An Australian-born osteopath and self-proclaimed ‘spiritual healer’ has been found guilty of murdering and beheading her boyfriend after refusing to help her pay for the renovation of her home
Jemma Mitchell, 38, hit 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong in the head with a gun at her London home in June last year, it was alleged.
Two weeks later, she drove more than 200 miles to the seaside town of Salcombe in Devon, where she left the decapitated and badly mutilated body of the devout Christian in the woods.
The prosecution alleged that Mitchell, who met Ms. Chong through a church group and acted as a spiritual healer for her, had planned to murder the vulnerable divorcee and forge her will to inherit most of her estate – worth over $1.25 million.
She came up with the plan after Ms. Chong, known as Deborah, withdrew to give her $360,000 to pay for repairs to Mitchell’s $7 million dilapidated family home, jurors were told.
The trained osteopath, who once had a practice in Melbourne but returned to the UK in 2015, had denied having anything to do with Ms Chong’s death but refused to testify at her trial.
Jemma Mitchell who will be sentenced at the Old Bailey for the murder of Mee Kuen Chong
Mee Kuen Chong was hit in the head with a gun in her London home last June
CCTV footage of Mitchell being arrested at her home by police released after the verdict
Screen shot taken from CCTV issued by Metropolitan Police of Jemma Mitchell dragging a blue suitcase to Mrs Chong’s house in Wembley
Mitchell stood unmoved in the dock when she was found guilty of murder, while Ms Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the verdict via video link.
In the coming hours, Judge Richard Marks KC will deliver his sentence on live TV at the Old Bailey in London.
It is only the second time cameras have been allowed in an English criminal court to record a conviction, and the first time the accused has been a woman.
During the trial, judges viewed CCTV footage of Mitchell, who once boasted online of her award-winning skills in dissecting people, when she returned to Ms Chong’s home on the morning of June 11 last year with a large blue suitcase.
Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood spoke to the media outside the Old Bailey yesterday
The spot in the woods where the body was dumped in Salcombe, Devon, and found by the police
Ms. Chong went missing on June 11 last year and her body was found hundreds of miles away 16 days later
Grandfather killer was the first conviction on TV
History was made in July when, for the first time in English legal history, the public saw a verdict delivered on live TV by a Crown Court judge.
Judge Sarah Munro QC sentenced Ben Oliver to life with a minimum sentence of 10 years and eight months for killing his grandfather David, 74, after the 25-year-old, himself a convicted pedophile, discovered his relative had been accused of sexually abusing girls.
The conviction in Court Number Two – one of Old Bailey’s oldest courtrooms – was broadcast online and on news channels including Sky News, the BBC and ITN. There was a 10-second delay in the stream – allowing for the removal of legally problematic content in the future.
Only the judge was filmed during sentencing to protect the privacy of victims, witnesses and jurors.
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon, praised the move as a ‘very positive’ step in promoting open justice.
Others, however, questioned whether it went far enough and called for entire processes to be broadcast.
The judiciary has strongly opposed filming entire trials for fear that it would lead to witnesses refusing to attend and turning legal proceedings into soap operas, such as the recent lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
Court proceedings have long been aired in some US states, with the trial of OJ Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman, watched by a peak audience of 100 million TV viewers when it was called ‘not guilty’- verdict was announced.
The move to allow cameras in English courts follows a law change in 2020, but implementation was delayed amid the pandemic. The Justice Department announced that Oliver’s sentencing would be the first to be broadcast after Judge Munro agreed to a request from TV channels for access.
More than four hours later, she emerged from the premises in Wembley, northwest London, and the suitcase appeared larger and heavier.
She also carried a smaller bag full of Ms. Chong’s financial documents, which were later found at Mitchell’s home.
After the missing person was reported, Mitchell claimed she went to visit family friends “somewhere near the ocean” because she was feeling “depressed.”
In reality, Mitchell had beheaded Mrs Chong and stored her remains in the garden of the house she shared with her retired mother in Willesden, north-west London, the prosecutor suggested.
On June 26 last year, she put the body in the trunk in the boot of a rental car and drove to Devon.
Ms Chong’s headless body was found the next day by holidaymakers next to a woodland path near the picturesque town of Salcombe.
After a police search of the area, the skull of Mrs. Chong found several meters away from the body.
A postmortem examination found skull fractures, possibly caused by a blow to the head and broken ribs.
Experts said they may have been caused by the body being put in the suitcase.
A search of Mitchell’s home uncovered Mrs. Chong’s false will and personal papers.
The blue suitcase had been on the roof of the neighbor’s shed.
Although no forensic evidence was found from the suitcase, Ms Chong’s DNA was identified on a bloodstained tea towel in a bag.
Jurors learned that Ms Chong was suffering from schizophrenia and was referred for help after writing letters to 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 stopped funding Mitchell’s construction work, she urged her to sell instead.
On her website, Mitchell claimed that she was “attuned to topics in neuroanatomy, genetics and dissection of human cadavers.”
After her conviction, Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the investigation, said: “Mitchell never accepted responsibility for Deborah’s murder, so there are questions that remain unanswered.
He said: ‘The motivation for Jemma Mitchell’s actions was money and she showed a considerable degree of planning and calculation as she tried to cover up her horrific actions. The cold facts of this case are shocking.
The briefcase used to transport Mrs Chong’s headless body to Devon, where she was found
“Deborah Chong was a vulnerable lady. In the weeks before her murder, she sought help for her declining mental health.
But Mitchell – so desperate for the money she needed to complete the renovation of her house – tried to take advantage of Deborah’s goodwill, but when Deborah changed her mind, she heartlessly killed her and made an attempt to to obtain her fraudulently. estate.
“Over the course of two weeks after Deborah’s murder, we can only speculate about what Mitchell did with the body and what her broader plan was.
“The decomposition when the body was found was at such an advanced stage that Mitchell may have begun to fear that Deborah’s body would be discovered – whether this forced her to move the body and why she chose Salcombe in Devon, we may never know.” know.
What is clear, however, is that Mitchell—when she saw her chance of getting the funds she so desperately wished to get disappeared—decided to attack and kill a vulnerable lady for her own gain in a truly despicable crime.’