Pair acquitted of weedkiller manslaughter

Two men who gave a gym-goer weedkiller to drink as a weight-loss aid have been acquitted of his manslaughter.

The court heard that Sean Cleathero, 28, was told to dissolve a sachet of the drug dinitrophenol (DNP) in water before he drank the concoction at a gym in Buckinghamshire. DNP is not a controlled substance because it can be used as an insecticide but is not fit for human consumption.

Jamie Chivers, 44, Jason King, 41, and Peter Purkins, 47, all denied the manslaughter of Cleathero on October 16, 2012. Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Purkins and King were found not guilty.

The prosecution also alleged that the defendants were involved in two linked businesses in High Wycombe: Precision Laboratories, where the drugs were produced, and Apollo Fitness, where Mr Cleathero collected the DNP on the day of his death.

The jury was discharged after it failed to reach a verdict on Chivers, of High Wycombe. He will face a retrial on November 24. The court heard that Chivers had already admitted perverting the course of justice as well as the production and supply of anabolic steroids, a class C drug.