Home News Irish dance champion’s killer jailed for life

Irish dance champion’s killer jailed for life

Adrian Murphy from Kilkenny was found dead in a Battersea apartment last June.

The man who poisoned a champion Irish dancer in London in order to rob him has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years.

Joel Osei, 26, killed 43-year-old Adrian Murphy from Kilkenny in the summer of 2019 with an overdose of scopolamine, a date-rape drug commonly used in rapes and kidnappings and South America and known as ‘devil’s breath’.

Osei and his ex-girlfriend and co-defendant Diana Cristea, 19, targeted gay men on Grindr in order to rob them of their valuables and drain their bank accounts.

After killing Mr Murphy, the couple attempted to buy 80,000 US dollars (€69,000) worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.

The pair were further convicted of poisoning a second man with the same drug two days earlier although on that occasion that victim was lucky to survive the poison.

The 40-year-old victim invited Osei to his flat after making contact through Grindr. He told police that whilst with Osei he became incapacitated and was later found by his neighbours in a conscious, but completely unresponsive state. A sample of his hair taken by police was analysed and revealed the presence of high levels of scopolamine.
On returning home from hospital, the victim found that while he was unconscious his flat had been ransacked and laptops, mobile phones, a wallet and cash had been stolen.

A review of CCTV in areas surrounding the address showed Osei walking along a road near the victim’s address at 3pm on the day of the incident. He was carrying bags which detectives believe contained the stolen goods. He travelled to a shop in Tottenham with Cristea, where they used the victim’s card to purchase a number of items.
Officers later recovered the stolen property from Cristea’s address and found images of the items – a number of which had already been sold – on her phone.

Joel Osei and Diana Cristea have both been convicted.

Cristea and Osei were both convicted of murder in October following a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

It was then that the jury heard that it was actually Cristea that attempted to throw her former lover under the bus, calling 999 to report that Osei had killed Adrian Murphy by drugging him and then stole his personal belongings.

However, investigators also found a wealth of evidence also linking her to the crime.

Jailing Osei for life, Mr Justice William Davis said: “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.”

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He 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.”

Osei was also given a concurrent sentence of five years in prison for administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life against the surviving victim, and no separate penalty for multiple counts of theft and fraud.

Cristea, of Langley Park, Mill Hill, Barnet, north London, will be sentenced for murder, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud at a later date.

Adrian Murphy was a seven-time Irish dancing champion.

He was a professional dancer and produced and choreographed a number of Irish dancing shows, including Feet of Fire and Firedance.

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.

Adrian Murphy was found dead at a Battersea apartment last June, he was house sitting there for a friend. Adrian lived in Wandsworth.

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.

Toxicology tests revealed the concentration of scopolamine in Mr Murphy’s body was many times the level consistent with a fatal overdose.

A murder investigation was launched when Adrian Murphy was found dead on Tuesday, 4 June 2019. It is believed he died on Saturday, 1 June 2019.

A review of CCTV footage from within the block of flats where Adrian was staying showed that at 10pm on Saturday 1 June 2019 Osei exited an elevator and walked towards the property where Adrian was staying.

He was then captured leaving the building just after midnight on Sunday 2 June 2019 carrying a designer holdall which was full of items stolen from Adrian.

Detectives found out that while at the Battersea address with Adrian, Osei spoke to Cristea through 23 separate calls and messages. After departing, he met Cristea and handed her goods stolen from the flat including laptops, phones, bank cards, designer bag and wallet, and clothes.

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