Killer sentenced to life live on TV

A self-styled healer has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 34 years live on television after killing and beheading her friend in a ‘profoundly shocking’ crime.

Jemma Mitchell bludgeoned 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong over the head with a weapon at her London home in June last year in a rage over money.

Using skills she had learned during her medical studies, she then decapitated her 5ft 2in tall friend before putting her remains in a suitcase she hid on the top of a neighbour’s shed.

Two weeks later, she drove more than 200 miles to the seaside town of Salcombe in Devon where she left devout Christian Ms Chong’s decapitated and badly decomposed body in woods.

Today the killer – said to be in ‘complete denial’ over the crime – mouthed to her mother in the public gallery ‘Hi mummy’ as she entered Court Six of the Old Bailey.

Judge Richard Marks KC heard that Ms Chong had suffered a ‘horrifying ordeal and tragic death’.

Broadcasting live to the country, he told Mitchell: ‘I have no doubt whatsoever that this was a undergone for gain. There is the chilling aspect to what you did to and with her body after you killed her.

Jemma Mitchell who is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey of the murder of Mee Kuen Chong this morning live on television
Mee Kuen Chong was hit over the head with a weapon at her London home in June last year when Mitchell flew into a rage
Screen grab taken from CCTV issued by Metropolitan Police of Jemma Mitchell dragging a blue suitcase outside Ms Chong’s Wembley home

‘You have shown no remorse and appear to be in complete denial at what you did.

‘The enormity of your crime is profoundly shocking.

‘The sentence of the court is life imprisonment and the minimum will be 34 years.

‘As you well knew she (Ms Chong) was particularly vulnerable.

‘She was very well aware of your problems in regards to the help and was proactive in trying to help you.’

Ms Chong’s sister Amy Chong provided a victim impact statement and joined the hearing by video link from Malaysia along with the victim’s nieces Pinky and Yinky and nephew Ryan.

She said in her statement said: ‘Deborah’s death was a shock to us all. It was difficult to comprehend how it could have happened to her, although we are not close due to certain differences of opinion with regard to religion.

‘It saddens me she had to go through such a horrifying ordeal and tragic death.’

The victim’s sister added she had suffered sleepless nights and the murder left a ‘huge bottomless hole’ in her life.

She said that ‘no-one in their right mind’ would mutilate another person in the way Mitchell had.

Hearing in the trial how Mitchell had taken advantage of her sister and put her down as mentally ill had caused more upset.

She added: ‘She is the crazy one who steals people’s belongings after they died.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood speaking to media outside the Old Bailey yesterday

‘We still do not understand how she died. Did she suffer? This mystery will haunt me forever.’

The prosecution claimed 38-year-old Mitchell had planned to murder the vulnerable divorcee and fake her will to inherit the bulk of her estate – worth more than £700,000.

She came up with the plan after Ms Chong, who was known as Deborah, backed out of giving her £200,000 to pay for repairs to Mitchell’s £4 million dilapidated family home, jurors were told.

The trained osteopath, who boasted online of her award-winning skill in human dissection, had denied having anything to do with Ms Chong’s death – but declined to give evidence at her trial.

Yesterday Mitchell stood impassively in the dock as she was found guilty of murder while Ms Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the verdict via a video link.

Today was only the second time cameras have been allowed into an English criminal crown court to record a sentencing, and the first in which the defendant is a woman.

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

More than four hours later, she emerged from the property in Wembley, north-west London, with the suitcase appearing bulkier and heavier.

She came up with the plan after Ms Chong, who was known as Deborah, backed out of giving her £200,000 to pay for repairs to Mitchell’s £4 million dilapidated family home, jurors were told.

The trained osteopath, who boasted online of her award-winning skill in human dissection, had denied having anything to do with Ms Chong’s death – but declined to give evidence at her trial.

Yesterday Mitchell stood impassively in the dock as she was found guilty of murder while Ms Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the verdict via a video link.

Today was only the second time cameras have been allowed into an English criminal crown court to record a sentencing, and the first in which the defendant is a woman.

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

More than four hours later, she emerged from the property in Wembley, north-west London, with the suitcase appearing bulkier and heavier.

She also had with her a smaller bag full of Ms Chong’s financial documents, which were later recovered from Mitchell’s home.

After the was reported missing, Mitchell claimed she had gone to visit family friends ‘somewhere close to the ocean’ as she was feeling ‘depressed’.In reality, Mitchell had decapitated Ms Chong and stored her remains in the garden of the house she shared with her retired mother in Willesden, north-west London, the prosecution suggested.

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

Ms Chong’s headless body was found by holidaymakers beside a woodland footpath near the picturesque town of Salcombe the next day.

Following a police search of the area, Ms Chong’s skull was recovered a few metres away from the body.

A post-mortem examination found skull fractures which could have been from a blow to the head and broken ribs.

Experts said they may have been caused by the body being stuffed into the suitcase.

A search of Mitchell’s home uncovered Ms Chong’s fake will and personal papers.

The blue suitcase had been stored on the roof of a neighbour’s shed.

Although no forensic evidence was recovered from the suitcase, Ms Chong’s DNA was identified on a bloodstained tea towel in a pocket.

Jurors heard that Ms Chong had suffered from schizophrenia and was referred for help after writing letters to the then-Prince of Wales and prime minister Boris Johnson.

She met Mitchell through a church group and initially agreed to help her, but days before the murder backed out of bankrolling Mitchell’s building work urging her to sell up instead.

Mitchell had grown up in Australia, where her mother worked for the British Foreign Office.

IT was there she set up an osteopathy business there before returning to the UK in 2015.

On her website, she had claimed she was ‘attuned to subjects in neuroanatomy, genetics and dissection of human cadavers’.

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

He said: ‘The motivation for Jemma Mitchell’s actions was money and she showed a significant degree of planning and calculation as she attempted to cover up her horrific actions.

‘The cold facts of this case are shocking.

‘Deborah Chong was a vulnerable lady– in the weeks before her murder, she was seeking help for her declining mental health.

‘However, Mitchell – so desperate to obtain the money she needed to complete the renovations on her house – sought to take advantage of Deborah’s good will, but when Deborah changed her mind, she callously murdered her and embarked upon an attempt to fraudulently obtain her estate.

‘Over the course of two weeks following Deborah’s murder we can only speculate as to what Mitchell did with the body and what her wider plan was.

‘The decomposition when the body was found was at such an advanced state that Mitchell may have begun to fear Deborah’s body would be discovered – whether this forced her into moving the body and why she chose Salcombe in Devon, we may never know.

‘However, what is clear is that Mitchell – seeing her chance to obtain the funds she so desperately desired disappear – decided to attack and murder a vulnerable lady for her own gain in a truly despicable crime.’

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