Jemma Mitchell: Killer sentenced to life in prison for murder of Mee Kuen Chong
Jemma Mitchell, 38, of Brondesbury Park, Brent, was sentenced for at least 34 years in prison for the murder of 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong, also known as Deborah.
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A north London woman who was found guilty of murdering and decapitating a friend before dumping her headless body in Devon has been sentenced to life in prison.
Jemma Mitchell, 38, will serve a minimum of 34 years for killing Malaysian pensioner Mee Kuen Chong, 67, at her home in the capital in June 2021.
The self-styled healer has become the first woman in England to be handed a life sentence live on television.
Speaking during the sentencing at the Old Bailey today (Friday, October 28), Judge Richard Marks KC said: “As part of your degree you were taught anatomy and you included on your website which advertised your services as an osteopath the fact you had experience in the dissection of human bodies.
“That no doubt stood you in good stead when you cut off Deborah’s head although why you chose to do that remains a mystery.”
He continued: “I am driven to the conclusion that you are extremely devious.”
The judge said Mitchell’s crime was aggravated by the “planning and premeditation” as well as the fact it was done for gain; Ms Chong’s “mental and physical vulnerability”; and the “chilling aspect of what you did to and with her body after you had killed her”.
He said: “You have shown absolutely no remorse and it appears that you are in complete denial as to what you did, notwithstanding what in my judgement amounts to overwhelming evidence against you.
“The enormity of your crime is profoundly shocking, even more so given your apparent religious devotion as well as the fact that Deborah Chong was a great friend to you and had shown you great kindness.”
According to the BBC, a victim statement from Ms Chong’s sister Amy Chong was read to the court. She said: “Deborah’s death was a shock to us all. I find it difficult to comprehend.
It saddened me to think she had to go through this horrifying ordeal and tragic death.
“The trial process has damaged our bond as a family. I cannot start to imagine how they will bring Deborah back to Malaysia for a funeral.
“Normally Deborah would be in a glass topped coffin as in Malaysian custom - but this can’t happen. We won’t have our last look and touch for one last time.
“This has been taken away from us by Jemma. For the rest of my life I will always wonder how she died, did she suffer, this mystery will haunt me forever.”
The judge said the 475 days Mitchell had spent in custody on remand would be deducted from her sentence.
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.”