‘He held my dad’s hand with the hands that strangled his daughter’: Sister of murdered pharmacist Jessica Patel tells of husband’s crocodile tears – after he killed wife in bid to begin new life with male lover in Australia
- Jessica Patel, 34, strangled by her husband Mitesh at their home in May 2018
- Sister, Minal, has told how she comforted Mitesh not knowing he was murderer
- Later found out that he had murdered her in a plot to run off with his gay lover
The sister of a pharmacist who was murdered by her husband so he could start a new life with his boyfriend in Australia today revealed his crocodile tears as the family comforted him after her death.
Jessica Patel, 34, was strangled by her husband Mitesh at their home in May 2018 in a premeditated attack – with the 37-year-old planning to use her frozen embryos to have a family with a lover he met on gay dating app Grindr.
Her sister, Minal, comforted Mitesh after Jessica’s death when she still thought the tragedy had been the result of a burglary gone wrong.
‘I sat down on the sofa next to him and went to hug him and he immediately buried his head in my shoulder,’ she told The Mirror.
‘He held my dad’s hand with the hands that strangled and murdered his own daughter. How could someone do that?’
Jessica Patel, 34, (left) was strangled by her husband Mitesh at their home in May 2018 in a premeditated attack. He is seen (right) in the pharmacy where they both worked
Jessica’s sister, Minal (right) is seen alongside her family when they gave a statement outside Teeside Crown Court
Minal was found covered in duct tape, and Mitesh ransacked the house to make it look like a burglary.
But his lies were undone when investigators examined his movements using the iPhone Health App, which both he and his wife used, in a legal first for the UK.
The app tracks a person’s steps throughout the day and it disproved Mitesh’s lie that Jessica was murdered by an intruder.
In the minutes that followed her death Mitesh’s phone monitored frantic activity, racing around the house as he staged the burglary, running and up and down the stairs, while hers stayed still.
Only after Jessica’s death, her phone moved exactly 14 paces as her husband took it from her body and deposited outside to make it look as though the ‘burglar’ had dropped it as he left.
The couple married in 2009 but it soon became clear ‘something wasn’t quite right, Jessica’s sister Minal said today.
‘Jessica was voicing concerns that Mitesh was spending a lot of time on his phone and he would walk out of the room if she came in while he was on it,’ she said.
‘She knew it wasn’t right but he took his phone everywhere with him – even into the toilet – and she didn’t know his passcode to check who he was talking to.’
Minal was found covered in duct tape, and Mitesh ransacked the house to make it look like a burglary. The couple are pictured on a holiday together
Jessica suffered in silence, aware that her husband was in love with another man and was also having casual sex with strangers he met on the Grindr dating app.
Timeline of his evil plot
2002/3 – Jessica attends university at De Montfort Leicester and has a short relationship with Patel
July 2009 – The couple marry
February 2010 – Jessica’s grandfather is very ill and dies – Patel refuses to let her return home and stay with her family. Jessica discloses she was hit by Patel in a car
July 2010 – Jessica graduates from Manchester University
2010/11 – Jessica works at a pharmacy in Bradford and disclosures to a colleague she suspects he is gay
The couple’s home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough
2012 – Jessica tells her cousin of relationship problems while on holiday and of Patel spending a long time speaking to another man on the phone
December 2012 – Jessica’s sister finds an intimate text conversation between Patel and his lover
2013/14 – The couple move to Middlesbrough, Jessica is isolated from her family
April 2015 – Jessica and Patel purchase the lease on a pharmacy. He lies about Jessica being pregnant with twins
October 2015 – Jessica starts IVF treatment
April 2016 – Jessica tells her GP she feels under pressure to conceive and is sent for cognitive therapy
September 2016 – Jessica is prescribed medication for anxiety and depression by her GP
2017 – Pharmacy colleagues review CCTV and see Patel kissing and groping another male, they also uncover he is taking medication to lower his sperm count
February 2018 – Jessica’s sister tells of conversation where Jessica tells of how Patel put his hands around her neck
March 2018 – Jessica’s IVF is successful and three embryos are frozen
May 14, 2018 – Jessica is found after being suffocated by Patel.
