A man who poisoned a gifted dancer with a date-rape drug known as “devil’s breath” in order to rob him after entrapping him using 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 summer 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 at the time of his death.
Osei and his ex-girlfriend and co-defendant Diana Cristea, 19, targeted gay men on Grindr in order to rob them of their valuables and drain their bank accounts.
After killing Mr Murphy, the couple attempted to buy $80,000 worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.
The pair were further convicted of poisoning a second man with the same drug two days earlier.
The victim, who cannot be named due to a reporting restriction, survived the incident but was taken to hospital after being found by a neighbour almost naked, extremely agitated and confused.
Mr Murphy is thought to have died sometime between meeting Osei on June 1 and his body being discovered by his best friend and former partner on June 4.
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.
Cristea and Osei, who was previously living at Kerswell Close in Seven Sisters, north London, but is now of no fixed abode, were both convicted of murder following a trial at Croydon Crown Court.
Jailing Osei for life on Friday, Mr Justice William Davis said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Osei was also given a concurrent sentence of five years in prison for administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life against the surviving victim, and no separate penalty for multiple counts of theft and fraud.
The surviving victim met with Osei on May 30 believing he was called “Remy” and invited him back to his London property for sex.
He passed out after drinking a glass of orange juice Osei poured for him and woke up in hospital.
Items including his wallet, bank cards and two laptops worth about £2,000 had been stolen.
Osei had used the same phone number to contact both victims, and was later identified by the surviving man.
Analysis of Osei’s phone and laptop linked Cristea to the crime, and revealed he had purchased the scopolamine online in early May.
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.