‘Grifter’, 25, who ‘murdered Irish dancer with date rape drug’ denied his lover was involved


A ‘ruthless grifter’ accused of murdering a champion Irish dancer with a Colombian date rape drug today said he had plotted to ‘knock someone out and get their things’.

Joel Osei, 25, and girlfriend Diana Cristea, 18, are alleged to have killed Adrian Murphy, 43, who was found dead in his flat in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4 of last year.

A second unnamed man, 40, was rushed to hospital and narrowly survived after Osei allegedly administered Scopolamine to him at his flat in Walthamstow, east London on May 30.

Scopolamine, known as ‘The Devil’s Breath’, is popular with robbers and rapists in South America and Columbia who use it to incapacitate their victims, jurors at Croydon Crown Court have heard.

Prosecutors claim both victims were enticed by the pair of ‘ruthless grifters’ who used the dating app Grindr to arrange for Osei to meet the men at their homes.

Joel Osei, 25, and girlfriend Diana Cristea, 18, are accused of murdering Adrian Murphy (pictured), 43, who was found dead in his flat in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4, 2019

Cristea is said to have been ‘following the events closely’ as she plotted behind the scenes and egged her lover on.

She had repeatedly called Osei on May 30 while he was in the unnamed man’s flat and sent him a text which read: ‘Ask for Wifi once you get there so you can communicate with me. Worse case scenario, think I got £250 and 80 in Paypal.’

Colombian ‘Devil’s Breath’ date rape drug

Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine or ‘Devil’s Breath’, is made from Borrachero trees in Colombia, and used throughout the country to aid sexual predators and robbers.

The odourless powder is blown into people’s faces, which once inhaled can cause victims to lose their memory, free will, and in high enough doses, can even kill. It has been described as ‘the most dangerous drug in the world’. 

In the past two years cases have been reported in Spain, France and the US. But last month, UK actor Robert Lindsay told Met Police a young woman he knew was attacked with a substance bearing a chilling resemblance to ‘Devil’s Breath’ outside a London night club. 

The drug, also referred to as Burundanga in its native Colombia, is almost impossible to detect, as it disappears from the blood stream in two to six hours and can only be found in urine samples within 12.

This makes it extremely difficult for victims to prove they have been given it – as they don’t remember anything and it’s untraceable in their system.

Today Osei denied that Cristea knew about the plan to ‘knock someone out and get their things’.

Crispin Aylett, QC, prosecuting, said Osei jumped into a cab booked by Cristea after his victim had been rendered unconscious and was picked up by CCTV at 2:40pm carrying ‘a lot of bags’.

Mr Aylett told jurors the pair talked on the phone ‘for about 20 minutes’ as Osei was riding back to a hotel the couple had booked themselves into.

But Osei claimed he was ‘not coherent’ at the time after he had taken cocaine at the man’s flat and couldn’t remember what was said on the phone.

Mr Aylett told Osei: ‘But you carried on talking for about 20 minutes. You must have told her that the plan had paid off.’

‘I can’t remember,’ said Osei.

Mr Aylett said: ‘The plan had been to knock someone out and get their things. And you had knocked someone out and got their things.’

Osei replied: ‘Yes.’

Jurors heard Osei finally told his lover he had ‘knocked someone out and stolen his things’ but did not mention the word Scopolamine or how the man had ended up unconscious.

Mr Aylett said: ‘Let’s focus on Friday, what was Diana’s reaction then? Did she think you’d done well, did she think you’d overdone it?’

Osei replied: ‘I just told her what to do. I just told her to sell the stuff.’

The prosecutor said Cristea put a number of items up for sale on the website Shpock the next day, including a Playstation for £250, which she described as ‘almost brand new.’ Mr Aylett said: ‘You say she was angry with you.’

Osei replied: ‘Yes.’ Asked why Cristea would sell the items she now knew had been stolen, Osei said: ‘She was doing it for me. What I’m saying is that she wasn’t in on it. She was angry with the method.

‘I told her that the guy had been knocked out and I took his stuff.’

Mr Aylett asked: ‘Did she ask how you’d done it?’

Mr Murphy's body was found in his flat in June 2019 by his best friend and the property's owner

Mr Murphy’s body was found in his flat in June 2019 by his best friend and the property’s owner

‘No,’ came the reply.

The prosecutor said: ‘She already knows because she’s in on it from the off.

Osei replied: ‘No.’

Asked if he had discussed the same ‘treatment’ for Mr Murphy with his partner, Osei said he had told her he would be giving a massage in exchange for money. Mr Aylett said: ‘Are you saying that on Saturday she knew that you were going to see somebody and give them a massage?’

Osei replied: ‘To my recollection yes.’

The prosecutor said: ‘I know you are trying to help her Mr Osei, but try and think. The truth is Diana knew you were going for another Grindr hook-up weren’t you.

‘The question is whether she knew you were going to do the same thing to (the other man). She knew, didn’t she?’

Osei replied: ‘I said I was going to make money by providing services. She actually told me not to go.’ 

Mr Aylett said: ‘You’re saying that she hadn’t wanted you to go because she wanted you with her, not because she didn’t want you to knock out Mr Murphy.’

Osei replied: ‘She wanted me to be with her. She didn’t want me to go, I just remember the mood if it, she was crying telling me not to go and stuff like that. She would make assumptions and I would tell her she was wrong.’

But the prosecutor said: ‘The truth is the pair of you were in this together.’

‘No,’ replied Osei. 

Osei and Cristea allegedly stole a Playstation, an iPhone, an Ipod, a laptop, three pairs of sunglasses, a school bag, and wallet from the man who cannot be named for legal reasons.

They also are said to have used the man’s Tesco credit card to purchase items at Aydin Food and Wine shop valued £7.43.

The pair allegedly booked a hotel on the same day through Booking.com for £180 and spent $2,995 (£2297.63) on software from Chief Architects using Mr Murphy’s card. 

The trial at Croydon Crown Court heard how a victim was allegedly poisoned by a man posing as a 'Grindr date' who used a glass of juice laced with a date-rape drug known as 'devil's breath'

The trial at Croydon Crown Court heard how a victim was allegedly poisoned by a man posing as a ‘Grindr date’ who used a glass of juice laced with a date-rape drug known as ‘devil’s breath’

They allegedly used Mr Murphy’s Lloyd’s bank card to buy £54.63 worth of food from Deliveroo and spent £9.99 on Gumtree.

Mr Murphy’s Barclays Delaware MasterCard was also used by the pair on 2 June 2019 where they attempted to spend $80,049 (£61,000) on stones from Padmavati Diamonds Company based in New York, it was said.

Osei, of Seven Sisters, denies murder, poisoning by administering a substance to endanger life, two counts of theft, and eight counts of fraud.

Cristea, of Tottenham Hale, denies murder, poisoning by administering a substance to endanger life, two counts of theft and seven counts of fraud.

Mr Murphy, a seven-time All-Ireland Irish dancing champion, produced and choreographed numerous Irish dance shows, including Feet of Fire, and FireDance The Show.

He was laid to rest in his native County Kilkenny beside his parents on July 17 last year. The trial continues.

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