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Eloise Parry: 'Vulnerable' Shrewsbury woman, 21, died after taking diet pills, court told

Shrewsbury | Crime | Published:

A "vulnerable and deeply troubled" young Shrewsbury woman died after taking 'slimming pills' containing chemicals used in First World War explosives, a court has heard.

Eloise Parry

Eloise Parry, 21, suffered a "most distressing death" in April 2015 after consuming eight Dinitrophenol (DNP) capsules, a substance described online as "straight poison" and "the devil's cut agent", the Old Bailey heard.

Bernard Rebelo, 32, from Gosport in Hampshire, is standing trial for her manslaughter, accused of buying the powder from a chemical factory in China, and selling it on as tablets to people around the world, including Ms Parry.

The yellow powder is often advertised as a slimming product but the known side effects include multiple organ failure, coma and cardiac arrest.

During the First World War it was used as a base material for munitions products.

Prosecutor Richard Barraclough, QC, told the jury that online forums compared consuming the chemical to "Russian roulette", adding: "If you take it, you might live, or you might die.

Miss Parry who had been diagnosed with the eating disorder, bulimia, "became at least psychologically addicted to and dependent on the chemical" after she started taking it in February 2015, the court was told.

The Old Bailey heard that DNP is particularly dangerous to those who suffer from eating disorders as the toxicity level is relative to a person's weight.

Dread

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The student was described as having a "morbid dread of fatness" and was "simply unable to control herself when it came to [DNP] consumption".

The court heard that on March 10 2015, Miss Parry was admitted to hospital in Wrexham after collapsing, and texted a friend saying: "I f***** up. A and E. DNP overdose. Feel so f****** stupid. I knew I could not control my eating disorder well enough to take them safely, I knew it."

She added: "It's not going to matter how skinny I am if I'm dead."

The court was told that three days later, the 21-year-old messaged: "I don't want to die, I never meant to hurt myself, I just felt so desperate.

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"I've been trying so hard to be okay with my body and myself that I pushed down all of those negative feelings instead of dealing with them."

The prosecution says that from 2013, Rebelo was buying DNP from a chemical factory in China, and selling it on his websites drpharmaceuticals.com and bionicpharmaceuticals.com, which have both since been taken down. The business was run from a flat in Harrow in north London, the court was told. They argue that he knew of the dangers of the substance.

In 2013, an associate who had taken DNP texted Rebelo to say: "I feel like s**t, I'm too hot," and "I'm drinking s**t-loads of liquids".

Mr Barraclough, QC, told the court: "He knew it was dangerous, not only because one of his associates had consumed DNP and had suffered some of its toxic effects... but because it was well-known that any number of authorities and organisations were warning against the dangers of consuming the chemical."

Rebelo denies manslaughter.

The jury was told on Tuesday that the proceeding is a retrial, following a Court of Appeal decision.

The trial continues.

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