A+E Networks EMEA has commissioned Transistor Films to make a new special, Body In The Suitcase: The Murder Of Deborah Chong.
The 2×60 true crime documentary is a co-production with Krempelwood and is due to premiere in September on Crime+Investigation.
Transistor has previously made Crime+Investigations’ Bubble & Squeak Murder: The Killing of David Jackson and the Netflix series I Am A Killer and I Am A Stalker.
The docuseries will explore the circumstances surrounding the case of Mee Kuen Chong, also known as Deborah Chong, who, on 11th June 2021, was murdered and decapitated by her one-time friend, Jemma Mitchell. With access to family, investigators, and forensic experts, the films will aim to unpick the complex motives and circumstances behind an unlikely friendship that ended in a brutal murder.
Deborah Chong and Jemma Mitchell – both devout Christians – met at their local church in North London and quickly became friends. Jemma offered spiritual guidance and her services as an osteopath to Deborah, who was vulnerable and suffering from declining mental health. To cement their friendship, Deborah agreed to lend Jemma money to help with repairs on her family home, although – fatefully – this offer was later rescinded. Jemma then plotted to inherit the money she felt she had been promised by meticulously planning a murder of devastating cruelty. The trained osteopath, who had boasted online of her skill in human dissection, entered Deborah’s house on 11th June with a big blue suitcase, with which she was seen leaving four hours later.
On the 27th of June 2021, Deborah Chong’s headless body was discovered in Devon by horrified walkers. On 28th October 2022, in the first televised sentencing of a woman in the UK, Jemma Mitchell was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum recommended sentence of 34 years. To this day, Jemma protests her innocence and in a TV first, the filmmakers interview Jemma’s mother, Hilary Collard, who, despite the wealth of damning evidence, continues to plead her daughter’s case.
Dan Korn, Vice President of Programming at A+E Networks EMEA, said: “This 2×60 special will shock and mystify by turns as we delve into the unbelievable events surrounding Deborah Chong’s last moments. Examining as much first-hand testimony and evidence as possible the documentary aims to explore the relationship of Deborah and Jemma and ultimately what led to this most brutal of murders.”
Danny Tipping, MD at Transistor Films said: “This documentary promises to deliver a comprehensive exploration of the events that led up to Deborah Chong’s murder. It’s an extraordinary and complex story with so many layers, the key to telling it the exhaustive research and incredible access the team secured, as we unravel how this most shocking murder took place. We’re very grateful to all our contributors and thank Crime+Investigation for helping us bring this remarkable account to their audience.”
The two-part special was commissioned and executive produced by Dan Korn, VP of Programming at A+E Networks EMEA, with Diana Carter, Commissioning Editor and Head of Talent at A+E Networks EMEA.
Body In The Suitcase: The Murder Of Deborah Chong will premiere on Crime + Investigation in September 2023.
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