A former U.K. couple has been found guilty of killing an Irish man by poisoning him with a powerful drug known as “devil’s breath.”
Joel Osei, 25, and Diana Cristea, 19, were arrested after the body of Adrian Murphy, a 43-year-old champion dancer, was found in his South London apartment in June 2019.
Investigators say the two targeted gay men by arranging to meet their victims through the popular gay dating app Grindr, and drugging them with a substance that’s said to be “popular with robbers and rapists” to incapacitate their victims, according to a prosecutor in the case.
Osei would arrange to meet their victims and drug them to render them unconscious so he could steal their belongings. He would then hand the property to Cristea, who would sell the goods online.
On Friday, a criminal court in Croydon, just outside of London, found them both guilty of murder.
After reviewing security camera footage, police was able to verify that Osei was seen walking into Murphy’s apartment late on June 1, 2019, and leaving a few hours later carrying a bag, “which later transpired to be full of items stolen from Adrian.”
The next day, Cristea’s phone was used to take photographs of the items — which included laptops, phones, bank cards, and clothes — to post them for sale online.
They also charged $3,000 in one of the victim’s credit cards to buy computer software, police said.
Later that day a PayPal account was created in Murphy’s name, but registered to a former address of Cristea’s. An attempt was then made to purchase $80,000 worth of goods from a diamond jeweler in New York.
Murphy’s body was discovered on June 4.
A post-mortem examination didn’t reveal any defensive injuries or signs of sexual activity, but it showed high levels of scopolamine present in Adrian’s system.
The drug was also detected in an empty drink can that had been discarded in the apartment.
Detective Chief Inspector Robert Pack called the scheme a “callous and calculated plan to make what [Osei] saw as easy money,” in a statement released Friday.
“He selected this method with the belief that victims would be unlikely to contact police due to the intimate and personal nature of the meetings. They targeted the victims in a place where they should feel safe, their own homes, and Osei’s indiscriminate use of a drug he knew to be dangerous led to the tragic death of Adrian Murphy,” added Pack, who was the case’s senior investigating officer.
A 40-year-old man from east London, who was targeted by the couple just a few days earlier, helped police to identify the attackers.
On Friday, Murphy’s family said in a statement that, “Adrian brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world. He was an inspirational Irishman, who was a gifted dancer and choreographer."
“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."
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