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Adrian Murphy death: Dancer had 'devil's breath' in system

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image captionAdrian Murphy's body was discovered in his flat in Battersea on 4 June, 2019

An Irish dancer allegedly murdered by a couple for his bank cards had an incapacitating drug in his system, a court has heard.

Diana Cristea, 18, and Joel Osei, 25, are accused of killing Adrian Murphy, 43, whose body was found in a 17th-storey Battersea flat last year.

The pair are also accused of poisoning a second man, who cannot be named.

Scopolamine, said to be "popular with robbers and rapists" in South America, was used both times, the court heard.

Toxicology tests estimated that the concentration of scopolamine in Mr Murphy's body was 67 micrograms per litre of blood.

Croydon Crown Court heard that research into a separate fatal robbery involving the drug, found that a victim only had 4.8 micrograms of scopolamine in their blood.

Forensic toxicology expert Kirsten Turner, in relation to the tests on Mr Murphy, told the jury: "The fact that we have detected scopolamine at these levels suggests to me that it was used within a few hours of death and the test suggests that it was a high dose."

She described it as "well in excess" of the amounts used in therapeutic doses and said "toxicity could lead to fatality".

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett previously told the jury that, particularly in Colombia, the drug is "said to be popular with both robbers and rapists who use it to incapacitate their victims, rendering them deeply unconscious for long periods of time".

'Met victims on Grindr'

He added: "In Colombia, they don't call it scopolamine, in Colombia they call it 'the devil's breath'."

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

It is claimed that the defendants used his details to try to buy $80,000 (£62,000) worth of diamonds from a jeweller in New York.

Mr Osei, of no fixed address, is alleged to have met the victims in person through gay dating app Grindr, before lacing their drinks with the drug and stealing their possessions.

Ms Cristea, of Langley Park, Mill Hill, Barnet, north London, was alleged to have been "egging him on" in the background and sold the stolen items, Mr Aylett said.

The former couple are both charged with a single count of murder and a count of administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life, which they both deny.

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