‘Wicked’ Gemma Mitchell sentenced to life on TV for killing and beheading friend

    'Wicked' Gemma Mitchell sentenced to life on TV for killing and beheading friend

    The self-proclaimed doctor became the first woman in England to be jailed for life on TV for the ‘deeply shocking’ murder of her friend, whose headless body was dumped in Devon.

    Gemma Mitchell has been told she will serve a minimum of 34 years in prison for murdering 67-year-old Mi Kuen Chong at her London home last June.

    Two weeks after the murder, she drove more than 200 miles to the seaside town Salcombe in Devon, where she left a pious Christian Ms Chong’s decapitated and badly decomposed body in the forest.

    Prosecutors alleged Mitchell, 38, hatched the plan to kill the vulnerable widow, known as Deborah, after befriending her through a church group.

    When Ms Chong refused to pay her £200,000 for repairs to her run-down £4million home, Mitchell killed her and forged a will to inherit the bulk of her estate – worth more than £700,000.

    The trained osteopath, who boasted online about his award-winning human dissection skills, denied any involvement in Ms Chong’s death but refused to give evidence at trial.

    Mitchell stood in the dock as she was found guilty of murder, while Ms Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the sentencing by video link on Thursday.

    Judge Richard Marks KC sentenced Mitchell at the Old Bailey on Friday.

    The judge said it was a particularly shocking murder of self-interest by an “extremely devious” man.

    He told Mitchell: “There is a horrific aspect to what you did to her body after you killed her.

    “You have shown absolutely no remorse and you appear to be in complete denial of what you did despite what I believe to be overwhelming evidence against you.

    “The enormity of your crime is deeply shocking, especially given your apparent religious devotion and the fact that Deborah Chong was a good friend to you and showed you great kindness.”

    Mitchell’s mother, Hilary Collard, blew kisses to her daughter as she was led from the dock.

    The victim’s sister Amy Chong, nieces Pinky and Inky and nephew Ryan watched the trial via video link from overseas.

    In a victim impact statement read to the court, Amy Chong said: “Deborah’s death has come as a shock to us all. It was hard to understand how this could happen to her, even though we are not close due to certain differences in views on religion.

    “It saddens me that she had to go through such a terrible ordeal and tragic death.”

    What we do know is that these were evil acts committed by an evil woman, and the only motive was clearly financial gain

    Department Ch Insp Jim Eastwood

    She had sleepless nights and the killing left a “huge, bottomless hole” in her life, her sister said.

    She said that “nobody in their right mind” would mutilate another person in the way that Mitchell did.

    Hearing in court about how Mitchell took advantage of her sister was more upsetting.

    She added: “I hope she gets what she deserves.

    “She’s a madwoman who steals people’s things after they die.

    “We still do not understand how she died. Was she suffering? This mystery will haunt me forever.”

    Richard Jory CS said, “It began as a true friendship between two women who shared a faith.”

    It is only the second time cameras have been allowed into an English criminal court to record a sentencing, and the first time a murder case has a female defendant.

    Speaking outside court, the accused’s mother Mrs Collard said she was “absolutely devastated” her daughter had been convicted with so little forensic evidence and vowed to appeal.

    She claimed that the suitcase did not contain a corpse, but was full of “crockery, cutlery and tea towels”.

    She added: “She suggested I go to Salcombe with her. If she had a dead body, she wouldn’t ask me to go with her, would she?’

    During the trial, jurors were shown CCTV footage of Mitchell arriving at Ms Chong’s home with a large blue suitcase on the morning of June 11 last year.

    More than four hours later, she left the property in Wembley, north-west London, with a suitcase that looked bulkier and heavier.

    She also had a smaller bag full of Ms Chong’s financial documents, which were later found at Mitchell’s home.

    After Ms Chong was reported missing, Mitchell claimed she went to stay with family friends “somewhere near the ocean” because she was feeling “depressed”.

    Mitchell actually beheaded Ms Chong and kept her remains in the garden of the home she shared with her retired mother in Willesden, north-west London, the prosecution alleged.

    On June 26 last year, she put the body in a suitcase in the boot of a hire car and drove to Devon.

    The next day, holidaymakers found Ms Chong’s decapitated body near a forest path near the picturesque town of Solcombe.

    After a police search of the area, Ms Chong’s head was found a few meters away from the body.

    A post-mortem examination revealed skull fractures that could have been caused by a blow to the head and broken ribs said to have been caused by the body being stuffed into a suitcase.

    A search of Mitchell’s home turned up a fake will and Ms Chong’s personal papers.

    The blue suitcase was stored on the roof of a neighbor’s barn.

    Although no forensic evidence was found in the suitcase, Ms Chong’s DNA was identified on a blood-stained tea towel in the pocket.

    Jurors heard Ms Chong suffered from schizophrenia and was referred for help after writing letters to the then Prince of Wales as well as then Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Born in Malaysia, Ms Chong came from a poor family and came to the UK to study at Huddersfield Polytechnic in the 1970s.

    Her mental health deteriorated after her husband’s death.

    Mitchell grew up in Australia, where her mother worked for the British Foreign Office and set up an osteopathy business there, before returning to the UK in 2015.

    On her website, she claimed to be “focused on the subjects of neuroanatomy, genetics, and human cadaveric dissection.”

    After her conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the investigation, said: “Mitchell never accepted responsibility for Deborah’s murder, so there are questions that remain unanswered.

    “Why did she keep her body for two weeks, why did she behead her, why did she keep her remains in Solcombe.

    “What we do know is that these were evil acts committed by an evil woman, and the only motive was clearly financial gain.”


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