The woman who decapitated her friend out of greed and threw her body away in a suitcase – 10/28/2022

What would make a woman kill her friend, decapitate her, put her body in a suitcase, store it for two weeks and then dispose of it in a forest 200 miles away?

For Jemma Mitchell, 38, the answer was simple.

Greed.

“Mitchell is a ruthless killer. The motivation was money. The facts alone of this case are shocking,” said Chief Detective Jim Eastwood of the London Metropolitan Police in the UK.

This is the story of a friendship that began within the congregation of a Christian church and ended with one woman dead and the other sentenced to life in prison.

The case came to light when a summer afternoon in a seaside town in the United Kingdom took an unexpectedly macabre turn. A family of tourists came across a decapitated body.

Malaysian-born Mee Kuen Chong, also known as Deborah, had been missing for 16 days.

His decapitated body was found in a Salcombe forest in Devon, 200 miles from his home in northwest London.

Her head was found a few days later nearby.

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Chong, 67, suffered from mental health issues but maintained his strong Christian beliefs, as was told in court.

Image: CHONG FAMILY

A year later, a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, in London, revealed gruesome details.

Lawyer Deanna Heer KC described the charge to those present in courtroom 12.

She got straight to the point: “Jemma Mitchell attacked and killed the deceased and then transported her body to Salcombe in a large blue suitcase, where she tried to get rid of it.”

In the two weeks of hearing that followed, Mitchell listened behind the glass partition of the defendants’ precinct, and Chong’s family watched through a video link from Malaysia.

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Jemma Mitchell watched the entire trial

Image: JULIA QUENZLER

Heer KC told the jury that the prosecution was not required to prove a motive, “but in this case, the motive was clear — money.”

Mitchell is from an affluent background, attended private schools and his mother worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She owns a property in Australia, where she was born, and the family’s London home is in an area where properties rarely sell for less than £1 million.

Text messages from Chong show that she believed Mitchell’s house was worth £4 million.

This property, however, was in need of a renovation. The rooms were cluttered with stuff, and it was impossible to get into some of them, Heer KC told the jury.

“There were boxes and suitcases, freezers full of food, old mattresses and building materials everywhere. The kitchen was dirty, with food rotting on the stove and messy, with paper covering the surfaces,” he added.

“The bathroom had stains and was in a bad state of repair. The second floor of the property was undergoing renovation with the walls and ceiling unfinished.”

At trial, it was said that Chong had offered Mitchell 200,000 to help renovate his home, but withdrew the offer. Shortly after, she disappeared.

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Jemma Mitchell would have the knowledge to dismember bodies

Image: JONATHAN GOLDBERG

Both women considered themselves to be staunch Christians, and met through the church around August 2020.

Mitchell used an online dating platform called Christian Connection, and Chong was active online, posting evangelical messages.

It’s not known what attracted the one to the other, but Chong was a vulnerable woman with mental health issues; and Mitchell, who majored in osteopathy, offered his health and spiritual healing advice.

Chong was known for being generous, befriending the homeless and opening her doors to those in need.

Everything indicated that the two seemed to have a good relationship. Until Chong’s body was found, and detectives began analyzing CCTV footage.

After that, everything started to become clear.

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Chong’s decapitated body was found in a forest in Devon

Image: PA MEDIA

Detective Eastwood said there was “a significant amount of evidence” that pointed to Mitchell.

“Security circuit cameras tracked Mitchell going to and from the area where Deborah’s address was on the day she disappeared. There are also footage that shows Mitchell when she went to Devon and back,” the officer said.

“We were able to retrieve the blue wheeled suitcase that we maintain she used to transport Deborah’s body from Chaplin Road to her own address in Brondesbury Park, and from there to Devon.”

Mitchell also reactivated the phone number of a neighbor who had died and took it with her.

“We were able to prove that she left her cell phone at home while using her deceased neighbor’s phone on her way to and from Devon,” Eastwood said.

When officers searched Mitchell’s address, they found the motive for the crime.

“We found wills, which we were able to prove were fraudulently created and signed for the purpose of making a significant claim to Deborah’s estate,” Eastwood said.

“They were next to personal and financial documents that Mitchell took from Deborah’s address on June 11th.”

The prosecution told the jury that Mitchell “intended to use them for his own personal gain”.

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Mitchell was spotted in security camera footage on her trip to Devon

Image: PA MEDIA

Eastwood described the coldly calculated planning of the crime as “horrible”.

Much of the focus of the trial was on the blue suitcase Mitchell was seen dragging through the capital’s streets.

The prosecution said she had taken the suitcase to Chong’s home with the intention of killing her and placing her body inside.

The jury was told that when Mitchell left the Chong home, the suitcase felt “much heavier and more difficult to maneuver”.

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The blue suitcase Mitchell took to Chong’s apartment was used to transport his body, prosecutors say.

Image: PA MEDIA

Two weeks later, using an assumed name and having reactivated the dead neighbor’s phone number, she rented a car, packed her suitcase and drove to Devon.

This trip, the prosecution said, was made to dispose of Chong’s body.

“When you consider the calculated way Mitchell planned this murder, from reactivating a deceased neighbor’s cell phone before the murder so she could use it while transporting the victim’s remains to Devon, to taking the wheeled suitcase to the Deborah’s house knowing he would use her to take the body away from the address after killing her. It was a truly evil act,” Eastwood said.

Between Chong’s death and the trip to Salcombe, Mitchell showed even more clarity of mind by going on a date at the London Zoo with a person she had met online.

But calculation and planning only got Mitchell so far. Not even she could foresee a broken wheel or a flat tire.

The roadside mechanic sent to change the car’s wheel noticed that Mitchell was acting strangely. He also noticed a “weird smell” coming from the vehicle and found it strange that Mitchell insisted on putting the broken wheel in the back seat instead of the trunk.

Mitchell refused to testify during the trial. Since her arrest on July 6, 2021, she has remained silent about what happened.

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Chong was known for befriending people in need.

Image: CHONG FAMILY

The court was told that Mitchell graduated from King’s College London in the United Kingdom, earning a degree in Humanities, which included a course in experimental anatomy.

She had the knowledge to dismember a body. She had the skills to remove her head, though it is unclear why she did so.

She also worked as an osteopath in Australia for seven years before returning to the UK in 2015, where she lived with her mother and sister, with whom she had a troubled relationship.

Mitchell is the only person who knows exactly what happened on Chaplin Road, at Chong’s house, on that terrible day in June 2021.

“We can only speculate about what Mitchell did and what his larger plan was,” says Eastwood.

“It is almost certain that Mitchell decapitated Deborah during this period.”

“When the body was found, the state of decomposition was so advanced that Mitchell may have begun to fear that Deborah’s body would be discovered — whether that forced her to move the body and why she chose Salcombe, Devon, we may never know. .”

“However, what is clear is that Mitchell — seeing his chance to obtain the money he so longed for disappear — has decided to attack and kill a vulnerable lady for his own gain in a truly despicable crime.”

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison on Friday (October 28), with a minimum sentence of 34 years, for the murder of Chong, which she denies.

– This text was published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-63410508

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