Eloise Parry: Student died after taking ‘slimming pills’ containing explosive chemicals, court hears

Bernard Rebelo is on trial for manslaughter accused of selling DNP capsules to 21-year-old

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 12 February 2020 11:24 GMT
Eloise Parry, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, died in hospital on 12 April
Eloise Parry, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, died in hospital on 12 April (PA)

A student died after taking “slimming pills” containing chemicals used in First World War explosives, a court has heard.

Eloise Parry, 21, suffered a “most distressing death” after swallowing eight “diet” pills containing Dinitrophenol (DNP) – a substance described online as “straight poison” and “the devil’s cut agent”.

Bernard Rebelo, 32, from Gosport, in Hampshire, is on trial for her manslaughter, accused of buying the powder from a chemical factory in China and selling it on as tablets to people around the world, including Ms Parry.

The yellow powder is often advertised as a slimming product but the known side effects include multiple organ failure, coma and cardiac arrest.

During the First World War it had been used as a base material for munitions products.

Prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC told the jury online forums compared consuming the chemical to “Russian roulette”, adding: “If you take it, you might live, or you might die.”

Ms Parry, from Shrewsbury, in Shropshire, who had been diagnosed with the eating disorder bulimia, “became at least psychologically addicted to and dependent on the chemical” after she started taking it in February 2015, the Old Bailey was told.

The court heard that DNP is particularly dangerous to those who suffer from eating disorders as the toxicity level is relative to a person’s weight.

The court heard that on 19 March, 2015, Miss Parry was admitted to Wrexham hospital after collapsing and texted a friend saying: “I f***** up. A and E. DNP overdose. Feel so f****** stupid. I knew I could not control my eating disorder well enough to take them safely, I knew it.”

She added: “It’s not going to matter how skinny I am if I’m dead.”

The court was told that three days later, the 21-year-old messaged: “I don’t want to die, I never meant to hurt myself, I just felt so desperate.

“I’ve been trying so hard to be okay with my body and myself that I pushed down all of those negative feelings instead of dealing with them.”

From 2013, the prosecution say Mr Rebelo was buying DNP from a chemical factory in China and selling it on his websites drpharmaceuticals.com and bionicpharmaceuticals.com, which have both since been taken down.

The business was run from a flat in Harrow in north London, the court was told.

Photo shows two bags of pills containing DNP.
Photo shows two bags of pills containing DNP. (Harrow Council/PA)

Prosecutors argue that he knew of the dangers of the substance.

In 2013, an associate who had taken DNP texted Rebelo to say: “I feel like shit, I’m too hot,” and “I’m drinking shit-loads of liquids”.

Mr Barraclough QC told the court: “He knew it was dangerous, not only because one of his associates had consumed DNP and had suffered some of its toxic effects... but because it was well-known that any number of authorities and organisations were warning against the dangers of consuming the chemical.”

Mr Rebelo denies manslaughter.

The jury was told on Tuesday that the proceeding is a retrial, following a Court of Appeal decision.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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