Richard Barraclough QC and Gordon Menzies appear in ‘deadly’ slimming pills case

July 5, 2018

Richard Barraclough QC and Gordon Menzies instructed by Harrow Council successfully prosecuted an individual who sold ‘DNP’ slimming pills over the internet for offences of manslaughter in what has been described as a ‘landmark case’.

Bernard Rebelo ran a business which sold dinitrophenol (‘DNP’) capsules from his flat in Harrow. DNP is widely used in the body building world for its perceived ‘fat burning’ slimming properties. However it is a highly toxic substance with no known safe dosage. Experts have likened taking it to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with the lives of consumers.

Eloise Parry was 21 and suffered from bulimia together with personality disorder and became psychologically addicted to DNP which she took for its perceived weight loss properties. On the 12th April 2015, having taken 8 capsules which the prosecution were able to establish had been sold by Mr Rebelo’s business, she died in hospital.

The Defendant was convicted of selling unsafe food and two counts of manslaughter. The prosecution were able to establish that this was a case of unlawful act manslaughter and that the chain of causation which commenced with the Defendant’s unlawful act of selling was not broken by any free, informed and deliberate consent on the part of Ms Parry by virtue of the fact that there was expert evidence that she lacked capacity and, in any event, was ‘vulnerable’ in the sense referred to by the Supreme Court in the case of R v Kennedy [2007] UKHL 38. The jury also convicted of the more serious charge of gross negligence manslaughter, principally on the basis that this was a case which involved an obvious risk of death.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind the Defendant received a total sentence of 7 years imprisonment. ​

Click here for video if an interview on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire of a BBC News report on the case

Please use the links below for further news coverage of the case.

The Guardian
The Daily Mail
BBC News Report