The jury in the trial of a pharmacist accused of strangling his wife so he could cash in a £2 million life insurance policy has heard his tearful 999 call in which he said “come on baby, wake up”.
The prosecution say Mitesh Patel, 37, murdered his 34-year-old wife Jessica so he could start a new life in Australia with the man he really loved, and that he had been unfaithful to her with many men during their marriage.
The Hindu couple, originally from West Yorkshire, ran a pharmacy in Middlesbrough and lived in a Victorian property in The Avenue, Linthorpe.
Patel denies murdering his wife on May 14 and is on trial at Teesside Crown Court.
The prosecution alleges he strangled her with a Tesco “bag for life” and staged the scene to make it look like an intruder did it.
The jury was played the 999 call in which he said: “Oh hiya, I think we’ve been burgled and my wife’s been attacked.”
He said he had been out, explaining: “I’ve just come home and the house is ransacked and she’s just on the floor and she’s got duct tape all over her, and she’s like unconscious. I’m trying, shall I take the duct tape off her?”
The operator asked: “Can she breathe?”
Patel replied: “No because she’s like unconscious.”
When the operator asked if he could feel a pulse, Patel replied: “No I can’t feel anything, her hands are really cold.”
Patel told the operator her hands and feet had been tied and he could see marks on her neck and blood coming from her nose.
Asked if she was responsive, he replied: “No, Jess, come on baby, wake up.”
As the caller wept, the 999 operator reassured him help was on its way and shortly after the police arrived.
Earlier, jurors saw forensic scientist Nicola Taylor demonstrate on a mannequin how Mrs Patel could have been strangled with the strong plastic bag.
The expert could not be sure how it was used but she showed the court two ways the victim could have been killed, either by someone behind her, or if she was on the ground, with the bag pulled tight around her neck.
Blood and saliva samples were found inside the bag and tests showed what the forensic scientist said were damaged sections of the bag which may have been caused by Mrs Patel trying to pull the reinforced plastic from her head.
The trial continues.