A woman has pleaded not guilty to killing a pensioner whose decapitated body was found 250 miles away from her home.

Mee Kuen Chong, 67, known to friends as Deborah, was reported missing from her home in Wembley, north London, on June 11.

Her headless body was found in woodland near the Devon town of Salcombe on June 27.

Today, her alleged killer, Jemma Mitchell, 37, appeared in the dock of Court One at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing.

She pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Chong on a date between June 10 and 27 this year.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC set a provisional four-week trial for September 26 next year.

A further hearing was set for December 23 this year for the defendant to attend by video link.

Jemma Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to murder (


Jonathan Goldberg)
Mrs Chong was considered vulnerable by neighbours (


Devon Live / BPM Media)

The defendant, of Brondesbury Park, Brent, north-west London, was remanded into custody.

Ms Chong's body was found by dogwalkers leading to a huge police, ambulance and fire presence for two days as a murder investigation was launched.

At the time of her disappearance, Ms Chong, who was originally from Malaysia, had been living in Wembley for more than 30 years.

Police at the scene where Mrs Chong was found dead (



She was described by neighbours as very religious, pleasant and friendly but they said she was considered vulnerable.

A local resident, who did not want to be identified, told the Harrow Times: “We knew her well. She's a member of a church, very religious."

He added that residents were aware she had disappeared: “We were shocked to find out she was dead."

"She's an old lady, it's not the best time to be on your own out there with the pandemic, et cetera,” he said.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who led the murder investigation, said at the time Ms Chong's body was found it was a "tragic development and my thoughts are with her family and friends".