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Victim told neighbour she was being ‘healed’ by murder-accused, court hears

The prosecution claim Jemma Mitchell killed her vulnerable friend, Mee Kuen Chong, to get money to pay for house repairs.

18 October 2022

A devout Christian told a neighbour she was being “healed” by the woman accused of killing her and dumping her headless body in woods in Devon.

The prosecution claim Jemma Mitchell murdered her vulnerable friend, Mee Kuen Chong, to get money to pay for house repairs.

It is alleged that Mitchell was caught on CCTV footage dragging a large blue suitcase from the 67-year-old victim’s house in Wembley, north-west London, before getting a cab home to nearby Willesden on June 11 last year.

On June 26, Mitchell then allegedly hired a car and transported Ms Chong’s decapitated body more than 200 miles to Salcombe, where it was found in woods by holidaymakers.

Mee Kuen Chong court case
The site in Salcombe, Devon, where Jemma Mitchell is alleged to have dumped Mee Kuen Chong’s body (Metropolitan Police/PA)

At the Old Bailey on Tuesday, prosecutor Lucy Organ read out a series of witness statements, including one from a next-door neighbour who used to exchange WhatsApp messages with Ms Chong.

Hira Khan said Ms Chong would talk about religion and used to host yoga and spiritual sessions in her garden.

She said: “She had messaged me about a lady called Jemma who was an osteopath and spiritual healer who was helping her.

“She had told me that she was being healed by Jemma and by Jesus.”

Mee Kuen Chong court case
The last known sighting of Mee Kuen Chong, captured on CCTV with her lodger, David Klein, in north-west London on June 9 2021 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Ms Kahn said she last saw Ms Chong in the street where they lived on June 9 last year and she “did not seem herself”.

Optician Antoneyjeyakumar rented a room from Ms Chong and last saw her several days before she went missing, jurors heard.

When they first met, she seemed “like a lovely lady” and “very chatty”, the lodger said, although Ms Chong’s behaviour later changed and she became “passionate” about politics.

On June 3 last year, Ms Chong informed her lodger that she was sick and needed the room so she could get help around the house.

In one bizarre message, Ms Chong said: “Spirit of world flesh devil kill and destroy humans all of us.”

Mee Kuen Chong death
Mee Kuen Chong suffered from schizophrenia (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Jurors have heard that Ms Chong suffered from schizophrenia and was referred to a mental health team after sending letters to the then-Prince Charles and Boris Johnson.

Giving evidence in court, a radiologist told jurors that Ms Chong’s body would have fitted inside the large blue suitcase Mitchell was seen on CCTV footage dragging away from the victim’s home.

Dr Curtis Offiah, who examined a CT scan of Ms Chong’s skull, identified the epicentre of fracture damage in the right frontal region.

He said it was quite a complex fracture, with a number of areas of depression inwards and linear fractures.

On when the injury had happened, he said: “Based on the imaging I reviewed and my experience, this looked like a peri-mortem fracture, by which I mean the fracture occurring around the time of death.

“It was not possible to be more precise than that because of the amount of decomposition that had been sustained by the head.”

“That is typical of a blunt traumatic impact to the skull. The right frontal region of the head had blunt force impact.”

Mee Kuen Chong court case
The site in Salcombe, Devon, where it is alleged that Jemma Mitchell dumped Mee Kuen Chong’s body (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The witness said the injury could have been caused by the head hitting a hard surface or being struck with a hard object.

He added: “The fracture is very consistent with an object which has a smooth presenting surface.”

The radiology expert looked at the dimensions of the large blue suitcase and concluded that Ms Chong, who was 5ft 2in and slim, would have fitted inside.

He said “My opinion was the suitcase, with the dimensions provided to me, could accommodate the body with the head attached or without.

“That would have been in the foetal position, curled up on the side.”

He said an individual who was slightly bigger than Ms Chong had tested the hypothesis and could easily fit in a slightly smaller suitcase.

Jurors heard a series of calls Mitchell had made to cab firms to arrange being picked up from near Ms Chong’s house and taken home to Willesden on the afternoon of June 11.

The court has heard she gave her name as Julia and asked to be picked up from a different address and taken to the house next door to where she lived.

Cab driver Moideenkutty Vadakkhatil said in a statement read to the court that he offered to help her with two suitcases she had with her and noted that she had hurt her hand.

“I went over to her and grabbed hold of the larger bag… The lady is saying no as the bag is so heavy we both have to carry it and place it in the boot,” he said.

“When we got there I helped the lady remove the bags from the cab despite her not wanting me to help her.”

As he turned in the road to leave, he said he could not understand why Mitchell was still standing by the driveway where he had dropped her off.

Mitchell, 38, of Brondesbury Park in Willesden, north-west London, denies murder and the trial continues.

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