Headless woman allegedly murdered found with Biblical quote written on scrap of paper

17 October 2022, 18:38 | Updated: 17 October 2022, 18:41

Mee Kuen Chong
Mee Kuen Chong. Picture: PA

By Kit Heren

The headless body of a woman who was allegedly murdered was found with a Bible quote written on a scrap of paper, a court has heard.

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Mee Kuen Chong, a vulnerable pensioner from north-west London, was found decapitated on a beach in Devon last year.

Her friend, 38-year-old Jemma Mitchell, is in court accused of murdering Ms Chong before depositing her headless corpse in Salcombe 15 days later. She has denied the murder.

Murder accused walked streets with bulky suitcase for two hours, court told

In a poignant twist, when Ms Chong was found, she had small scraps of paper with quotations from the Bible on them, the Old Bailey heard on Monday.

Jemma Mitchell with the case (left) and Mee Kuen Chong's last known sighting with her lodger (right)
Jemma Mitchell with the case (left) and Mee Kuen Chong's last known sighting with her lodger (right). Picture: Alamy

Giving evidence on Monday, pathologist Dr Deborah Cook said she examined Ms Chong's decapitated body shortly after 11pm on June 27 last year.

She told jurors: "It was apparent that the head and at least the first two bones that form the spine were absent."

Ms Chong's head was almost entirely "defleshed". The pathologist cast doubt on whether animals were responsible.

She said: "In my experience of animals taking flesh from the skull - which I have seen - they are not careful about where they take it from so that is very unusual.

"It caused me to raise my eyebrows, the headband was nicely in place if animals had accounted for all the 'defleshing' of the skull."

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Under cross-examination, Dr Cook was also asked if Ms Chong's injuries could have been caused by her falling and then someone giving her chest compressions in a bid to revive her.

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Dr Cook said: "If that hypothetical possibility was put to me, that offers an explanation for the skull fracture...then the rib fractures as well."

But she added: "It does not explain decapitation." Dr Cook said she thought Ms Chong was killed before she got to Devon.

It comes after jurors at the Old Bailey saw CCTV clips tracking Ms Chong's last known sighting on Thursday last week.

On June 9 last year, she was seen appearing to walk for exercise in Chaplin Road where she lived accompanied by her lodger, crane operator David Klein.

Just before 6.30am on June 11, Mitchell was seen on video walking from her address in Brondesbury Park in Willesden with a large blue suitcase and backpack.

She arrived in Chaplin Road at 8.01am and emerged just over five hours later at 1.13pm carrying the blue suitcase and another smaller bag allegedly containing Ms Chong's financial paperwork.

CCTV issued by Metropolitan Police of Jemma Mitchell, 38, on Chaplin Road
CCTV issued by Metropolitan Police of Jemma Mitchell, 38, on Chaplin Road. Picture: Alamy

She was captured on CCTV dragging the bags on the street and through a grass verge for two hours before being picked up by a minicab.

In that time, jurors heard she had called various cab companies nine times before a driver collected her for the 40-minute journey home.

She was dropped outside her next door neighbour's house and then transferred the suitcases from the driveway to her home, it is claimed.

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Later that evening, she went to St Thomas' Hospital in central London to be treated for a broken finger, saying she shut it in a door - a claim the prosecution say is a lie.

The court heard the blue suitcase was not seen again until June 26 last year. That day, it is alleged Mitchell hired a car and drove to Salcombe with the body in the suitcase stashed in the boot.

Jurors were shown more video footage of Mitchell stopping off near Bristol and later turning into a Co-op garage near Salcombe with a flat tyre.

The CCTV showed an AA repairman changing the wheel before the Volvo is seen on Bennett Road just metres from the spot where Ms Chong's body was dumped.

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Mitchell arrived back in London shortly before 7am on June 27 last year.Later the same day, Ms Chong's decapitated body was discovered in the woods by holidaymakers and her skull was found in nearby undergrowth a few days later.

Jurors have heard that Mitchell murdered Ms Chong because she wanted to get hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for repairs to her home. Mitchell has denied murder and the trial continues.