We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

UK Courts

‘Evil’ London therapist found guilty of killing her friend and dumping her headless body

Alternative therapist Jemma Mitchell hit 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong over the head with a weapon at her London home in June last year.

AN “EVIL WOMAN” is facing life behind bars in the UK for killing her friend and dumping her headless body more than 200 miles away in order to inherit her estate.

Alternative therapist and self-styled healer Jemma Mitchell hit 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong over the head with a weapon at her London home in June last year, it was alleged.

Two weeks later, she drove to the seaside town of Salcombe in Devon where she left devout Christian Chong’s decapitated and badly decomposed body in woods.

The prosecution claimed 38-year-old Mitchell had planned to murder the vulnerable divorcee and fake her will to inherit the bulk of her estate worth more than £700,000.

She came up with the plan after Chong, who was known as Deborah, backed out of giving her £200,000 to pay for repairs to Mitchell’s £4 million dilapidated family home, jurors were told.

The trained osteopath, who boasted online of her award-winning skill in human dissection, had denied having anything to do with Chong’s death but declined to give evidence at her trial.

It was claimed on her behalf that the prosecution had failed to prove that she was involved or that Chong was even murdered as the cause of death was “unascertained”.

However, a pathologist said her skull fractures could have been caused by being pushed on to a protruding surface or being hit with a weapon.

And multiple rib fractures could have been caused by Chong being stuffed inside a suitcase Mitchell was seen wheeling away, jurors were told.

Today, Mitchell stood impassively in the dock and briefly closed her eyes as a jury at the Old Bailey found her guilty of murder after deliberating for seven hours.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the investigation, described it as a “truly despicable crime”.

Speaking outside court, he said: “Mitchell has never accepted responsibility for Deborah’s murder so there are questions which remain unanswered.

“Why she kept her body for a fortnight, why she decapitated her, why she deposited her remains in Salcombe.

“What we do know is that these were evil acts carried out by an evil woman and the only motive clearly was one of financial gain.”

During the trial, jurors viewed CCTV footage of Mitchell arriving at Chong’s home carrying a large blue suitcase, allegedly containing her murder kit, on the morning of 11 June last year.

More than four hours later, she emerged from the property in Wembley, north-west London, with the suitcase appearing bulkier and heavier.

She also had with her a smaller bag full of Chong’s financial documents, which were later recovered from Mitchell’s home.

After the victim’s lodger reported her missing, Mitchell claimed she had gone to visit family friends “somewhere close to the ocean” as she was feeling “depressed”.

In reality, Mitchell had decapitated Chong and stored her remains in the garden of the house she shared with her retired mother in Willesden, north-west London, the prosecution suggested.

On 26 June last year, she stowed the body inside the suitcase in the boot of a hire car and drove to Devon.

En route to Salcombe, the Volvo blew a tyre and Mitchell was forced to drive into a service station and call for assistance.

The repairman called to change the wheel described Mitchell’s “confused” demeanour and an “odd musty smell” inside the vehicle.

Jurors heard that none of the people who came to her aid saw the large blue suitcase in the boot, suggesting she had stashed it somewhere nearby, according to the prosecution.

Chong’s headless body was found by holidaymakers beside a woodland footpath near Salcombe the next day.

The victim, who was 5ft 2in and slim, appeared to have been redressed in clothes meant for a larger woman, jurors heard.

Following a police search of the area, Chong’s skull was recovered a few metres away from the body.

A search of Mitchell’s home uncovered Chong’s fake will and personal papers.

The blue suitcase had been stored on the roof of a neighbour’s shed.

Although no forensic evidence was recovered from the suitcase, Chong’s DNA was identified on a bloodstained tea towel in a pocket.

Jurors heard that Chong had suffered from schizophrenia and was referred for help after writing letters to the 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 backed out of bankrolling Mitchell’s building work urging her to sell up instead.

Mitchell had grown up in Australia, where her mother worked for the British Foreign Office and had set up an osteopathy business there before returning to the UK in 2015.

On her website, she had claimed she was “attuned to subjects in neuroanatomy, genetics and dissection of human cadavers”.

In 2016, Mitchell received a conditional discharge at North West London Magistrates’ Court for breaching a non-molestation order in respect of her sister and brother-in-law.

Mitchell was remanded into custody to be sentenced tomorrow.

Press Association