Jemma Mitchell, 36, allegedly killed 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong – known to friends as Deborah – who was reported missing from her Wembley home on June 11.
Mrs Chong’s body was eventually found in an area of woodland near Bennett Road in Salcombe, south Devon, on June 27.
Mitchell, from Brondesbury Park in Brent, appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from HMP Bronzefield on Tuesday morning to face the murder charge.
“The defendant is charged with the murder of Deborah Chong, committed some time in June this year,” said prosecutor Ben Lloyd.
He said Mrs Chong’s death had been “particularly unpleasant and violent”, and her body had allegedly been “transported from London to the area where she was eventually found in Devon at the end of June”.
Mitchell, who was wearing a white face mask, took notes during the brief hearing and spoke only to confirm her identity.
She is due to appear at court on September 28 to enter a plea to the charge of murder.