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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 17:24 GMT
Teenager guilty of Jodi's murder
Luke Mitchell
Luke Mitchell was called truly wicked by the judge
The former boyfriend of 14-year-old Jodi Jones has been found guilty of murdering her.

The jury at the High Court in Edinburgh decided by majority verdict to convict Luke Mitchell, 16, of the killing.

Judge Lord Nimmo Smith told the teenager he could be regarded as "truly wicked" for committing the murder in June 2003 in a Dalkeith wood.

After the verdict, Jodi's uncle, Kevin Walker, said the family had had to bare its soul to ensure justice.

In a prepared statement on behalf of the family he said: "We will not and cannot speak after today of the effect on us individually and as a family.

It was a truly evil murder and one of the most appalling crimes that any of us can remember
Lord Nimmo Smith
"To do so would only feed the evil that has caused our grief. The family has had to bare its soul to ensure that justice could prevail.

"This has meant being totally honest about all aspects of our lives and it is a pity that that honesty was not being shown by other parties involved in the investigation."

Jodi's mother Judith said that before her death Jodi had been happy with her first boyfriend, Luke Mitchell, after having to deal with the suicide of her father Jimmy in 1998.

In a statement, Mrs Jones said Jodi would not have liked the "notoriety" her death brought.

She said: "She had come to a point in her life of getting through her low self-esteem and was happy in having her first boyfriend.

"On this I will say no more but that there can never be warnings of this type of evil."

Jodi Jones
Jodi Jones was 14 when she was killed in June 2003
When the verdict of the 42-day court hearing was read out cries of "yes" came from the public gallery, but Mitchell showed no emotion.

Jodi, who had gone out to meet the then 14-year-old Mitchell, had been subjected to a savage knife attack, the jury heard.

Hours after the fatal assault, Mitchell led a search party of members of Jodi's family who found her mutilated body.

In court on Friday, Jodi's family began sobbing quietly as the verdict was read out.

Lord Nimmo Smith said it was beyond any skill of his to see into the black depths of the baby-faced killer's mind.

He added: "It was a truly evil murder and one of the most appalling crimes that any of us can remember.

"You must rightly be regarded as wicked - you subjected Jodi to a horrible death and one can only hope mercifully quick.

"She still had her full life ahead of her and you snuffed it out.

"She was loved by her family and you have left them bereft."

Jury praised

The judge said he had no idea what led Mitchell to do what he did, possibly it was a desire for notoriety in order to achieve something grotesque.

Mitchell, of Newbattle Abbey Crescent, Dalkeith, was also found guilty of supplying cannabis, also by a majority.

He will be sentenced on both counts in three weeks but Lord Nimo Smith warned Mitchell that he faced "detention without limit of time".

Janine and Judy Jones
Jodi's sister Janine and their mother Judy arrive at court
The judge praised the jury for their careful consideration in a case which he said was very difficult.

Detective Superintendent Craig Dobbie, who led the murder investigation, welcomed the guilty verdict.

He said: "I'm really delighted that the jury had the courage to make what was a very difficult decision for them, but one which was the correct decision.

"Jodi's mother is delighted and relieved. The family now have an answer to Jodi's death and can move on with the grieving process."

The dead girl's family later praised Lothian and Borders Police.

They said they were aware criticisms had been made of the investigation, but they had nothing but praise for the police.

The jury in the trial, which began on 18 November, took just over five hours to reach their decision.

It was the longest trial of a single accused in Scottish legal history.

Mitchell was taken away to Polmont Young Offenders' Institution to await his sentence.

His mother Corinne Mitchell, who had denied lying to cover up for her son, was driven away down the Royal Mile with family members in a white Mercedes car which had its number plates taped over.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Background to the Jodi Jones murder case



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