According to recent court reports, a Middlesbrough man accused of murdering his wife, used the dark web to buy guns and hire hit men just months before the death of his wife. The charged man, 37-year-old pharmacist Mitesh Patel, went onto the dark web with the help of his colleague, Sam Hornby, 17, who worked part-time at the pharmacy, the Teeside Crown Court heard on November 19, 2018.
At the trial, which was expected to run 3 weeks, it was also reported that Mr. Patel received comprehensive knowledge on how to access various sites on the dark web from Hornby, the teenager. Hornby stated that Mr. Patel showed a lot of interest in the dark web and even took notes on how to browse various dark web marketplaces from his home. Hornby also told the court that, together with Mr. Patel, they found one page which had many listings including for illegal drugs, firearms, child pornography, and even hit men services.
The duo, however, only checked out a site that only dealt in counterfeit money. Hornby, speaking on that, said he just sort of clicked on the link which then brought up many results for counterfeit money. “I didn’t think it could lead to anything bad. It’s just something that I found interesting. Then people watch documentaries about crime or murders; they just find it interesting,” he added.
The court also heard that Mr. Patel told friends that his wife would one day be murdered. And, it was revealed that Mr. Patel, on another occasion, used the dark web to search for insulin and suicide, but ended up empty-handed. Mr. Patel was said to have been acting strangely on the night his wife died. Ranjeet Khanda, who worked as a backup at Mr. and Mrs. Patel’s pharmacy, told the court that Mr. Patel was behaving different from regular days, as he even refused to greet him with a handshake, something he said is common for Asian people to do whenever they meet.
He again added that he saw three scratch marks on Mr. Patel’s neck, marks he described as ‘quite red’ and ‘relatively fresh.’ This was after he had returned to the pharmacy between 7:30 pm and 7:40 pm, just about 40 minutes after his wife, Mrs. Patel had left.
Mitesh Patel was accused of killing his wife and business partner, Jessica Patel, 34, at their Middlesbrough home on May 14, 2018. His wife’s body was found at 8:20 pm, after having been strangled and suffocated. Mr. Patel called 999 on that same day, saying that their home had been ransacked and that his wife was unconscious at the time. The police and paramedics got to the scene at 8.29pm, Teesside Crown Court was told. He told the police that he was out buying food and came home to find his wife in that state, unresponsive, with her hands bounded with duct tape.
When asked about happened after he had returned home, Mr. Patel stated that he placed the 999 calls “literally” 20 seconds later. “I just came in the house, I saw her on the floor and I looked just there and there, ‘what’s going on here?’ I haven’t been upstairs yet,” he added.
A murder investigation was then initiated by the Cleveland police. Mr. Patel’s trial started this week at the Teesside Crown Court, presided by Judge James Goss, even though he has maintained his innocence from the start and has denied killing his wife.
The court also was informed that during his marriage, the defendant, Mitesh Patel, was cheating on his wife and had sexual encounters with men. The judge told the jurors that Mr. Patel’s sexual encounters with men and his infidelity was an acknowledged part of the case by both the defense and the prosecution.
Mr. Patel used the world’s largest social networking app for bisexual, transsexual, queer, and gay people, the Grindr dating app, to meet new men with whom he had affairs unbeknown to his wife. A former employee who also worked at the pharmacy stated that he once saw CCTV footage from inside of the shop showing Mr. Patel kissing and touching another man.
Reports from his employees suggest that Mr. Patel killed his wife to cover up the affair he was having with gay men.