Baby-crazy pharmacist Mitesh Patel is on trial at Teeside Crown Court accused of murdering his wife of nine years to death, in order that he could take her frozen embryos to begin a new family in Australia with his gay lover, using money from the victim’s £2 million life-insurance payout.
Jessica Patel, 34, was found strangled to death with a plastic supermarket carrier bag, in the couple’s elegant Middlesbrough home on May 14 of this year.
She had recently undergone a second round of IVF treatment, and a number of embryos had been frozen ahead of implantation.
Her husband Mitesh Patel, 37, was allegedly obsessed with starting a family with Jessica, although the couple had not had sex for ten months prior to Jessica’s murder.
Jessica And Mitesh Patel: Childhood Sweethearts With A Massive Secret
The pair were childhood sweethearts, who had met as children in the tight-knit West Yorkshire Hindu community. They stayed together through university and were married in Leeds in 2009.
Since 2015 Mitesh Patel had operated a successful pharmacy business on Roman Road, Linthorpe alongside wife Jessica. To outsiders the couple appeared to be the model of ambitious young business owners, working side by side at the heart of their quiet suburban community.
But for almost the entire length of their marriage Mitesh Patel had been involved in a passionate relationship with the man he considered his soul-mate, Amit Patel, a British-educated doctor now working in Australia.
The two men would talk on the phone for hours every night, to the dismay of Jessica who tolerated her husband’s relationship with Amit, because like her husband she was desperate to start a family.
Mitesh Patel ‘A Would-Be Baby Snatcher’
Although she confided to family members about the impact that her husband’s relationship with Amit was having on the couple’s marriage, Jessica could not have known that the two men were waiting for her to fall pregnant, so that they could take the baby to Australia and raise it together.
But Jessica’s younger sister Minel told the court that Mitesh Patel’s behavior towards her sister had become increasingly cruel and controlling in the months leading up to the murder.
In her testimony at the trial, she said: ‘He would put her down, say things in a very jokey manner but they were very negative things about her.
‘At first it seemed like banter but it kept happening, saying negative things about the way she dressed and the way she looked.
‘We could tell it was hitting her confidence because she became quite reserved and quiet.’
Jessica’s father, Jayantilal, also gave evidence, telling the court that his son-in-law would prevent his wife from visiting her family as a means of proving his dominance over his wife.
The day before the murder Mitesh Patel had ellegedly told his father-in-law; “I am the dominant one, I can do whatever I want … it is good that she never questions me”.