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

Joel Osei and Diana Cristea used profiles on gay dating app Grindr to befriend men as part of a scheme to drug and rob them.

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

A couple have been found guilty of murdering an Irish dancer after meeting him through a gay dating app and poisoning him with a drug known as “Devil’s breath”.

Joel Osei, 25, and his partner, Diana Cristea, 19, used profiles on Grindr to befriend men as part of a scheme to drug and rob them.

They were both arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of Adrian Murphy was found in a 17th-floor flat in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4 2019.

The pair then used the man’s details to unsuccessfully buy 80,000 US dollars (£62,000) worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.

Both Osei and Cristea were also accused of one count of administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud.

The jury returned a majority verdict on all counts for both defendants on Friday.

Joel Osei (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Joel Osei (Metropolitan Police/PA)

He also pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of administering poison, with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy, and seven counts of fraud.

He denied two counts of theft.

Cristea admitted one count of fraud and two counts of handling stolen goods, but was also convicted on all counts.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told the court the drug scopolamine is known as “Devil’s breath” in Colombia and is said to be “popular with robbers and rapists” to incapacitate their victims.

Diana Cristea (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Diana Cristea (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“The world is full of sameness, but this could not be said of our brother Adrian,” he said in a statement.

“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.

“He was also very funny and made everyone laugh at his hilarious stories. He had the gift of bringing people together.

“He has left a huge void within our family and the fact we can no longer see or hear from him makes his absence felt all the more.

“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.”

Joel Osei in the lift as he arrived at Adrian Murphy’s flat in Battersea, west London
Joel Osei in the lift at the block of flats in Battersea, south-west London (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

Speaking outside court following the verdict, he said: “Osei and Cristea have been described by the prosecution as a pair of ruthless grifters, and to my mind that is correct.

“In a callous and calculated plan to make what they thought was easy money, they targeted unsuspecting men via dating sites.

“They selected their victims using this method in the belief that the men would be unlikely to report the matter, due to the intimate and personal nature of the meetings.

Mr Pack added that the conviction appeared to be the first for scopolamine-related homicide in the UK.

Osei, who was previously living at Kerswell Close in Seven Sisters, north London, and Cristea, of Langley Park, Mill Hill, Barnet, north London, were convicted on all charges.

They are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on December 14.

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