A security expert has spoken of the 'vile' drug linked to the alleged murder of a champion Irish dancer in the UK.
On May 18, a 25-year-old man and his teenage girlfriend were due to stand trial accused of murdering Kilkenny man Adrian Murphy (43) and poisoning another man.
Joel Osei and Diana Cristea (18) were charged with murder after Mr Murphy was found dead in his apartment in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4 last year.
The pair have also been accused of poisoning Mr Murphy and a 40-year-old man with the drug scopolamine, colloquially known as "devil's breath".
The 40-year-old man was rushed to hospital and narrowly survived after he was allegedly drugged.
Mr Osei and Ms Cristea both deny the allegations.
The Covid-19 outbreak has meant most jury trials have been postponed and it is unlikely the trial will now go ahead at the Old Bailey this month.
Ahead of the trial, the Irish Independent spoke to a security expert in the UK about the drug 'devil's breath', which can render people unconscious.
Professor Anthony Glees, a security and intelligence expert from the University of Buckingham, described the drug as "vile" and "terrifying".
"It has struck me for some time that a drug which allows people to become disabled and unconscious at the same time could become a very dangerous and unpleasant tool if it were widely used," he said.
"It is widely used in South America and there are reports of it being used in Paris as well.
"The immediate effect is to make people unconscious but it can possibly lead to a fit and a coma, and it affects people's breathing, particularly if they have a history of respiratory problems," he added.
"What is worrying to me is it could well become the weapon of choice in the future.
"It is said to turn people into zombies, who not only become totally unaware of what is happening to them, but have no memory of it being used. It seems to lose its toxicity fairly rapidly so by the time they realise, a blood test may indicate its use but may not, and it appears to be incredibly simple to deploy, a powder blown into a face, or wiped on the skin."
Prof Glees said the use of the drug in Ireland and the UK has been limited, but said it's worrying that it seems to be becoming increasingly popular in European countries and available to buy online.
Last year, the Irish Independent revealed how a Wicklow man holidaying in Tenerife was sprayed with the drug and forced to empty his bank accounts. David Nelson described how the drug "turned me into a zombie".
He claimed a woman tried to seduce him and when he pushed her away, he was "sprayed in the face with a substance".
"I was later informed it was 'devil's breath'," he said.
"I remember very few things after being sprayed. My phone was taken, a gold watch, bracelet, €600 from my wallet and I was then taken to an ATM and the girl proceeded to take what money she could from my bank accounts until the cards were declined."
The substance has been blamed for thousands of crimes in South America and has now become a problem in European countries.
The Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the Spanish authorities have warned of the drug being used on tourists.