Pharmacist 'suffocated' wife to run off with gay lover, court hears

Mitesh Patel pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and business partner Jessica


Words: Steve Brown

A pharmacist 'suffocated' his wife with a Tesco Bag for Life to run off with his gay lover, a court has heard.

Mitesh Patel – who pleaded not guilty of murdering his wife and business partner Jessica – was allegedly stood to profit from around £2m from the death and he reportedly planned to start a new life in Australia with his lover he met on Grindr.

During the trial, Mitesh claimed he came in from a walk in the Linthorpe area of Middlesbrough and found the house had been burgled and his wife was dead.

Her wrists had been bound with duct tape, but prosecution claimed that her husband had done it after he killed her.

The barrister said: “Jessica Patel had been killed as a result of pressure being brought to bear on her neck.

“She was strangled. 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.”

Jurors were told that after killing her, Mitesh staged a break-in by ransacking the house but he left religious artefacts in their prayer room – items he reportedly included on a list to take with him when he emigrated to Australia.

He was noticed to be behaving strangely after leaving the house after the alleged murder and when he returned him, he tried to hide the hard drive of the CCTV system in a suitcase of clothes and four minutes later he dialled 999.

Jessica had been dead for an hour at this point, prosecutor Nicholas Campbell told jurors.

Mr Campbell went on to tell jurors that while his wife was going through a cycle of IVF, Mitesh was researching how to strangle someone, the effects of strangulation and how long it took for a person to die.

Mitesh also reportedly looked into hiring a hitman on the ‘dark web’ and days before Jessica’s death, he looked for sex online while on holiday in Fuerteventura.

The court previously heard that the 37-year-old pharmacist had been unfaithful to his wife throughout their marriage and met with other men for sex on the internet.

Jurors were told that they would be excused from sitting on the trial if they had used Grindr in the last seven years.

The court heard that Mitesh stood to profit from £2m from Jessica’s death and he had alleged planned to start a new life in Australia.

Campbell said: "‘He was planning to use the money to start a new life in Australia and that life would be shared with the person who he really loved, one who he regarded as his soul mate, another man, a doctor by the name Amit Patel."

A text conversation between the two men in 2012, the year they met, was seen by Jessica but it did not cause the breakdown of their marriage. 

His wife also found graphic sexual pictures of men on his phone, but Patel claimed it was just ‘banter’.

Patel moved to Australia, but the two men continued contact and discussed bringing up a child conceived by Mitesh's wife.

Mitesh has denied the charge of murdering his wife.