Date-rape drug killer who poisoned male dancer after Grindr trap jailed for life

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A man who poisoned a gifted dancer with a date-rape drug known as “devil’s breath” to rob him after entrapping him through a fake dating app profile has been handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 32 years.

Joel Osei, 26, killed 43-year-old Irishman Adrian Murphy in the summer of 2019 with an overdose of scopolamine – a substance from the deadly nightshade family of poisons commonly used in rapes and kidnappings in South America.

Mr Murphy had worked as a dance teacher and a choreographer at the Royal Academy of Dance, but was on a year-long sabbatical when he died.

Osei and his ex-girlfriend and co-defendant Diana Cristea, 19, targeted men on gay dating app Grindr to rob them of their valuables and drain their bank accounts.

After killing Mr Murphy, the couple attempted to buy £62,000 worth of diamonds in New York.

Mr Murphy’s body was discovered by his best friend and former partner on 4 June.

His phone had been thrown down the toilet, while a can of Coca-Cola was found to contain traces of scopolamine and Osei’s fingerprints were discovered on a bottle of whisky left at the scene.

Toxicology tests revealed the concentration of scopolamine in Mr Murphy’s body was many times the level consistent with a fatal overdose.

Jailing Osei for life, Mr Justice William Davis said: “Your expectation was shame and embarrassment on the part of those victims would mean in all likelihood they would not report it.”

The judge said Osei had researched scopolamine, adding: “You gave Mr Murphy, quite deliberately, a significant dose of a drug which you know could cause death. That much was said in clear terms in the first piece of literature you looked at.”

He continued: “You left him either dying or dead. And what did you do then? You set about using his debit and credit cards which you had stolen.”

Appearing in court via videolink, Mr Murphy’s sister, Majella, said: “He was beautiful inside and out and only wanted to make people happy.

“To his murderers, you have stolen my brother from me, you have ripped half of me away, I personally will never recover from this. I would not wish this pain on anyone, not even you two.”

In a statement read out in court, Mr Murphy’s brother Robert said he had a hero’s legacy and was widely popular, with a successful international career as a dancer.

“The verdict does not fill us with joy or relief because we will not get our Adrian back,” the statement said.

Cristea and Osei were also convicted of poisoning a second man with the same drug two days earlier.

Osei was also given a concurrent sentence of five years in prison for administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life, but no separate penalty for multiple counts of theft and fraud.

The surviving victim woke up in hospital to find items including his wallet, bank cards and two laptops had been stolen.

He said the attack was a “horrific and humiliating ordeal” and told the court: “The attack has made me insecure and I am not quite sure how life will ever be the same.”

Cristea, of Langley Park, Mill Hill, Barnet, north London, will be sentenced for murder, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud at a later date.

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