Health data from a British pharmacist’s iPhone helped convict him of the murder of his wife, also a pharmacist
British media report that Mitesh Patel, who owned the Roman Road pharmacy in Middlesborough with his wife Jessica, had been cheating on her with men and planned to emigrate to Australia to be with his male lover, a doctor.
The court heard that for six years, Ms Patel had known that her husband was having affairs with men he met on the Grindr dating app, as well as the ongoing affair with the doctor, who he met in 2013 and who subsequently moved to Sydney. On some occasions he met these men for sex in the family home.
The doctor was described to the court as Mr Patel’s “soul mate”.
Mr Patel had previously persuaded his wife to undergo IVF, and three embryos were eventually frozen. The court heard that Mr Patel planned to start a family in Australia with his lover, using the embryos.
He also stood to benefit to the tune of £2 million (AUD$3.5 million) from life insurance he had taken out on his wife.
The doctor has been spoken to as a “witness” and lead investigator on the case DCI Matt Murphy-King has said that it would not be proper to discuss these conversations as this could unduly prejudice any future proceedings should they ever be taken against him.
For several years Mr Patel searched phrases such as “hiring hitman UK,” “insulin overdose,” and “I need to kill my wife”.
He also watched a strangulation video on YouTube which he claimed to have watched with Jessica.
In the last weeks before he murdered his wife, Mr Patel looked up “Can 3mm of insulin kill?” and “Hindu funerals for a murdered woman”.
In May 2018, Mr Patel injected his wife with insulin and then strangled her with a plastic bag from Tesco. During the murder, she scratched his neck, and he later told police he had sustained the minor injury at the gym.
He then attempted to stage the scene to look as though Jessica Patel had been killed by a burglar. He tied his wife up with tape and then went to the Roman Road pharmacy and a pizza shop to set up an alibi.
When he returned home he called 999 and claimed an intruder had killed his wife – but his health data told a different story.
Police took a look at the Health app on Mr Patel’s iPhone, as well as his wife’s: the app tracks steps taken by the user over the course of a day.
They saw that the app on Mr Patel’s phone showed a great deal of busy activity in the moments immediately following the murder, with a number of flights of stairs ascended and descended.
No steps, however, were recorded on Ms Patel’s iPhone between the time of the murder and the time Mr Patel took the phone and moved it 14 steps away, in an attempt to make it look as though the purported burglar had dropped it.
It is believed that the use of this data is a first for the UK.
Police also found insulin syringes in Mr Patel’s laptop bag – one of which was empty.
After the jury handed down a unanimous verdict of guilty, the judge in the case told Mr Patel that a life sentence would be mandatory. At the time of writing, the minimum term to be served was yet to be determined.
In a statement following the verdict, Ms Patel’s family issued a statement describing the pharmacist as “beautiful both on the inside and out”.
“Her soul was pure, her heart ever so kind and the love and generosity she afforded to everyone in her life was second to none,” the family said.
“She had simple dreams, all she ever wanted was to fall in love, have a family of her own and live happily ever after.”