A "vulnerable" bulimic woman suffered the "most distressing" death after taking a toxic slimming aid she bought online, a court heard.

Eloise Parry, 21, from Shrewsbury, had taken eight of the diet pills containing the poisonous Dinitrophenol (DNP) before she died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire on April 12, 2015.

Prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC told Inner London Crown Court that taking the chemical has been described as "playing Russian roulette" as "you might survive, you might not".

Albert Huynh, Bernard Rebelo and Mary Roberts are being prosecuted for manslaughter by Harrow Borough Council over her death.

They are also charged with supplying an "unsafe" food supplement containing DNP on the market between February 24, 2014, and February 24, 2016.

Whitchurch Herald:

Albert Huynh arrives at Inner London Crown Court in Newington Causeway where he is on trial alongside Bernard Rebelo and Mary Roberts, who are accused of providing fatal DNP diet aid to student Eloise Parry. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Roberts denies a further charge of money laundering by allegedly transferring £20,000 for and on behalf of Rebelo.

Mr Barraclough said : "On April 12, 2015, a vulnerable and young woman aged 21 years suffered a most distressing death, having bought from the defendants - on the internet - and consumed a highly toxic chemical called Dinitrophenol (DNP).

"Eloise Parry had an eating disorder and had been diagnosed as bulimic."

Jurors were told that Ms Parry, of Shrewsbury, started taking the chemical in pill form in February 2015, and soon became addicted and dependent on the yellow powder in the capsules.

The court heard the defendants bought the chemicals in drums from China, and knowing that it was not suitable for human consumption, took efforts to "deceive" the authorities.

Operating from a flat in Harrow, north west London, they made the capsules which they sold online for considerable profits, and persisted despite their website being closed down, it is alleged.

Mr Barraclough added: "They (the defendants) knew that DNP was dangerous, not only because two of them had consumed DNP themselves.

"But also because it was well known in the area in which they were operating that any number of authorities and organisations had warned against the dangers of consuming this chemical."

It is alleged the defendants "cynically thwarted" authorities such as the Food Standards Agency and Interpol which tried to close down their operations.

Describing DNP, and its effects, Mr Barraclough said it was a "highly toxic substance when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin".

He added that it causes weight loss by burning fat and carbohydrates, in turn causing energy to be converted into heat.

"The result is that that person's temperature and metabolic rate all dangerously increase," Mr Barraclough explained.

Jurors heard that among other things, DNP could cause multiple organ failure, hyperthermia, nausea, coma, muscle rigidity, cardiac arrest and death.

"Essentially, this is what happened to Eloise Parry", said Mr Barraclough.

The court heard that depending on body weight, just 200mg of DNP can be lethal, and that Ms Parry had taken eight capsules before she died.

Huynh, 33, from Northolt, North-West London, Rebelo, 30, and Roberts, 32, both from Gosport, deny two counts each of manslaughter, one count each of supplying an unsafe food, and Roberts faces a single count of money laundering.