Gay pharmacist who strangled wife to death jailed for life
A gay pharmacist who strangled his wife showed her no mercy as she fought for her life, her sister told a court.
Mitesh Patel, 37, injected Jessica Patel with insulin to subdue her then choked her with a Tesco bag at their Middlesbrough home in May.
He had plotted to kill her for years and wanted to start a new life in Australia with his boyfriend and a £2 million insurance payout, and was convicted of murder following a trial at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday.
Today he was jailed for life with a minimum of term of 30 years.
The victim’s younger sister Divya read a statement on behalf of the victim’s sisters and close cousins ahead of the judge passing sentence, saying: “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: “Only Mitesh himself can truly answer why he did this. Everything he has done has been purely for selfish reasons. 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.”
A statement from Mrs Patel’s grandmother Jai Shri Krishna was also read, including the observation: “I question myself, what mistake did she make that she received this big a punishment?
“He could have divorced her and with happiness we would have welcomed her back and kept her safe with our love.”
Her father Jayantilal Patel’s statement said he recalled seeing a film where a character’s son was murdered.
Mr Patel said: “I still remember him saying, there is nothing more heavy than carrying your own child’s coffin.
“It is very true, I have felt that weight.”
The couple, from West Yorkshire, owned and ran a successful pharmacy in Middlesbrough, but their marriage was unhappy.
He was regularly unfaithful with men he met on the Grindr dating app and he once told his secret lover Dr Amit Patel that he married Jessica because she was in love with him and it would be a good cover for his true sexuality.
Mrs Patel underwent three courses of IVF and the last cycle resulted in three embryos being created, but she was murdered before they could be implanted.
Patel denied murder, claiming an intruder must have been responsible for the killing, but his original alibi that he had gone for a walk the night he killed her was proved to be false, and the prosecution portrayed him as a serial liar and fantasist.
Mr Justice Goss has warned Patel he will be not be freed “for many years to come” and will pass sentence later on Wednesday.