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Huge void Young woman who helped boyfriend kill Irishman with 'Devil’s breath' has appeal rejected

'Adrian loved his hometown of Kilkenny and, although he was a regular world traveller, he never missed an opportunity to return to his family and friends'

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Victim Adrian Murphy 'brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world'

Victim Adrian Murphy 'brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world'

Victim Adrian Murphy 'brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world'

An English court has rejected an appeal by a young woman who was convicted of helping her boyfriend murder an Irishman with the drug Devil’s breath in London in 2019. 

Diana Cristea (20) was found guilty alongside boyfriend Joel Osei of killing Adrian Murphy with an overdose of scopolamine following their trial in March of this year.

Cristea was sentenced to 16 years in prison while Osei was given a minimum 32 years at Croydon Crown Court.

Diana Cristea sought to appeal her conviction claiming the sentence was “excessive”.

However, the judges said that while the reason her sentence was less “because of her age” they did not deem it was “even arguably manifestly excessive”.

Mr Murphy’s body was found in his 17th-floor flat in Battersea, southwest London, in June 2019.

The trial heard how as part of their scheme, the pair had used profiles on gay dating app Grindr to befriend Mr Murphy and other men with a view to drugging them with scopolamine - known as 'Devil's breath' - and later robbing them.

Prosecutors said the 'Devil's breath' drug, which comes from Colombian Borrachero trees, is "popular with robbers and rapists" as it is used to incapacitate victims.

Adrian Murphy had worked as a dance teacher and a choreographer at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, but was on a year-long sabbatical at the time.

Investigators found Mr Murphy’s 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 whiskey left at the scene.

The court heard how a second man had been tended to by paramedics several days prior to Mr Murphy's death after he was also drugged and robbed by Osei.

Osei and Cristea went on to use Mr Murphy's details to attempt to buy $80,000 (£62,000) worth of diamonds from New York, which ultimately failed.

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Diana Cristea sought to appeal her conviction claiming the sentence was 'excessive'

Diana Cristea sought to appeal her conviction claiming the sentence was 'excessive'

Diana Cristea sought to appeal her conviction claiming the sentence was 'excessive'

At Croydon Crown Court, the couple were also both convicted of administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life.

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Osei had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, administering poison with intent to injury, aggrieve or annoy, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud.

Cristea, meanwhile, was also convicted of administering poison with intent to injury, aggrieve or annoy, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud. She had admitted two counts of handling stolen goods and one count of fraud.

The judges called this a “murder for gain” which would normally increase the sentence.

“Her assistance was not merely by way of encouragement but involved active participation in furthering the plan by research, handling the scopolamine, booking taxis and disposing of stolen goods. It was an operation which was carefully planned over a few weeks,” they said.

The appeal judges added that, in those circumstances, “it cannot be said that the minimum term of 16 years was even arguably manifestly excessive”.

The appeal judges noted that Diana Cristea had a difficult childhood growing up and had her own emotional and mental health problems.

They said they did not want to ‘minimise’ the trauma she went through, but that they could not determine that her sentence was in any way excessive.

They added: “[Cristea] was of Romanian origin and had grown up in Romania. She had been raped at the age of 12 by two men who posted images of the sexual assault on social media.

“Her family had for this reason moved to the UK when she was 14. She was drawn into a drug-taking world and her mother was unable to cope with her.

“She was taken into local authority care in January 2017 when she was 15 and after some unsuccessful placements was sent to a residential unit for sexually exploited and abused children.”

Cristea met Osei when she was 16 and returned to using drugs.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Murphy's brother Robert said his sibling had been an "inspirational Irishman" and said the death had "left a huge void" in the family.

He said: "The world is full of sameness, but this could not be said of our brother Adrian.

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Joel Osei was found guilty of murdering Irish dancer Adrian Murphy after meeting him through a gay dating app and poisoning him with a drug known as 'Devil's breath'

Joel Osei was found guilty of murdering Irish dancer Adrian Murphy after meeting him through a gay dating app and poisoning him with a drug known as 'Devil's breath'

Joel Osei was found guilty of murdering Irish dancer Adrian Murphy after meeting him through a gay dating app and poisoning him with a drug known as 'Devil's breath'

"Adrian brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world.

"He made so many loyal friends who are so sad at his untimely passing as he was an inspirational Irishman, who was a gifted dancer and choreographer."

Mr Murphy then went on to describe his "very funny" sibling as a man who could make "everyone laugh at his hilarious stories," adding: "He had the gift of bringing people together.

"Adrian loved his hometown of Kilkenny and, although he was a regular world traveller, he never missed an opportunity to return to his family and friends.

"Adrian's legacy is that of a hero and hopefully his tragic death has stopped this happening to any other innocent victim.

"He is now dancing amongst the stars. May he rest in peace."

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