Body in the Suitcase: The Murder of Deborah Chong explores the remarkable circumstances surrounding the disturbing case of Deborah Chong, who was murdered and decapitated. Stream now on Crime + Investigation Play or catch up on demand.
From the woman who murdered her friend and put her in a suitcase, to a depraved monster who buried his victims far and wide, meet the UK killers who went to great lengths to cover up their crimes.
1. Jemma Mitchell
A talented osteopath who was experienced in human dissection and had even been awarded an academic prize for ‘anatomical excellence’, Jemma Mitchell’s obvious lack of squeamishness helped her carry out a macabre murder in June 2021. Her victim, Deborah Chong, was a friend she’d made through the church, who’d offered to give Mitchell £200,000 to pay for renovations on her London home.
When Deborah backed out of the offer, Mitchell concocted a plan to murder her and forge her will so she could inherit her victim’s £700,000 estate. After killing Deborah, she stuffed her body into a suitcase – breaking her ribs to make her fit – and wheeled it away from the scene of the crime.
After storing the suitcase at her own property for a few weeks, Mitchell transported it 200 miles away to Salcombe, Devon. She blew a tyre during this road trip, forcing her to pull into a garage and get assistance from a mechanic who remembered a ‘sort of musty and damp’ smell emanating from the vehicle.
Deobrah’s decapitated body was later discovered in the Devonshire woodland, with her skull recovered close by. If Mitchell had hoped it would throw people off her trail, it was a mistaken assumption. She was handed a life sentence with a minimum of 34 years.
2. Andrew Griggs
When businessman Andrew Griggs was jailed for the murder of his pregnant wife Debbie in 2019, there were still question marks over exactly what had become of his victim. Debbie had vanished more than 20 years previously, when the couple and their children were living in Deal, Kent. Griggs had always claimed she’d simply walked out on the family.
Griggs, who’d been having an illicit affair with a young teenager at the time of his wife’s disappearance, was convicted and sentenced to at least 20 years despite the lack of a body. The judge suggested that Griggs, a keen sailor, had probably dumped Debbie’s body at sea.
The more startling truth was revealed in October 2022, when police excavated the garden of a property in St Leonards, Dorset where Griggs had moved soon after the murder. Sure enough, Debbie had been buried there decades prior, around 175 miles from where she’d been killed.
It seems that Griggs somehow stashed the corpse and took it with him when he moved with his three children.
3. Anthony Antoniou
A samurai sword, a long drive and the pop star Gabrielle were all connected to one of the most bizarre British murder cases of the 1990s. The killer in question was a young fish and chip shop owner named Anthony Antoniou, who procured the sword from a friend and used it to attack his stepfather, Walter McCarthy, as part of a carefully premeditated plan.
After stabbing McCarthy, Antoniou cut off his head and apparently ‘taunted’ it for 20 minutes before dumping the headless body in a layby outside Sheffield. He then drove 150 miles to Bedfordshire, where he buried the head in woodland. This attempt to conceal his crime didn’t pay off, with Antoniou soon being hauled into court to face justice.
Antoniou claimed he’d killed McCarthy after the latter had confessed to abusing children. One witness during his trial was his former girlfriend, the singer Gabrielle, who said he was a ‘kind and considerate man’ and that murder was ‘totally out of character’. Despite the positive character assessment from his famous former partner, Antoniou was handed a life sentence in 1997.
4. Robert Black
One of the most notorious paedophiles ever to stalk the British Isles, Robert Black moved from assaulting his young victims to outright murder in the 1980s. The fact that he worked as a long-distance delivery driver meant that he was able to commit his murders and dispose of his victims far from where he’d found them.
The first girl he killed, nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, was found in County Down, Northern Ireland, 16 miles from where she’d been taken in County Antrim. The second victim, 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, was taken much further away – her body was found in East Staffordshire, around 265 miles from where she’d been snatched near the Scottish border.
His third victim, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, was taken from an Edinburgh suburb and found 310 miles away in Leicestershire. A smaller, but still considerable journey was made after his final killing, with 10-year-old Leeds schoolgirl Sarah Harper being found more than 70 miles away in Nottingham.
These distances meant that the hunt for the killer became one of the most complex ever mounted by multiple police forces. It was pure luck that led to Black eventually being caught in July 1990, when a retired postmaster in the Scottish village of Stow just happened to see the killer abduct another little girl, who was found bound and gagged, but thankfully alive, in Black’s van.
He died behind bars in 2016, as one of the most reviled inmates of the prison system.