Usha Patel, 44, was ferociously beaten and strangled to death by a man she had met online and was later discovered by her five-year-old son who told his grandad: “Mummy’s not well.”


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Miles Donnelly was due to stand trial this week for the murder of Usha Patel but changed his plea to guilty on Monday.

He had met Ms Patel on an online dating site called Oasis and promised to “treat her like a princess”.


Ms Patel invited him ‘for sex’ in her flat in Cricklewood, north London, on October 7 last year, where she lived with her son.

The court heard that the pair both stripped naked before Donnelly attacked her in a drunken rage, stabbing her 13 times and beating her over the head before strangling her.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC said they arranged to meet after online and phone conversations

He told the court: “She invited him to her home to meet him face to face for the first time, intent it seems on drinking with him, and having sex with him and starting a relationship with him.

“And when they met at her flat, on the evening of Wednesday 7 October 2015, after drinking together and undressing, he killed her by beating her ferociously about the head and by strangling her.

“And as she was dying or even just after she had died, he stabbed her a number of times in the stomach.”

Ms Patel’s body was discovered the next morning when her father went to her flat to take her son to school.

The five-year-old told his grandfather “Mummy’s not well.”

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was asphyxiation.

Donnelly was arrested a few days later after calling the police himself but claimed he could not recall what happened in Ms Patel’s flat because he was drunk.

His trial was to start this week but on Monday he changed his plea to guilty and admitted Murdering Ms Patel.

Donnelly, of Hall Place, Paddington, admitted murder and causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Rebecca Poulet QC gave Donnelly a life sentence with a 23-year minimum term for Ms Patel’s murder.

The judge said: “In my assessment, this case is a stark warning to anyone who plans to meet anyone after limited internet contact.”

The judge went on to say: “Usha Patel invited this defendant to come into her flat … She was clearly anxious to meet a new partner. She paid for this invitation with her life.

“She was, in my judgment, an extremely vulnerable woman … both in her background and in the immediate moments leading to her death, when she was heavily intoxicated.

“Your brutal attack on this woman must have been terrifying for her.”