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Gay pharmacist who murdered wife jailed for 30 years

Sky News logo Sky News 05/12/2018
a person looking at the camera: Mitesh Patel, 37, wanted to start a new life with his boyfriend in Australia © PA Mitesh Patel, 37, wanted to start a new life with his boyfriend in Australia

A pharmacist who strangled his wife so he could start a new life with his boyfriend has been jailed for at least 30 years Mitesh Patel intended to move to Australia with a £2m life insurance payout.

The 37-year-old injected his wife Jessica with insulin before strangling her with a Tesco bag at their Middlesbrough home - an attack he had plotted for years. He then staged a break-in to make it look like she had been killed by an intruder.

Patel was found guilty on Tuesday at Teesside Crown Court. Jurors heard that the couple had been running a successful pharmacy together but their marriage had been unhappy. Patel had been seeking sex with men through the Grindr dating app and was planning to follow his boyfriend and "soulmate" to Australia.

The jury heard that Patel had searched "I need to kill my wife", "insulin overdose", "plot to kill my wife, do I need a co-conspirator?", "hiring hitman UK" and "how much methadone will kill you?" on the internet over several years.

After staging the break-in, Patel dialled 999 and said: "Oh hiya, I think we've been burgled and my wife's been attacked."

During the call, despite knowing she was long dead, Patel implored her: "No, Jess, come on baby, wake up." During cross-examination, Patel said he had not tried CPR because he lost his "bearings" and panicked.

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, replied: "And you weren't going to waste your time trying to revive the dead, were you?"

Jessica Patel's murder was staged to look like a break-in © Sky News Jessica Patel's murder was staged to look like a break-in

Police had also searched Patel's laptop bag after his wife's death and found syringes prepared with insulin.

One was empty. In what is thought to be a legal first, detectives also used the iPhone health app to view the movements of Patel and his wife and to expose his lies. Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, had earlier told the jury that Patel stood to profit from his wife's death to the tune of £2m.

He added: "He was planning to use that money to start a new life in Australia shared with the person he really loved... another man named Dr Amit Patel."

The two had messaged while the Patels were on holiday in the Canaries only days before the murder.

He had asked Dr Patel: "You know this plan, do you think we will succeed?"

Dr Patel replied: "Only you know the answer."

Ahead of Wednesday's sentencing, the victim's younger sister, Divya, made a statement in which she said Patel had "mercilessly ignored her attempts to fight for her own life as he ended it".

She also addressed her brother-in-law in the dock. She told him: "We do not just pray, we know, she will be free from you for ever. As will she rest in heaven, you will rot in hell."

She added: "Everything he has done has been purely for selfish reasons.

"He could've divorced her, taken everything he wanted - he did not need to take her life, he had no right to take this evil, cruel and malicious step."


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