The murder of a woman whose body was later dumped in woodland was motivated solely by greed, say police.
Jemma Mitchell was today convicted of murdering her friend Mee Kuen Chong in London before dumping her headless body in woods near Salcombe.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the Metropolitan Police investigation, said: “The motivation for Jemma Mitchell’s actions was money and she showed a significant degree of planning and calculation as she attempted to cover up her horrific actions. The cold facts of this case are shocking.
“Deborah Chong was a vulnerable lady – in the weeks before her murder, she was seeking help for her declining mental health.
“However, Mitchell – so desperate to obtain the money she needed to complete the renovations on her house – sought to take advantage of Deborah’s good will, but when Deborah changed her mind, she callously murdered her and embarked upon an attempt to fraudulently obtain her estate.
“Over the course of two weeks following Deborah’s murder we can only speculate as to what Mitchell did with the body and what her wider plan was.
“The decomposition when the body was found was at such an advanced state that Mitchell may have begun to fear Deborah’s body would be discovered – whether this forced her into moving the body and why she chose Salcombe in Devon, we may never know.
“However, what is clear is that Mitchell – seeing her chance to obtain the funds she so desperately desired disappear – decided to attack and murder a vulnerable lady for her own gain in a truly despicable crime.”
Devon and Cornwall Police have had regular engagement with colleagues from the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Division throughout the period since Mee Kuen Chong was discovered deceased in woodland in the Salcombe area in June 2021.
Detective Superintendent Mike West, the Head of Devon & Cornwall Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “The tragic discovery of Ms Chong’s body in Salcombe led to a significant deployment of specialist officers and staff from across our Force and regional area.
“Their painstaking work over many weeks, delivered by our Detectives, Forensic professionals and Intelligence Directorate established the true circumstances of a murder motivated by greed, and identified both the killer and where the offence took place.
“Our teamwork was not limited to the South West. We supported our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police throughout the investigative and judicial process and we are satisfied to hear of the guilty verdict delivered today, noting the praise delivered by HHJ Marks around the ‘excellent and extremely thorough investigative work’ that saw justice served to Ms Chong and her family.”