An Indian-origin pharmacist was sentenced to life imprisonment by a UK court on Wednesday for murdering his wife to use a two-million pound life insurance payout to build a new life with his gay lover in Australia.
Mitesh Patel, 37, was told that he must serve a minimum term of 30 years behind bars before being considered for parole over the murder of Jessica Patel, who was found dead at the couple’s home in Middlesborough, northern England, in May.
He had denied killing his wife and claimed that she was a victim of a burglary at their home.
However, the prosecution proved that Patel staged a burglary scene after injecting his 34-year-old wife with insulin and then strangling her with a plastic supermarket shopping bag.
“You have no remorse for your actions. Any pity you have is for yourself,” said Justice James Goss, during a sentencing hearing at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday.
In a statement on behalf of Jessica’s family, her grieving younger sister Divya told the court: “The one thing we hope and prayed for above anything else was that in her final moments she did not suffer”.
“The cruel reality is that she did in fact suffer, she knew exactly who her killer was, and he mercilessly ignored her attempts to fight for her own life as he ended it.
“We can only imagine the fear and panic she must have felt knowing herself this was it. Thinking of that moment makes our hearts so heavy,” she said.
According to court reports, she then addressed her brother-in-law directly to say that her sister would finally be free of him ‘forever’.
“As will she rest in heaven, you will rot in hell,” she said, adding that he could have divorced her, taken everything he wanted but did not have to take her life.
“He had no right to take this evil, cruel and malicious step,” Divya said.
During the trial, it emerged that the accused had planned to claim a £2 million life insurance payout and move to Sydney with lover Dr Amit Patel, described as his “soulmate”.
The couple had plans to use Jessica’s frozen embryos to then have a baby. Prosecutors said Mitesh’s motivation for the murder was to escape his strict Hindu upbringing and flee the UK to be with his lover in Australia and start a new family.
The jury was told that his wife had been aware for six years that her husband was in love with another man and was having casual sex with men he met on the gay dating app Grindr.
The judge described Mitesh as a “selfish” man, whose lies were uncovered by police on examination of the iPhone health app, which tracks any user’s steps throughout the day, on his and his wife’s phones.
The jury heard the cheating husband had made internet searches dating back years, including “I need to kill my wife”, “insulin overdose”, “plot to kill my wife, do I need a co-conspirator?”, “hiring hitman UK” and “how much methadone will kill you?”.
In July 2015, he told his Sydney-based lover Amit: “Her days are marked.”
On Tuesday, a jury of six men and six women took three hours of deliberation to give their guilty verdict.
Jessica was found at her home on The Avenue in Linthorpe suburb of Middlesborough with “serious injuries” and pronounced dead at the scene on May 14.
The victim, also known as Jess, ran the local chemist’s shop on Roman Road in Middlesborough with her husband, whom she met while studying at university in Manchester.