A LONDON couple have been found guilty of murdering Irish dancer Adrian Murphy after poisoning him with a drug called "Devil's breath".
The man, Joel Osei, 25, and his teenage girlfriend Diana Cristea, 18, met the 43-year-old through the gay dating app Grindr.
They had been using a series of fake profiles to befriend men on the app as part of a scheme to drug and rob them.
Both were arrested on suspicion of murder after Mr. Murphy’s body was discovered in a 17th floor flat in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4 2019.
Croydon Crown Court was told how paramedics attended to another man several days earlier, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who had also been drugged and robbed by Osei.
Osei and Cristea then used this man's details to try, unsuccessfully, to buy $80,000 (£62,000) worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.
According to Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC, the couple used a drug called scopolamine to incapacitate their victims.
Commonly known as “Devil’s breath” in Colombia, the drug was described as one that is “popular with robbers and rapists” who use it to disable targets.
The couple faced murder charges as well as one count of administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life, along with two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud.
The jury returned a majority verdict on all counts for both defendants this past Friday, October 23.
Osei had admitted to manslaughter but was convicted of murder by the jury.
He also pled guilty to an alternative charge of administering poison, with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy, and seven counts of fraud.
He denied two counts of theft.
Cristea admitted one count of fraud and two counts of handling stolen goods, but was also convicted on all counts.
They were convicted on all charges and are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on December 14.
Speaking in a statement read out after the verdict was announced, Mr Murphy’s brother, Robert Murphy, paid tribute to the “inspirational Irishman” acknowledging that his death had “left a huge void” in his family.
“The world is full of sameness, but this could not be said of our brother Adrian,” he said.
“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.
“He was also very funny and made everyone laugh at his hilarious stories. He had the gift of bringing people together.
“Our family is heartbroken that Adrian is no longer with us.
“He has left a huge void within our family and the fact we can no longer see or hear from him makes his absence felt all the more.
“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.”
A seven-time Irish dancing champion, Mr. Murphy, from Kilkenny, had carved out a career as a professional dancer, choreographer and producer in London prior to his death.
His work included choreography on Irish dancing shows such as Feet of Fire and Firedance.