Tees

Grindr cheat pharmacist jailed for wife's murder

Jessica Patel Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Jessica Patel was found dead in the living room of the couple's home

A pharmacist who murdered his wife with a Tesco carrier bag so he could start a new life with his boyfriend has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

Mitesh Patel, 37, strangled and suffocated Jessica, 34, and then staged a burglary at the couple's home in Middlesbrough on 14 May.

Jurors heard he had planned to claim a £2m life insurance payout and move to Australia with his lover Dr Amit Patel.

Patel was sentenced to life and told he would serve a minimum of 30 years.

Sentencing Patel, Mr Justice Goss told him: "You have no remorse for your actions. Any pity you have is for yourself."

He told the defendant that Mrs Patel "clearly loved you and was a dutiful wife" of nine years, adding: "She wanted nothing more than to have children and live a normal family life.

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Mitesh Patel (left) was planning to move to Australia to be with his boyfriend Dr Amit Patel

"The difficulty is that you had no sexual attraction to her; you were attracted to men."

He said Mrs Patel was to some extent aware of her husband's sexuality and was "lonely, often upset and controlled by you".

The judge said Patel's messages revealed him to be "needy and callous" and he used Mrs Patel "whilst indulging your own desires and whims".

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Media captionGrindr cheat Mitesh Patel calls 999 after wife murder

The two-week trial at Teesside Crown Court heard Patel, who ran a pharmacy on Roman Road with his 34-year-old wife, had a series of affairs with men he met via the dating app Grindr.

Patel, who claimed his wife was his "best mate", injected her with insulin before strangling and suffocating her with the bag at their home on The Avenue.

'Rot in hell'

He then bound her with duct tape and ransacked the house in an attempt to blame burglars for her death.

Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC said: "The prosecution case was that a plastic shopping bag, ironically a Tesco Bag For Life, was used both as a ligature and to suffocate her."

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Media captionMitesh Patel tried to hide this CCTV footage which showed him after he killed his wife

Reading a statement on behalf of Mrs Patel's sisters and cousins, her 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."

Ms Patel also addressed her brother-in-law in the dock, saying: "We do not just pray, we know, she will be free from you for ever. As will she rest in heaven, you will rot in hell."

She added: "He could've divorced her, taken everything he wanted - he did not need to take her life, he had no right to take this evil, cruel and malicious step."

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption The house was ransacked to make it look as if there had been a burglary

Patel told his boyfriend he married Mrs Patel because she was in love with him and would provide a cover for his true sexuality.

He wanted to move to Australia to be with Dr Patel and the pair had planned to raise a child conceived by Mrs Patel through IVF.

She had undergone three courses of IVF and the last cycle resulted in three embryos being created, but she was murdered before they could be implanted.

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