London

Dead James Bond extra Eric Michels 'targeted on Grindr'

Eric Michels Image copyright FACEBOOK
Image caption Eric Michels, who made a brief appearance in the Bond film Skyfall, was found dead at his home in Chessington in August 2018

A businessman who appeared in James Bond movie Skyfall was murdered with a GHB drug overdose after being targeted by a serial thief who used gay dating apps to find victims, a court heard.

Gerald Matovu, 25, denies murdering Eric Michels, 54, who was found dead at his Chessington home on 18 August.

Mr Matovu, of Southwark, is on trial at the Old Bailey with co-defendant Brandon Dunbar, 23, from Forest Gate.

Mr Matovu denies murder and Mr Dunbar denies a string of charges.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC, said the two defendants often worked together and took advantage of hook-ups arranged via apps like Grindr to steal property and take photos of bank cards for the purposes of fraud.

He said the case involves 26 charges relating to 12 gay men who met one or both of the defendants for the purposes of sex, but ended up as victims.

'Drinks spiked'

Jurors were told eight of the men were drugged in order to "render them unconscious" of whom five had their drinks "spiked" and one had drugs injected into his backside.

Mr Michels had three children with his ex-wife, from whom he divorced in 2010 after coming out as gay.

One son - Sam - lived with Mr Michels in Bolton Road, Chessington, and last saw him alive at 19:00 BST on 16 August.

The court heard he met Mr Matovu in central London after they found one another on Grindr and took a cab back to Chessington.

Image copyright Social Media
Image caption Gerald Matovu is on trial at the Old Bailey

The prosecution allege that during the course of the following morning, Mr Matovu took photos of Mr Michels' bank cards, driving licence, and various passwords, before leaving the property in a taxi carrying stolen items including a laptop and mobile phone.

That night Mr Michels' 14-year-old daughter was unable to get a response from her father when she sent him a text asking if he would like to meet, the court heard.

She sent him a further text on 18 August and received a response from her father's phone saying: "Hello hun im a little busy talk soon".

'Totally uncharacteristic'

Mr Rees told the court Mr Michel's daughter felt the reply was "totally uncharacteristic of her father" and she decided to phone him.

However, an unknown male answered and hung up when she said who was calling.

At the time of the call, Mr Michels' phone was in the general area of Mr Matovu's Southwark address, jurors were told.

The teen and her mother then went to Mr Michel's home, where his daughter was the first to venture inside and found him lying motionless in bed with the duvet pulled up over his nose.

"She attempted to rouse him by shouting his name, but to no avail," Mr Rees said.

'Can induce coma'

Mr Rees said evidence points to use of the drug GHB to drug them, which is often used in context of "chemsex" in order to "facilitate sexual activity."

The jury was told large doses "can induce coma" and "in some cases death can arise".

Along with the murder charge Mr Matovu denies six counts of administering a poison or noxious substance to endanger life, one count of assault by penetration and one count of causing actual bodily harm.

He is further charged with five counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, seven counts of theft and possession of a controlled drug of class C - all of which he pleaded not guilty to.

Mr Dunbar has pleaded not guilty to five counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life, one count of assault by penetration, one count of ABH, seven counts of theft, five counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, two counts of fraud and one count of unlawfully retaining a wrongful credit.

The trial continues.

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