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Gay pharmacist murdered wife to start new life with his boyfriend

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A gay pharmacist has been convicted of murdering his wife so he could start a new life in Australia with his boyfriend and a £2m life insurance payout.

Mitesh Patel, 37, injected his wife Jessica with insulin before strangling her with a shopping bag at their Middlesbrough home – an attack he had plotted for years.

He then staged a break in to make it look like she had been killed by an intruder.

Teesside Crown Court heard that the couple had been running a successful pharmacy together but their marriage had been unhappy.

Patel had been seeking sex with men through the Grindr dating app and was planning to follow his boyfriend and “soulmate” to Australia.

The jury had heard that Patel’s had searched “I need to kill my wife”, “insulin overdose”, “plot to kill my wife, do I need a co-conspirator?”, “hiring hitman UK” and “how much methadone will kill you?” on the internet over several years.

After staging the break-in, Patel dialled 999 and said: “Oh hiya, I think we’ve been burgled and my wife’s been attacked.”

During the call, despite knowing she was long dead, Patel implored her: “No, Jess, come on baby, wake up.”

During cross-examination, Patel said he had not tried CPR because he lost his “bearings” and panicked.

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, replied: “And you weren’t going to waste your time trying to revive the dead, were you?”

Police had also searched Patel’s laptop bag after his wife’s death and found syringes prepared with insulin. One was empty.

In what is thought to be a legal first, detectives also used the iPhone health app to view the movements of Patel and his wife and to expose his lies.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Murphy-King said: “This is very new evidence which I believe has not been used in a murder investigation before.

“It helped the investigation team piece together the exact movements of both Jessica and Mitesh Patel on the evening of the murder, even to the point of showing the investigation team that Mitesh went up the stairs at a key time and we suggest, in order to conceal the CCTV footage which was of particular importance.”

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, had earlier told the jury that Patel stood to profit from his wife’s death to the tune of £2m.

He added: “He was planning to use that money to start a new life in Australia shared with the person he really loved… another man named Dr Amit Patel.”

The two had messaged while the Patels were on holiday in the Canaries only days before the murder.

He had asked Dr Patel: “You know this plan, do you think we will succeed?”

Dr Patel replied: “Only you know the answer.”

After a 12-day trial, the jury took only three hours to find Patel guilty.

A life sentence is mandatory but a judge will decide the minimum term on Wednesday.

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