Pharmacist jailed for at least 30 years over wife’s murder

A gay pharmacist who mercilessly strangled his wife so he could start a new life in Australia with his boyfriend and a £2 million life insurance payout will serve at least 30 years of a life sentence behind bars.

Greedy Mitesh Patel, 37, had plotted to kill his wife Jessica for years and throttled her with his hands after choking her with a bag and subduing her with insulin.

She fought for her life during the attack at the marital home in Middlesbrough before her husband staged a robbery, ransacking the property to make it look like an intruder had killed her.

Mr Justice Goss sentenced Patel to life and passed a minimum term of 30 years, saying: “You have no remorse for your actions.

Mitesh Patel
Mitesh Patel

“Any pity you have is for yourself.”

Patel made a series of fundamental errors in his plan to kill his wife, including a botched attempt to hide his house’s CCTV hard drive and leaving the duct tape he used to bind her body at their pharmacy.

The judge told Patel: “As the police investigation progressed, the full extent of your attitude and behaviour towards Jessica over the nine years of your marriage was revealed.

“She clearly loved you and was a dutiful wife.

“She wanted nothing more than to have children and live a normal family life.

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

Mrs Patel was to some extent aware of her husband’s sexuality, the judge said.

Jessica Patel's family
Jessica Patel's family

“She was lonely, often upset and controlled by you,” he told Patel.

“With hindsight, it is apparent this was for your own selfish reasons and not with any intention of making her happy.”

The judge told Patel he was “needy and callous” and used his wife while “indulging your own desires and whims”.

Patel, who was “business-driven” and wanted to retire at 40, committed murder “in the expectation of gain as a result of her death”, the judge said.

Addressing Mrs Patel’s family, he said: “I would like to end this case by expressing the condolences of the court on the very sad loss of someone who was very clearly a kind and decent person.”

He had earlier heard victim statements from Mrs Patel’s grandmother, father and siblings.

The scene of the crime
The scene of the crime

The victim’s younger sister Divya Patel said: “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.”

Jessica Patel
Jessica Patel

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, 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’s 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.

The judge praised Cleveland Police’s use of data from the defendant’s health app on his iPhone to show his movements around the murder scene.