‘Devil’s breath’ murder: Couple found guilty of poisoning man they met on Grindr

Joel Osei and then-partner Diana Cristea plotted to drug and rob men they met on dating app

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 23 October 2020 19:52
Couple found guilty of murdering Irish dancer with ‘Devil’s breath’ drug
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A couple fatally poisoned an Irish dancer using a drug known as “devil’s breath” as part of a plot to steal money from men they met on Grindr.

Joel Osei, 25, and his then-partner, 18-year-old Diana Cristea, were found guilty of murder on Friday following the incident last year in southwest London.

Croydon Crown Court heard how they used profiles on the gay dating app in order to drug and rob men they met there, including 43-year-old Adrian Murphy.

The pair were both arrested after Murphy’s body was discovered in a 17th-floor flat in Battersea on 4 June, three days after his death.

Several days earlier paramedics had attended to another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who had also been drugged and robbed by Osei at an address in another part of London.

The court heard how Osei and Cristea used Murphy’s financial details in a failed bid to buy £62,000 worth of diamonds from a New York jeweller.

The couple were 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.

Osei admitted manslaughter but was convicted of murder. 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 used to murder Murphy, scopolamine, is known as “devil's breath” in Colombia and is said to be “popular with robbers and rapists” to incapacitate their victims.

Following the verdict, Mr Murphy's brother, Robert Murphy, paid tribute to the “inspirational Irishman” and said his death had “left a huge void” within the family.

“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.”

Osei, who was previously living in Seven Sisters, north London, and Cristea, of Barnet, north London, are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 14 December.

Additional reporting by PA

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