Woman Sentenced to Life for Murdering and Decapitating Friend
October 29, 2022
OLD BAILEY, United Kingdom—Jemma Mitchell, 38, became the first woman in England to be handed a life sentence on television after being found guilty of murdering her friend and dumping her decapitated body.
Described as “extremely devious,” the 38-year-old will serve at least 34 years in prison for murdering 67-year-old Mee “Deborah” Kuen Chong at her London home in June 2021.
On Friday, October 28, Judge Richard Marks KC was broadcast handing down his sentence to Mitchell at the Old Bailey, only the second time cameras were allowed into the criminal court to record sentencing, according to The Guardian.
“I am driven to the conclusion that you are extremely devious,” he said. “There is the chilling aspect of what you did to and with her body after you killed her.”
Two weeks after Chong’s murder, Mitchell drove more than 200 miles to the seaside town of Salcombe in Devon, where she left the 67-year-old’s decapitated and badly decomposed body in the woods.
According to prosecutors, Mitchell befriended her victim, a widow and devout Christian, through a church group.
When Chong backed out of giving Mitchell £200,000 to pay for repairs to her rundown £4m home, Mitchell killed her and forged a will to inherit the bulk of Chong’s estate, which was worth more than £700,000.
The judge told Mitchell: “You have shown absolutely no remorse and it appears you are in complete denial as to what you did, notwithstanding what in my judgment amounted to overwhelming evidence against you.
“The enormity of your crime is profoundly shocking, even more so given your apparent religious devotion and the fact Deborah Chong was a good friend to you and had shown you great kindness.”
Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the verdict via video on Friday.
Mitchell described herself as a trained osteopath and claimed to have award-winning skills in human dissection. She denied having anything to do with Chong’s death.
Jurors were shown CCTV footage of Mitchell arriving at Chong’s home in Wembley, carrying a large blue suitcase on the morning of June 11, 2021.
More than four hours later, Mitchell emerged from the property with the suitcase appearing bulkier and heavier. She also carried a smaller bag full of Chong’s financial documents, which was later discovered at her home by authorities.
Mitchell decapitated Chong and stored her body in the garden of the house she shared with her retired mother in Willesden, northwest London. On June 26, 2021, she drove to Devon with Chong’s body in the trunk of the car.
Chong’s body was discovered by tourists beside a woodland footpath near Salcombe the next day. Police later found Chong’s head a few feet from the body.