Eloise Parry, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, collapsed after buying and taking 2,4 dintrophenol (DNP), first used to make bombs during World War I, court said
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A student was killed by an online steroid dealer accused of manslaughter, who sold her a toxic slimming drug “Russian Roulette”, a court heard today.
Eloise Parry, 21, allegedly bought the pills containing the toxic substance dintrophenol (DNP) from Bernard Rebelo, 32, after seeing him advertise them on web forums.
Rebelo, from Gosport, Hampshire, is on trial for manslaughter, accused of buying the powder from a chemical factory in China and selling it in pill form to people around the world, including Ms Parry.
A court heard that Ms Parry took eight capsules but collapsed and suffered a fatal heart attack.
Rebelo is accused of deceiving British Customs by mislabeling the packages of the deadly “devil’s cutting agent” he ordered from China as turmeric.
DNP is not intended for human consumption and was first used to make bombs during World War I.
Ingesting the drug has been compared on social media to playing Russian roulette and is popular among dieters for its “fat-burning” qualities, Old Bailey said.
Rebelo appeared in court today for a new trial for manslaughter.
Prosecutor Richard Barraclough, QC, said the man demanded online payment via Bitcoin cryptocurrency and successfully resurrected his websites after they were repeatedly taken down by the FSA and Interpol .
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Reopening the case today, the lawyer said: “On April 12, 2015, a vulnerable and deeply troubled 21-year-old woman suffered a most distressing death after buying from the accused on the internet and consuming a highly toxic chemical called DNP which was sold as a slimming agent.
“Eloise had an eating disorder and was diagnosed with bulimia. It is a condition similar to anorexia.
“We will examine his psychological and emotional state in detail.
“She started buying 2,4 dintrophenol (DNP) from the defendant in February 2015.
“She became at least psychologically addicted to and addicted to the chemical.
“DNP was first used as a base material for ammunition during World War I.
“It was then used in the 1930s to aid weight loss as it was found to boost human metabolism and eat away at calories consumed.”
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The jury heard that Rebelo was operating from his own flat in Harrow, north-west London, and “went to great lengths to disguise” his business.
But Ms Parry, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, died in hospital in April 2015 after taking the pills.
Mr Barraclough, QC, continued: “The defendant purchased DNP which is a yellow powder from an industrial chemical plant in China. It was supplied in drums.
“He operated in an apartment in Harrow, London, where he put the powder in capsules and then sold it on the Internet.
“The profits of the company were considerable. The defendant started his operation selling steroids to bodybuilders and then entered the DNP market.
“His websites were linked to articles and reviews on popular bodybuilding forums, for example www.eroids.com, musclegurus.com and the social media site www.reddit.com.
“He went to great lengths to disguise the product he was providing by labeling and misdescribing it in a way that would mislead customs and enforcement authorities in the UK and elsewhere.
“His website was shut down on occasion, but he was able to resuscitate it.
“He knew it was dangerous not only because one of his associates had consumed DNP and suffered some of its toxic effects which in his case were not fatal, but because it was well known that many authorities and organizations warned of the dangers of consuming the chemical.
Jurors learned that the accused had previously been convicted of selling food unsafe for human consumption.
Rebelo, of Harrow, denies manslaughter.
The jury learned today that the proceedings are a new trial, following a ruling by the Court of Appeal.
The trial continues.