‘Grindr grifter’ jailed for at least 16 years

TOTTENHAM

A teenage girl who murdered a champion Irish dancer with a lethal drug known as ‘The Devil’s Breath’ was jailed for at least 16 years.

Diana Cristea, 19, and her lover Joel Osei, 25, targeted gay men on Grindr to rob them of their valuables and empty their bank accounts.

Osei laced Irisman Adrian Murphy’s Coca-Cola with deadly Scopolamine at a luxury riverside apartment in Battersea.

The couple then tried to use the 43-year-old’s credit card to buy £80,000 worth of diamonds from a New York jewellers.

Just four days earlier a 40-year-old man was rushed to hospital and narrowly survived after Osei administered Scopolamine to him at his flat in Walthamstow, east London.

Scopolamine is popular with robbers and rapists in South America and Columbia who use it to incapacitate their victims.

Both victims were enticed by Osei on Grindr, who used the dating app to arrange to meet the men at their London flats after the lovers planned the attacks together.

Osei and Cristea were convicted of murder, poisoning by administering a substance to endanger life, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud after a trial at Croydon Crown Court.

The conman was handed a life sentence and 32 years in January.

Cristea sobbed as she was sentenced to life detention and ordered to serve at least 16 years at the Old Bailey today (mon).

She earlier admitted fraud and two counts of handling stolen goods.

Mr Murphy’s sister Majella Murphy told Cristea: ‘Arian was my little brother we did everything together he was like a twin to me.

‘I am torn in half as a direct result of your selfish and despicable actions. 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 was very difficult for me to not to hate you but I refuse to hate you and I refuse to be like you and so I forgive you.

‘But you must receive the maximum sentence.’

The judge, Mr Justice William Davis told Cristea: ‘You together with Joel Osei murdered Adrian Murphy and administered a noxious substance to the man to whom I shall refer as AB, you were still 17 years of age.

‘You were an active and willing participant in the plan to drug men and to steal their property. You expected to gain from the plan. You knew that scopolamine was to be used. You knew what it could do.

‘You assisted and encouraged Osei to carry out that plan.

‘He was older and more experienced than you. Equally, the contemporaneous evidence shows that you were not dominated by him.’

The couple had a ‘tempestuous’ relationship but regarded each other as soul-mates with ‘big plans for their future.’

Crispin Aylett, prosecuting, said: ‘Even after everything that had happened and even after Osei had been charged and remanded in custody, he was writing to her and addressing her as ‘My Romanian Goddess Wife’.

‘He signed another letter to her as ‘Your Husband & King’.

‘For her part, Ms Cristea wrote to Mr Osei telling him ‘you are my half that I found. Never in my life can get on so well and love anyone this much’.

Mr Aylett said they were ‘a pair of ruthless grifters, scammers looking to make easy money at whatever cost to their victims.’

‘Each of the two victims had met up with Joel Osei, each of them had been drugged and from each of them Osei had stolen whatever he could find for Diana Cristea to sell.’

The 40-year-old man, who cannot be named, had met someone on Grindr calling himself ‘Remy’ and agreed to pay for an Uber to collect him from an address in Tottenham. on May 30, 2019.

Mr Aylett said: ‘When Remy arrived, the man was disappointed to find that his guest did not seem to be particularly interested in sex.

‘After a while the man went to the lavatory. When he came back, he found Remy had poured him a drink. Thinking it was orange juice from his own fridge the man drank it.

‘The next thing the victim remembers is feeling breathless and, as he told the police: ‘My head felt like this darkness coming over me” then he passed out.

‘When he came round, he was in hospital.’

Giving evidence the man said: ‘Everything started going fuzzy. My legs felt like they had been injected with solid rock or something.’

He said: ‘All I remember is saying something along the lines of what’s happening – then passing out, waking up, and a doctor telling me “you’re lucky to be alive.”

‘I was absolutely out of it, I didn’t know I was saying – I was speaking gibberish.’

After the man was discharged from hospital he discovered that Osei had helped himself to property worth about £2,000: a wallet, bank cards, sun-glasses, two laptops and other devices including his Alexa and Sony Playstation.

Osei was picked up by CCTV cameras at the luxury apartment block in Lombard Wharf on June 1 where Mr Murphy was staying.

He entered the building and took the lift to the 17th floor at 22:26 and was again picked up by CCTV as he left the flat with a Louis Vuitton holdall.

Cristea had been ‘following the events closely’ as she maintained contact with Osei throughout the night.

Mr Murphy, was a seven-time All-Ireland Irish dancing champion who produced and choreographed numerous Irish dance shows, including Feet of Fire, and FireDance The Show.

His best friend, who owned the apartment in Battersea, found him lying motionless on the bed there on June 4.

‘It was obvious that he was dead – and that he had been dead for some time,’ said Mr Aylett.

‘Again it soon became apparent that things had been stolen: a Louis Vuitton bag and wallet. A laptop was also missing. Again the overall value was about £2,000.’

‘In the course of the post-mortem examination of Adrian Murphy’s body, blood and urine samples were taken. From these, the toxicologist identified traces of a drug called Scopolamine.

‘When the police searched Mr Murphy’s flat, among the items seized were a can of Coca-Cola and a glass tumbler. Both were found to have traces of Scopolamine.

Cristea took photos of Mr Murphy’s Louis Vuitton bag before advertising it for sale online for £300 along with five Dolce & Gabbana belts for £200.

The couple booked a hotel on the same day through Booking.com for £180 and spent $2,995 on software from Chief Architects using Mr Murphy’s card.

They stayed on and off at the Simpson Street hotel during the following days while they made several purchases on different cards belonging to Mr Murphy.

The couple also tried to buy $80,049 (£61,000) worth of stones from Padmavati Diamonds Company based in New York using Mr Murphy’s Barclays Delaware MasterCard.

Osei told jurors Cristea knew nothing about the plan and never mentioned the use of Scopolamine to Cristea.

Osei said: ‘She was doing it for me. What I’m saying is that she wasn’t in on it. She was angry with the method.

‘I told her that the guy had been knocked out and I took his stuff.’

Mr Murphy’s brother Robert Murphy said in a statement: ‘Adrian brought the love and art of dance to thousands of young people all over the world.

‘Our family are 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’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.’

Osei, of Kerswell Close, Seven Sisters, admitted manslaughter, seven counts of fraud, and an alternative charge of administering poison, with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy any other person.

Cristea, of Springfield Road, Tottenham Hale, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and two counts of handling stolen goods.

The pair were convicted of murder, poisoning by administering a substance to endanger life, two counts of theft and eight counts of fraud by a unanimous jury verdict

Mr Justice William Davis had earlier told Osei that the murder of Mr Murphy was ‘made worse by the fact there was significant planning involved.

‘He was vulnerable, in the sense you assumed he would be unwilling to report what had happened if he survived.

‘You were the principle and would have done this come what may.’
ends

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