michels died after being given a fatal dose.
Detective Inspector Mark Richards, Specialist Crime, 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.
“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.
“But Mr Michels was different – Matovu gave him a fatal dose of GBL. Despicably, while Mr Michels lay dead or dying, Matovu raided his address of many of his belongings, leaving his devastated family to find his body the following day.
“Just three days later Matovu and Dunbar targeted another man at Dunbar’s flat. When he was no longer of use to them, it is suspected they dragged his prone naked body out into the street and abandoned him on a pile of rubbish bags.
“Attending officers were quickly able to join those two events together, and enquiries then revealed a whole host of other victims. Matovu and Dunbar had done very little to cover their tracks, their only focus moving onto their next victim and what else they could steal.
“There is every chance there are more victims out there – please have the confidence to come forward and report this, or any similar crime to us.
“Matovu and Dunbar are to blame for what happened to these men and the crimes they committed against them.
“But as with any situation, there are things people can do to help protect themselves when meeting people online, such as talking as much as possible before agreeing to meet, being careful not to share too many details about yourself, telling a friend or relative what you are planning to do and being generally cautious and vigilant.
“The Met has LGBT liaison officers available to anyone who needs crime prevention advice or support and there are variety of LGBT+ organisation and charities willing to help.”