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Killer who fatally poisoned man he met on Grindr handed life sentence

Joel Osei and co-defendant Diana Cristea fatally poisoned dancer Adrian Murphy in the summer of 2019

2021-01-26

Words: Jamie Tabberer

A man who fatally poisoned another man he met on Grindr has been convicted of murder and handed a life sentence with a minimum of 32 years.

Joel Osei, 26, used a fake Grindr profile to entrap 43-year-old dancer Adrian Murphy, robbing and killing him in the summer of 2019 with an overdose of a date-rape drug, reports Metro.

According to a report on CPS.gov.uk, 'Osei went on to steal more than £2,000 worth of goods from [Murphy's] flat including a Louis Vuitton wallet.'

He used scopolamine, known as 'Devil's Breath', to drug Murphy, a dance teacher and choreographer at the Royal Academy of Dance. Murphy was on a year-long sabbatical when he died sometime between 1 and 4 June 2019; his body was found by his best friend and former partner.

Osei, of Seven Sisters, north London, targeted a previous, surviving victim on the app 'under the guise of casual sex' in order to rob him and drain his bank account.

His ex-girlfriend and co-defendant Diana Cristea assisted in the crimes by selling stolen goods online. They also twice used Mr Murphy's credit card to order food on Deliveroo.

"You left him either dying or dead"

The sentence was handed at Croydon Crown Court last Friday. Said Mr Justice William Davis: "Your expectation was shame and embarrassment on the part of those victims would mean in all likelihood they would not report it."

The judge 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.

"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."

Toxicology tests showed the concentration of the drug in Mr Murphy’s body was many times the level needed for a fatal overdose. The court also heard how Osei and Cristea tried to use Murphy's credit card to buy £62,000's ($80,000) worth of diamonds from a New York jeweller via PayPal after the murder.

"You have stolen my brother from me"

Speaking via video, 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."

Cristea, of Barnet, North London, will be sentenced at a later date. She was 20 when she and Osei were convicted of murder last October.

Said Sally-Anne Russell of the CPS at the time: “Together Joel Osei and Diana Cristea planned these ruthless offences which cost the life of Adrian Murphy, and seriously injured another. Their sole motivation was to steal property and make money from their victims.

“The prosecution was able to link Osei and Cristea to the crimes using a variety of evidence including telephone evidence and CCTV evidence. The crucial evidence was given by the surviving victim who was able to pick out his attacker from an identity parade.

“CCTV footage shown to jurors showed Osei leaving both Mr Murphy’s address and his surviving victim’s address with bags of their property, which he then passed on to Cristea to sell online.

“Cristea played her part by calling 999 and told the operator about the drug killing after a fallout with Osei. This enabled the police to identify the drug that had been used. Police also found a number of the stolen items at her address and text messages between herself and Osei which evidenced their plan to commit these offences.

“We thank the victim for giving evidence. The prosecution applied for him to give his crucial evidence from behind a screen and with his name anonymised. We hope that his courage gives victims of similar crimes the confidence to come forward.

“I hope this prosecution goes some way in providing comfort to the surviving victim and the family and friends of Adrian Murphy. Our thoughts remain with them at this time.”