Young woman gets 16 years behind bars over ‘devil’s breath’ poison murder

Diana Cristea helped and encouraged boyfriend Joel Osei in a plan to target men on gay dating app Grindr and rob them and drain their bank accounts.

Diana Cristea
Diana Cristea

A young woman wept as she was sentenced to at least 16 years behind bars over the fatal poisoning of a dancer with a date rape drug known as “devil’s breath”.

Diana Cristea, 19, helped and encouraged her boyfriend Joel Osei, 26, in a plan to target men on gay dating app Grindr and rob them and drain their bank accounts.

In the summer of 2019, Osei killed 43-year-old Irishman Adrian Murphy with an overdose of scopolamine – a substance known as devil’s breath which comes from the deadly nightshade family.

Afterwards, the couple attempted to buy 80,000 US dollars (£62,000) worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.

Joel Osei court case
Adrian Murphy was targeted by Joel Osei and his partner, Diana Cristea (Met Police/PA)

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.

Cristea and Osei, previously of Kerswell Close in Seven Sisters, north London, were both found guilty of murder following a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

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

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, survived the incident but was taken to hospital after being found by a neighbour almost naked, extremely agitated and confused.

On Monday, Cristea, of Langley Park, Mill Hill, Barnet, north London, was detained for life for murder with a minimum term of 16 years.

She was handed 30 months’ detention for her part in poisoning the surviving victim to run concurrently, with no further penalty for fraud and theft offences.

Joel Osei court case
Joel Osei killed a gifted dancer with a date rape drug known as ‘devil’s breath’ (Met Police/PA)

Sentencing at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice William Davis said Cristea had “assisted and encouraged” Osei.

He told her: “You were an active and willing participant in this plan.

“You expected to gain from this plan. You knew scopolamine was being used and knew what it could do.”

However, he acknowledged she was just 17 at the time of the offences and had a “troubled” and “disturbed” life before meeting Osei, an older man, who was the more dominant partner in crime.

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.

In a statement, his sister Majella Murphy told Cristea that she had been “torn in half as a direct result of your selfish and despicable actions”.

She said: “You stole my little brother Adrian from me and as you are a woman, your actions are even worse than your partner in crime and a complete disgrace.

“It’s very difficult for me not to hate you, but I refuse to hate you and refuse to be like you, so I must forgive you.”

In January, Osei was jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years for murder.

Osei was also given a concurrent jail sentence of five years for administering a poison to endanger life against the surviving victim, and no separate penalty for multiple counts of theft and fraud.

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