‘Evil’ UK self-styled healer jailed for life on TV for killing and beheading friend

A self-styled healer has become the first woman in England to be handed a life sentence on television for the “profoundly shocking” murder of her friend whose headless body was dumped in Devon.

Jemma Mitchell was told she will serve at least 34 years in jail for killing 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong at her London home in June last year.

Two weeks after the murder, she drove more than 200 miles to the seaside town of Salcombe in Devon where she left devout Christian Ms Chong’s decapitated and badly decomposed body in woods.

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The prosecution claimed 38-year-old Mitchell hatched a plan to murder the vulnerable widow, who was known as Deborah, after befriending her through a church group.

A court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Jemma Mitchell, at the Old Bailey in London, during sentencing for the murder of Mee Kuen Chong, whose headless body was dumped in Devon. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

When Ms Chong backed out of giving her £200,000 to pay for repairs to her rundown £4 million home, Mitchell killed her and forged a will to inherit the bulk of her estate – worth more than £700,000.

The trained osteopath, who boasted online of her award-winning skill in human dissection, had denied having anything to do with Ms Chong’s death – but declined to give evidence at her trial.

Mitchell stood impassively in the dock as she was found guilty of murder while Ms Chong’s family in Malaysia watched the verdict via a video link on Thursday.

On Friday, Judge Richard Marks KC was broadcast handing down his sentence to Mitchell at the Old Bailey.

The judge said it was a particularly shocking murder for gain perpetrated by an “extremely devious” person.

He told Mitchell: “There is the chilling aspect of what you did to and with her body after you killed her.

“You have shown absolutely no remorse and it appears you are in complete denial as to what you did, notwithstanding what in my judgment amounted to overwhelming evidence against you.

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“The enormity of your crime is profoundly shocking, even more so given your apparent religious devotion and the fact Deborah Chong was a good friend to you and had shown you great kindness.”

Mitchell’s mother Hillary Collard blew kisses to her daughter as she was sent down from the dock.

The victim’s sister, Amy Chong, nieces Pinky and Yinky, and nephew Ryan, watched proceedings by video link from abroad.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Amy Chong said: “Deborah’s death was a shock to us all. It was difficult to comprehend how it could have happened to her, although we are not close due to certain differences of opinion with regard to religion.

“It saddens me she had to go through such a horrifying ordeal and tragic death.”

She had suffered sleepless nights and the murder left a “huge bottomless hole” in her life, the sister said.

She said that “no-one in their right mind” would mutilate another person in the way Mitchell had. Mitigating, Richard Jory KC said: “This started as a genuine friendship between two women who shared a faith.”

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It is only the second time cameras have been allowed into an English criminal crown court to record a sentencing, and the first in a murder case in which the defendant is a woman.