Jemma Mitchell: Woman found guilty of murdering and dumping friend’s headless body
“The motivation for Mitchell was money and she showed a significant degree of planning and calculation as she attempted to cover up her horrific actions.”
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Jemma Mitchell, 38, of Brondesbury Park, Brent, was convicted of the murder of 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong, also known as Deborah, at the Old Bailey today (Thursday, October 27).
DCI Jim Eastwood, from the Met Police, who led the investigation, said: “The motivation for Mitchell was money and she showed a significant degree of planning and calculation as she attempted to cover up her horrific actions.”
Mitchell and Deborah met through church and were on friendly terms, with Mitchell, who reportedly grew up in Australia and worked as an osteopath, acting as a “spiritual healer”.
She had been renovating her home in Willesden and desperately needed money to finish the job - with Deborah offering to give her £200,000 before changing her mind, prompting a row.
Deborah, who was of Malaysian heritage was last seen alive on June 10, 2021, by one of her lodgers.
On the morning of June 11, the Met Police said, Mitchell went to Deborah’s house in Wembley and most likely killed her.
She was spotted on CCTV with two large, apparently heavy suitcases - before stashing the body at her home for two weeks, making a fake missing persons report and sending a chilling message to her lodger, saying Deborah had gone to stay “close to the ocean”.
On June 26, Mitchell drove to Salcombe, Devon, where she dumped Deborah’s remains.
Her partially decomposed body was found the next day on an overgrown pathway off Bennett Road - with her head a few metres away.
A post-mortem examination confirmed Deborah had suffered a skull fracture and other injuries consistent with assault, while her head could not have been removed by an animal.
Osteopath Mitchell, who has human dissection experience, most likely removed it.
As reports of a body being found in Devon surfaced, Mitchell made another fake report to the missing persons charity, saying Deborah had contacted her and was with family by the sea.
After Deborah was identified, detectives quickly began to suspect Mitchell of involvement.
She was arrested on July 6, and charged with Deborah’s murder three days later.
Mitchell had also forged a copy of Deborah’s will ensuring 95% of the estate was left in her name, which police found at her home along with Deborah’s possessions and ID for a neighbour who had died in May 2021, which she used as a witness to the forged will.
DCI Jim Eastwood, from the Met Police, said: “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.”
He added: “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… we may never know.
“What is clear is Mitchell - seeing her chance to obtain the funds she desperately desired disappear - decided to attack and murder a vulnerable lady in a truly despicable crime.”
Mitchell will be sentenced at the Old Bailey tomorrow (Friday, October 28).