A pharmacist has been found guilty of the premeditated murder of his wife so he could start a new life with his boyfriend in Australia. Mitesh Patel, 37, strangled his wife, Jessica, with a plastic bag after spending five years planning her murder so he could use her frozen embryos to have a family with…
A pharmacist has been found guilty of the premeditated murder of his wife so he could start a new life with his boyfriend in Australia.
Mitesh Patel, 37, strangled his wife, Jessica, with a plastic bag after spending five years planning her murder so he could use her frozen embryos to have a family with his lover in Sydney.
Jessica Patel, 34, had been aware for six years that her husband was in love with another man and having casual sex with men he met on the Grindr dating app.
A jury took two hours and 50 minutes to convict Mitesh Patel on Tuesday. Mr Justice Goss told the jury a life sentence was mandatory and he would determine the minimum term he must serve behind bars on Wednesday.
During the three-week trial, a jury heard how Patel subdued his wife with an insulin injection before strangling her at their home in Linthorpe in Middlesbrough. The pharmacist had carried out online research about strangulation and the effects of insulin.
Following the murder, Patel ransacked the couple’s home in an attempt to make it appear that Jessica had been murdered during a burglary. Patel was heard sobbing: “No! Jess! Come on baby, wake up” in the 999 call he made to report finding her dead on 14 May this year.
Patel’s deception was uncovered after police examined the iPhone Health App, which tracks the user’s steps throughout the day, on his and his wife’s phones.
In the minutes that followed Jessica’s death, Patel’s phone monitored frantic activity, racing around the house as he staged the burglary, running and up and down the stairs, while hers stayed still until after her death when it recorded a movement of 14 paces as her husband took it from her body and deposited outside to make it look as though the “burglar” had dropped it as he left.
Prosecutors said Patel’s motivation had always been to escape his strict Hindu upbringing and flee to Australia to be with his lover and start a new family. He also stood to inherit a £2m life insurance policy.
Patel had planned to take Jessica’s frozen embryos with him, which had been held in frozen storage in a fertility clinic in Darlington following four rounds of IVF. With access to the embryos, Patel had no more use for her, the prosecutor, Nicholas Campbell QC, told the court, and so he brought forward his plan to murder her.
Teesside crown court heard messages between Patel and his wife that showed she was resisting continuing with IVF because she knew he was having sex with other men, sometimes in their marital home.
During the course of the trial, Patel admitted: “I should have been honest with myself and I should not have married Jess. I cannot explain how I felt. It was the fear of being exposed as an Asian gay man, that was one thing and the other was that I was not going to let Jess down. I had married Jess and all her dreams were going to come to a crashing end.”
Jessica’s family described her as a “beautiful person both on the inside and out” and said they were devastated by her loss. In a statement, they said: “She had simple dreams. All she ever wanted was to fall in love, have a family of her own and live happily ever after.”