A jury was said to be able to consider whether the woman had cut off her vulnerable friend’s head and disposed of her body, but had no intention of killing her.
Fifteen days later, Mitchell allegedly dumped Jeong’s headless body in a nearby wooded area more than 200 miles away. salcomDevon.
Prosecutors allege Mitchell was money-motivated and pretended to be devout Christian Chong’s will to pay for repairs to his dilapidated home in Willesden, northwest London.
Mitchell denied killing Chung, known as Deborah, but refused to provide evidence to defend her.
On Friday, Judge Richard Marks told jurors they could consider reducing the manslaughter charge.
He said: “It is not true for either the prosecution or the defense that the defendant is guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.
“Prosecutors said this was a premeditated murder and that’s why the defendant took the suitcase home on June 11, meaning it was intended to remove the body.
“Meanwhile, the defense says the prosecution failed to prove that Deborah Chung was unlawfully murdered, and even if you conclude that she was, they believe she was unlawfully murdered by the defendant. I couldn’t prove that he was murdered.”
The judge raised what the jury could conclude from pathologist Dr. Deborah Cooke’s evidence and a possible explanation for Ms. Chung’s head fracture.
Pathologists said Chung’s head injury may have been caused by a weapon blow or violent shoving.
In either case, the jury could find Mitchell guilty of manslaughter if he murdered Ms. Chung but did not really intend to seriously harm her.
The judge added, “It would still be true if she then cut off Deborah Chung’s head and then disposed of her body.”
He told jurors that it was a circumstantial case with no witnesses to Chung’s death.
He said the circumstantial evidence could be “strong” but should be considered carefully, and speculation played no role in the process.
Jurors can assume that Mitchell told a variety of lies, but they shouldn’t assume that she “must be guilty,” the judge said.
Examples included providing a false name and address to a taxi company and lying about injuring a finger last June 11.
Judges said defendants sometimes lie “out of panic or fear, or because they think their true accounts may not be believed.”
Judge on Mitchell’s failure to enter the witness box mark “Don’t jump to the conclusion that her silence proved her detriment. It’s not.
However, he added: “The reason the defendant remained silent was that in reality she had no answer to the indictment or thought she would stand up at cross-examination. It is up to you to conclude that there was nothing.”
A trial at Old Bailey has been postponed until Monday.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/cctv-wembley-london-salcombe-marks-b2207852.html Jurors in headless murder trial say they can consider manslaughter