A pharmacist faces life in jail for strangling his wife to death so he could cash in on her life insurance and start a new life with his gay lover in Australia.
Mitesh Patel, of Middlesbrough, hoped to make £2million from his wife’s death and use her frozen embryos to have the family with Dr Amit Patel, who had emigrated to Sydney.
Mitesh tried to pass off his wife’s murder as a botched burglary of their home, which is not far from the pharmacy they run together.
But his lies were undone by the iPhone Health App, which both he and his wife used, and the case understood to be the first in the UK where it has been used as evidence in court.
Mitesh Patel, 37, denies strangling his wife Jessica, 34, at their home in Middlesbrough
The app tracks a person’s steps throughout the day and it disproved Patel’s lie that Jess was murdered by an intruder.
In the minutes that followed her death Patel’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 her death it 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.
Jessica, 34, had suffered in silence for six years, 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.
Patel planned to start a new life with Dr Amit Patel (pictured) in Australia
There were cries of ‘yes!’ from the public gallery as Patel was found guilty today. Mr Justice James Goss told him he faces a life sentence and will only be released ‘in many years to come’.
Patel had also made a series of internet searches before her death, including ‘I need to kill my wife’ before strangling her with his bare hands and a Tesco plastic bag on May 14 this year..
His motivation had always been to escape his strict Hindu upbringing and flee to Australia to be with Amit Patel and for the couple to bring up a family.
Even while he and his wife were going through three unsuccessful rounds of IVF, he was planning to kill her and take the baby to Sydney, asking Amit Patel: ‘Would you love it like your own?’
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 Patel had no more use for her, prosecutor Nicholas Camopbell, QC, told the court and he brought forward his plan to murder her.
The court heard Jessica was aware her husband was having affairs with men behind her back
Teesside Crown Court was read messages between Mitesh Patel and his wife which showed she was resisting continuing with IVF because she knew he was having sex with other men.
In some cases he was bringing them back to their home and having sex in their spare room, using lubricant and condoms he kept in the marital bedroom.
He also invited Amit Patel to the couple’s previous home in West Yorkshire, leaving his wife in the middle of the night to be with his lover in the guest room.
Patel’s Google searches also helped to give him away. In the weeks leading up to the murder he searched: ‘Can 3mm of insulin kill?’, ‘How to complete a coroner’s report,’ and ‘Hindu funerals for a murdered woman’ and was looking at properties for sale and rent in Australia.
During the course of the trial Patel admitted: ‘I should have been honest with myself and I should not have married Jess.’
He added: ‘I cannot explain how I felt. It was the fear of being exposed as an Asian gay man, that was one thing and the other was that I was not going to let Jess down. I had married Jess and all her dreams were going to come to a crashing end.’
Cleveland police say that Dr Amit Patel, a GP who worked at a health centre, has only been spoken to as a witness, although the enquiry into all the circumstances leading up to Jessica’s murder is ongoing and does not end with her husband’s conviction.