‘Ruthless’ couple ‘poisoned champion dancer with Devil’s Breath’ after meeting on Grindr
A “ruthless” couple have been accused of murdering a champion Irish dancer by poisoning him with “Devil’s Breath” after meeting him on Grindr.
In June 2019, police issued an urgent safety warning to people using Grindr after 43-year-old Adrian Murphy was found dead at his home in Battersea, London.
Jurors at Croydon Crown Court heard Tuesday (29 September) that Diana Cristea, 18, and Joel Osei, 25, met Murphy on Grindr, and that he invited Osei to his flat in Battersea on 1 June, according to Yahoo News.
Prosecuting, Crispin Aylett QC said that the next day, when Murphy “must have been dead”, the couple unsuccessfully attempted to use his name to buy $80,000 (£62,000) worth of diamonds from a New York jeweller.
Murphy’s body was found on 4 June by his best friend, and £2,000 worth of goods, including a wallet, laptop and Louis Vuitton bag, were missing from the flat.
During a post-mortem, traces of “Devil’s Breath”, another name for the drug scopolamine with comes from the deadly nightshade plant family, were found. Traces of the drug were also found on a Coca-Cola can and a glass in Murphy’s flat.
Aylett said: “In South America, and in particularly in Colombia, it is said to be popular with both robbers and rapists who use it to incapacitate their victims, rendering them deeply unconscious for long periods of time.
“In Colombia, they don’t call it scopolamine, in Colombia they call it ‘the Devil’s Breath’.”
The ‘ruthless’ couple are also accused of poisoning another man they met on the queer dating app Grindr.
Diana Cristea and Joel Osei are also accused of poisoning a second man, who survived, after they met him on Grindr.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was poisoned on 30 May 2019, and £2,000 worth of good were stolen from him.
Crispin Aylett QC said that, as with Murphy, Osei met the victim in person with Cristea “egging him on”.
The court heard that Osei called himself “Remy” on the queer dating app, and the victim was disappointed when he arrived at his home in London and did not seem interested in sex.
Osei allegedly poured the victim a glass of orange juice while he was in the bathroom, but soon after drinking it, the victim began to feel “breathless” and passed out.
He was found by a neighbour who called an ambulance, and traces of scopolamine were found in a sample of his hair.
Juror’s heard that the phone number used by “Remy” was later linked to the defendants, and the surviving victim identified Osei on CCTV leaving Murphy’s Battersea home.
A few days before the two incidents took place, Osei was arrested for trying to sell caffeine tablets as drugs at a music festival.
At the time, the court heard, Cristea texted him and wrote: “When you get back, we can focus on the ginger thing and ur batty boys loool.”
It is unclear what was meant by “the ginger thing”, but it was “clear” that the couple were referring to gay men, said Aylett.
He added: “The prosecution allege that the two defendants were a pair of ruthless grifters, scammers looking to make easy money at whatever the cost to their victims.”
Both Cristea and Osei deny murdering Murphy. Cristea admitted to one count of fraud, but denied two charges of theft and six charges of fraud. Osei denied two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud.
The trial continues.