Man guilty of manslaughter after selling toxic slimming pills to student
An online steroid dealer who sold toxic slimming pills which killed a bulimic student has been found guilty of manslaughter.
Eloise Parry, 21, from Shrewsbury, died in hospital on April 12 2015 after taking eight tablets containing the poisonous Dinitrophenol (DNP).
Bernard Rebelo, 31, from Gosport in Hampshire, was found guilty at Inner London Crown Court of two counts of manslaughter and one of placing unsafe food on the market.
He will be sentenced on Friday.
Rebelo admitted while giving evidence during the trial that he sold DNP to Miss Parry.
He told the jury that he included a warning on his website that the substance was not for human consumption.
Rebelo’s girlfriend Mary Roberts, 32, was cleared by the jury of one count of money laundering after she was accused of transferring £20,000 for and on behalf of Rebelo.
Ms Roberts said she had never seen capsules for making pills where she lived and if she had she would have asked her partner Rebelo why they were there.
She also said she had taken little interest in asking details of a business Rebelo had set up to sell “muscle enhancing supplements and protein shakes”.
The couple wept in the dock as the verdicts were delivered on Wednesday afternoon, with Rebelo asking the judge: “Can I see my daughter?”
Ms Roberts could be heard crying as the couple hugged one another.
The jury had begun its deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.
Miss Parry died after taking eight diet pills containing the highly toxic DNP.
Her sister Rebecca Parry, now aged 19, said in a statement read out during the trial that she had been “focused” on losing weight.
She noted that in the weeks and months leading up to her death, her sister had struggled “more and more” with her eating disorder.
She said: “The diet pills she had taken had made her lose a drastic amount of weight but she still wanted to be slimmer.”
Rebecca Parry said she left Eloise’s house on April 11 at about 9pm and that her sister, who had been talking about doing a Master’s degree, seemed happy but tired. She had leg pain.
Rebecca said: “She mentioned a takeaway but I told her not to order one unless she was sure she could eat it.”
She added that the next day it looked to her as though she had binged before taking the diet pills.
She recalled that her sister had struggled with her mental health during her teenage years and had been diagnosed with bulimia and a borderline personality disorder.
In the weeks leading up to her death, she was admitted to hospital numerous times because of the side effects of DNP, according to Rebecca Parry.
Jurors were told that Miss Parry started taking the chemical in pill form in February 2015, and soon became addicted and dependent on the yellow powder in the capsules.
The trial heard that among other things, DNP could cause multiple organ failure, hypothermia, nausea, coma, muscle rigidity, cardiac arrest and death.
The court heard that depending on body weight, just 200mg of DNP can be lethal.