She also went through years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband, who had moved her to Middlesbrough from Halifax in an attempt to isolate her from her family.
In 2015 the couple started trying for a baby through fertility treatment.
Jessica went through three unsuccessful rounds of IVF while her husband developed his plot to flee with his lover, Dr Amit Patel.
The fourth IVF cycle had resulted in Jessica’s embryos being harvested and held in frozen storage in a fertility clinic in Darlington.
With access to the embryos Mitesh had no more use for his wife, he brought forward his plan to murder her.
On May 14, he strangled her with a Tesco Bag for Life at their home in the suburb of Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, close to the pharmacy they ran together.
He then ordered a pizza at the nearby Romano’s takeaway before returning home and calling 999.
When he was arrested following Jessica’s death he was found to have prepared syringes filled with insulin in his bag.
His computer also showed searches including, ‘I need to kill my wife Insulin overdose’, ‘plot to kill my wife, do I need a co-conspirator?’ and ‘hiring hitman UK’.
Mitesh was convicted of murder in December 2018 and sentenced to life with a minimum of 30 years.
Jessica’s family said afterwards: ‘Jessica was a beautiful person both on the inside and out.
‘Her soul was pure, her heart ever so kind and the love and generosity she afforded to everyone in her life was second to none.
‘She had simple dreams, all she ever wanted was to fall in love, have a family of her own and live happily ever after.
‘Losing Jessica has devastated our family. Over the last 6 months we have agonised over what could have happened and the truth we have learnt over the last few weeks is truly painful and traumatic.
‘Never could we have ever imagined anything like this. The man we welcomed into our family, who promised to look after and protect her, betrayed her in every sense of the word, cheating her of her dreams, robbing her of her life and robbing us of her.
‘No one in this world has the right to take someone else’s life. Although even a maximum life sentence is not punishment enough, we are relieved at the outcome of the trial and this will help to bring us a little peace.
‘We would like to thank everyone associated with this case who have worked tirelessly in aiding our fight to get justice for Jessica.
‘All we really want is to have Jessica back in our lives; something we will never get but we hope now she is finally at peace.’
The story behind Jessica’s murder is being told in new documentary Countdown To Murder on 5Star at 9pm on Tuesday.
Patel ransacked their home after the murder to try to make it look like a burglary
The health app that snared Mitesh: Detectives used steps to show he staged burglary
The killer pharmacist’s iPhone health app helped convict him in what was thought to be a legal first in the UK.
After his arrest, police seized Mitesh Patel’s handset and downloaded critical information about his movements, including when the phone moved and where.
The health app uses motion processors in the phone to monitor a user’s steps and when the handset is taken up a flight of stairs, and that evidence was used in court to show the killer’s frantic movements around his home, going upstairs to ransack rooms to stage a break-in after he had strangled his wife in the living room.
It also showed that after he returned from a trip out to buy food that night, he had gone upstairs after he pretended to find his wife’s stricken body, dashing into a bedroom to hide the house’s CCTV hard-drive in a suitcase full of clothes.
Investigators used data from the couple’s phones to show how the husband was frantically moving around after the killing as he staged the burglary
His wife’s phone was also analysed to reveal more evidence of Mitesh Patel’s lies.
Research of Jessica Patel’s health app showed the handset moved 14 steps at 7.44pm – the exact time Mitesh Patel left her lifeless body and fled the house to create an alibi.
He claimed his wife was still alive when he ventured out, but his story crumbled when the health app showed her phone remained motionless outside the couple’s Middlesbrough home until 8.40pm that night.
That was when a police officer picked it up near their front door, where it had been left by Patel, 37, to make it look like it had been dumped by an intruder.
A legal source said it was thought to have been the first use of such in-depth iPhone health app analysis in a major UK trial.
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