Mee Kuen Chong’s decapitated body was found in a woodland near Salcombe, Devon (Picture: Central News/Met Police)
An alleged expert in body dissection murdered a woman and chopped her head off before driving more than 250 miles to dump her decapitated corpse, a court heard today.
Jemma Mitchell, 38, is accused of killing Mee Kuen Chong, a Malaysian national, who had lived in Wembley, north London, for 30 years.
The 67-year-old was reported missing on June 11 last year, and her headless body was found in a woodland near Salcombe, Devon, 16 days later.
The Old Bailey was told the two knew each other and were ‘friendly’ but had recently fallen out over money.
Mitchell learnt how to dissect the entire human body, with the exception of the head and the neck, while at university, the court heard.
She studied Human Sciences at King’s College London, graduating with a first-class degree in 2004.
‘During her degree course, she completed a module called the Structural Basis of Human Function in which she was taught how to dissect the entire human body, with the exception of the head and neck,’ said prosecutor Deanna Heer.
Ms Chong, who was known to friends as Deborah, was reported missing on June 11 from her home in Wembley (Picture: Central News/Met Police)
‘She also completed an additional special study course in Experimental Anatomy.
‘Such was her aptitude for anatomy, she was awarded the Hamilton Prize for anatomical excellence.’
The court was told that in 2009 Mitchell also completed a degree course in osteopathy, which included modules on the anatomy, biomechanics and pathophysiology of the human body.
A family holidaying in Devon discovered Ms Chong’s body at the bottom of some steps on a public footpath.
Police and officers attended and cordoned off the area, but the victim’s head was only found four days later, beneath some undergrowth a few meters away.
A post-mortem examination concluded that the woman had been dead for some days.
Mitchell is charged with murdering a 67-year-old Malaysian national (Picture: Archant)
It is said the head had been detached from the body between vertebrae in the neck.
Ms Heer said: ‘The skin…had a very clean appearance as if it had been cut. The defendant, Jemma Mitchell, knew Ms Chong and had visited her address on that very day.
The court heard that shortly after 1pm on June 11 the defendant was captured on CCTV walking away from the deceased’s house in possession of two suitcases, a large blue suitcase and a smaller red and blue suitcase.
‘The larger of the two was obviously very heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. It is the prosecution case that it contained the body of Ms Chong.’
Jurors were told that Mitchell had driven to Salcombe in a rented grey Volvoon on June 26.
CCTV captured her car driving towards the woodland area where Ms Chong’s body was to be found, the court was told.
Mitchell, of Brondesbury Park, north-west London, denies murder. The trial continues.
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