A Yorkshire pharmacist has been sentenced to at least 30 years in prison for murdering his wife, Cleveland Police has reported.

Roman Road Pharmacy owner Mitesh Patel, who lived on The Avenue in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years for the murder of his 34-year-old wife – Jessica Patel, Cleveland Police said yesterday (5 December).

Ms Patel, who worked in the Middlesbrough pharmacy with her husband, was found dead at the home she shared with Mr Patel on 14 May, according to Cleveland Police.


Out for pizza


A jury found Mr Patel guilty of murdering his wife after a three-week trial. A Cleveland Police spokesperson told The Pharmacist today (6 December) that the cause of death was strangulation.

During the trial the court heard that Mr Patel ‘may have used a carrier bag to try to strangle’ his wife, the spokesperson added.

Mr Patel arrived home carrying a small pizza box after the murder, according to CCTV footage from the night of the murder, which was shown by detectives during the trial.


Planned for years


A health app on Mr Patel’s phone allowed Cleveland Police to find out the exact time at which it is believed he went upstairs in his home to hide CCTV evidence upstairs and call the police claiming that a burglary had taken place.

During the trial, the prosecution case showed that Mr Patel was at home during the murder at a time he claimed to police that he was out walking. At this time he also staged the break-in to 'cover up his crime', police said.

According to Cleveland Police, ‘significant evidence’ found during the murder investigation showed that Mr Patel had been planning his wife’s murder for a ‘number of years’.

Cleveland senior investigating officer detective chief inspector Matt Murphy-King said that one of the motives for the murder was ‘financial gain’ worth £2m.

He continued: ‘In an effort to disguise his crime and seek to fool the murder investigation team into believing that Jess had been murdered while Mitesh was out walking, [he] went to the extreme of staging the murder scene, making it appear as though Jess had been murdered during a burglary, something which the investigation categorically proved to be a lie – one of the many lies that Mitesh spun to conceal his guilt and devious lifestyle.’

Mr Murphy-King added: ‘Jessica Patel was a wonderful daughter, sister and friend, loved and respected by many, who tragically had her life cut short by the man who should have been there to love, cherish and protect her.

‘While nothing can be done to bring Jess back or lessen the pain and suffering caused to Jess’s family, I sincerely hope that by bringing Mitesh Patel to justice for his despicable crime it at least brings some solace to them.

'Even when faced with overwhelming evidence, Mitesh chose to inflict further pain and suffering upon Jess’s family by not admitting his guilt, thereby exposing Jess’s family to his deceitful, dishonest and wicked ways throughout trial.

'I’m very grateful to the CPS and prosecution team for their excellent work which has enabled the investigation team as a whole to present the best possible case for Jess, which has ultimately led to Mitesh Patel’s conviction.'