A PHARMACIST who murdered his wife by suffocating her with a carrier bag to receive a £2m insurance payout and start a new life with his gay lover was today jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

Mitesh Patel, 37, is thought to have injected his wife Jessica with insulin and strangled her with a Tesco bag-for-life at their home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, then staged a fake break-in.

The Northern Echo:

Mitesh Patel, 37, and his wife Jessica

He was described by trial judge, Mr Justice Goss, as "selfish, controlling and a persistent liar" and was told he would only be freed when the Parole Board think it is safe to do so.

And Jessica's sister, Divya - one of three relatives to read a victim personal statement - said: "Mitesh has deceived us all. In truth, he is a cheat, he is a liar, a fantasist, and above all a murderer."

The Northern Echo:

Mitesh Patel at the police station after his arrest

Turning to the killer and addressing him in the dock, she concluded: "We do not just pray, we know, that she will be free from you forever, as why she rests in heaven, you will rot in hell."

She was supported by family members who all wore jumpers bearing the slogan 'Justice for Jess'.

The couple ran a successful pharmacy together but their marriage was unhappy, with the husband repeatedly seeking sex with men he met on the Grindr dating app.

And he was secretly in a relationship with his "soulmate" Dr Amit Patel, who had emigrated to Sydney and with whom he hoped to bring up his and Jessica's IVF baby after her death.

The husband was convicted of her murder after data from his iPhone health app showed how he had frantically climbed up and down stairs while staging the break-in.

CCTV footage from outside the couple's home also showed 34-year-old Jessica entering the property for the final time and no-one else coming or going until the body was discovered.

Mr Justice Goss told Patel: "

After the murder, police discovered syringes prepared with insulin in Patel's laptop bag and one was empty.

Cleveland Police suspected he injected his wife to subdue her when she came home from work on May 14, then strangled her with the bag.

As she fought for her life, she scratched his neck.

He tried to blame the injury on an accident when he was working out at the gym that day.

Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell, QC, said: "From various life insurance policies, Mitesh Patel stood to profit from his wife's death to the tune of £2 million.

"He was planning to use that money to start a new life in Australia shared with the person he really loved ... another man named Dr Amit Patel."

The Northern Echo:

The scene police found in Patel's bedroom

Despite his repeated infidelity with men he met on Grindr and also being in love with Dr Patel, the killer desperately tried to persuade his wife to have a baby using IVF.

When she voiced her doubts about going through with the process amid concerns about his infidelity, the husband texted her: "Ok then I'm telling you this then we are parting ways."

But she did eventually go through three cycles of the fertility treatment and the last was successful, resulting in three embryos which now lie frozen in a Darlington clinic.

Weeks before he carried out his plot, Patel told a neighbour his wife was very trusting and that "one day she would end up getting murdered".

And during a family holiday to the Canaries only days before the murder, he messaged Dr Patel to say: "You know this plan, do you think we will succeed?"

The Northern Echo:

Members of Jessica Patel's family speak to the media after her husband was sentenced for murder. Picture: North News

Dr Patel replied: "Only you know the answer."

The defendant got no reply when he responded: "Do you think it is a bad plan?"

After staging the break-in, Patel dialled 999 and said: "Oh hiya, I think we've been burgled and my wife's been attacked."

During the call, despite knowing she was long dead, Patel implored her: "No, Jess, come on baby, wake up."

During cross-examination, Patel said he had not tried CPR because he "lost his bearings" and panicked.

Mr Campbell replied: "And you weren't going to waste your time trying to revive the dead, were you?"

The pharmacist's iPhone health app helped convict him in what was thought to be a legal first in the UK.

After his arrest, police seized Mitesh Patel's handset and downloaded critical information about his movements, including when the phone moved and where.

The health app uses motion processors in the phone to monitor a user's steps and when the handset is taken up a flight of stairs, and that evidence was used in court to show the killer's frantic movements around his home, going upstairs to ransack rooms to stage a break-in after he had strangled his wife in the living room.

It also showed that after he returned from a trip out to buy food that night, he had gone upstairs after he pretended to find his wife's stricken body, dashing into a bedroom to hide the house's CCTV hard-drive in a suitcase full of clothes.

His wife's phone was also analysed to reveal more evidence of Mitesh Patel's lies.

Research of Jessica Patel's health app showed the handset moved 14 steps at 7.44pm - the exact time Mitesh Patel left her lifeless body and fled the house to create an alibi.

Younger sister Divya added: "Our sister, she had simple dreams. all she ever wanted was to fall in love and have a family of her own, and live happily ever after.

"These dreams she dreamt of having with the man she loved and married, the man who betrayed her in every sense of the word. He's unfairly cheated her out of those dreams, robbed her of her life and he's robbed us of her.

"He had everything and threw it all away. He is a complete failure believing he could end her life to achieve his selfish dreams, and in reality call her stupid as his unbelievable stupidity made him think he could get away with it without any consequences."

A statement from Jessica's fatherJayantital said: "There will not be a day in our lives that will go by that we will not be thinking of her.

"As a father to know your child has been murdered can only be described as very very devastating.

"Many years ago, I had seen a movie where a father loses his son as he had been murdered. I still remember him saying there is nothing heavier than carrying your own child's coffin. It is very true. I have felt that weight. It should have been Jessica carrying me, not me carrying her."

Her grandmother, Jai Shri Krishna, said in her statement: "As I grow older, my smiling granddaughter will not be there to share the remaining years of my life and help look after me in my old age.

"My heart cries. I can't forget, and pray to god that my dear sweet granddaughter finds peace. A completely innocent girl received such a big punishment. Please give her justice."

Divya added: "The one thing we hoped and prayed for above anything else was that in her final moments she did not suffer. The cruel reality is that she did, in fact, suffer. She knew exactly who her killer was and he mercilessly ignored her attempts to fight for her own life as he ended it.

"We can only imagine the fear and panic she must have felt knowing herself this was it thinking of that moment makes our hearts so heavy."

"Only Mitesh himself can truly answer why he did this, everything he has done has been purely for selfish reasons he could've divorced her taken everything he wanted he did not need to take her life she had no right to take this evil cruel and malicious step."