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Couple found guilty of murdering Irish dancer with ‘Devil’s breath’ drug

Written by on 23/10/2020

A man and his teenage girlfriend have been found guilty of murdering an Irish dancer after poisoning him with a drug called “Devil’s breath”.

Joel Osei, 25, and his partner Diana Cristea, 18, killed 43-year-old Adrian Murphy whose body was found in the victim’s 17th-floor flat in Battersea, southwest London, in June last year.

As part of their scheme, the pair had used profiles on gay dating app Grindr to befriend Mr Murphy and other men with a view to drugging them with scopolamine – known as ‘Devil’s breath‘ – and later robbing them.

At Croydon Crown Court, the couple were also both convicted of administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life.

Osei had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, administering poison with intent to injury, aggrieve or annoy, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud.

Adrian Murphy, 43, was found dead in a block of flats in Battersea. Pic: Met Police
Image: Adrian Murphy was found dead in his 17th floor flat in Battersea. Pic: Met Police

Cristea, meanwhile, was also convicted of administering poison with intent to injury, aggrieve or annoy, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud. She had admitted two counts of handling stolen goods and one count of fraud.

Prosecutors said the ‘Devil’s breath’ drug, which comes from Colombian Borrachero trees, is “popular with robbers and rapists” as it is used to incapacitate victims.

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The convictions on Friday come after a lengthy wait as the trial was postponed earlier this year amid the coronavirus lockdown.

They relate to the murder of Mr Murphy and also to the poisoning of another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The court heard how the second man had been tended to by paramedics several days prior to Mr Murphy’s death after he was also drugged and robbed by Osei.

Osei and Cristea went on to use the man’s details to attempt to buy $80,000 (£62,000) worth of diamonds from New York, which ultimately failed.

Adrian Murphy
Image: Mr Murphy was drugged with scopolamine. Pic: Met Police

Mr Murphy’s brother Robert said his sibling had been an “inspirational Irishman” and said the death had “left a huge void” in the family.

Speaking after the verdict, he said: “The world is full of sameness, but this could not be said of our brother Adrian.

“Adrian brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world.

“He made so many loyal friends who are so sad at his untimely passing as he was an inspirational Irishman, who was a gifted dancer and choreographer.”

Mr Murphy then went on to describe his “very funny” sibling as a man who could make “everyone laugh at his hilarious stories,” adding: “He had the gift of bringing people together.

“Adrian loved his hometown of Kilkenny and, although he was a regular world traveller, he never missed an opportunity to return to his family and friends.

“Adrian’s legacy is that of a hero and hopefully his tragic death has stopped this happening to any other innocent victim.

“He is now dancing amongst the stars. May he rest in peace.”

Osei and Cristea, both from north London, will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 14 December.

 Sky News

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