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Dealer jailed for selling fatal toxic 'slimming pills' to woman with eating disorder

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Eloise Parry died after taking drugs sold by Rebelo. On the right is evidence recorded by Harrow Council following a raid on his flat. (PA/West Mercia Police/Harrow Council)

An online dealer convicted of killing a woman who took toxic tablets sold as slimming pills has been jailed.

Bernard Rebelo was previously jailed in 2018 for her manslaughter but was in the Old Bailey again after the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

He was again convicted of the manslaughter of Eloise Parry, who died aged 21 in 2015 after taking eight pills that contained poisonous dinitrophenol (DNP). The prosecution said Rebelo sold them despite knowing how dangerous the chemical is.

Rebelo was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday.

Justice Whipple said: “You don’t know if you are going to live or die (taking DNP).

“Eloise Parry had a distorted body image and a morbid desire for thinness. She had been a regular customer of yours in the weeks leading up to her death.

“By selling her the DNP, you caused her death – it is that simple.”

The 32-year-old, from Gosport, Hampshire, ordered powder from a chemical factory in China and sold it on as tablets to a global market, a jury was told at the Old Bailey.

Eloise Parry died in 2015 after taking toxic pills. (West Mercia Police/PA Wire)

Eloise, from Shrewsbury, bought it after seeing it advertised as a slimming product.

But its known side effects include multiple organ failure, coma and cardiac arrest, and it was used as a base material for munitions in the First World War.

Prosecuting, Richard Barraclough said during Rebelo’s trial that online forums compared taking the product to playing “Russian roulette”.

“If you take it, you might live, or you might die,” he told jurors.

Bernard Rebelo leaving court at a previous hearing. (SWNS)

It is more dangerous for people who have eating disorders because its toxicity is linked to a person’s weight, the court was told.

Eloise had been diagnosed with bulimia and became psychologically addicted to the chemical after she began taking it in February 2015.

She texted a friend on 10 March, 2015, when she was taken to hospital in Wrexham, saying she had “f***ed up”, had a “DNP overdose” and was in accident and emergency.

“I knew I could not control my eating disorder well enough to take them safely, I knew it,” she wrote.

“It’s not going to matter how skinny I am if I’m dead.”

Evidence gathered by Harrow Council during a raid on Bernard Rebelo's flat. (Harrow Council/SWNS)
Harrow Council photos from a raid on Rebelo's flat. (Harrow Council/SWNS)

Three days later, she messaged: “I don’t want to die, I never meant to hurt myself, I just felt so desperate.

“I’ve been trying so hard to be okay with my body and myself that I pushed down all of those negative feelings instead of dealing with them.”

She died the next month, having taken eight of the DNP pills.

Her mother Fiona Parry said after the sentencing: “She had plans for the future including travelling and seeing the world, not just a career.

“When Eloise died, her life was undone and her plans were unravelled. In that moment, my hopes were destroyed.”

Rebelo sold DNP on two websites he ran out of his flat in Harrow, west London. They have both been taken down.

Barraclough said: “He knew it was dangerous, not only because one of his associates had consumed DNP and had suffered some of its toxic effects… but because it was well-known that any number of authorities and organisations were warning against the dangers of consuming the chemical.”

Rebelo was convicted on Monday.