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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Luke Mitchell: The Devil's Own?
Samantha Poling
BBC Frontline Scotland


The murder of 14-year-old Jodi Jones, and the subsequent conviction of her teenage boyfriend Luke Mitchell, was one of the most high-profile legal cases in Scotland this century.

Luke Mitchell
Luke Mitchell was convicted after weeks of evidence

It was a profoundly disturbing case for a variety of reasons and one that the Frontline team felt should be closely re-examined.

There was shock at the sheer brutality of Jodi's death - she was stripped and then her body was mutilated, either just before or after she was killed.

Her youth and the fact that her murderer was adjudged to be her boyfriend, who himself was only 14 years old, compounded the horror felt by everyone.

And then there was Luke Mitchell's apparent insensitivity and callousness - his reported obsession with Satanism and weird rock music - coupled with the alleged collusion of his mother in covering up his crime.

Circling the case was a hurricane of innuendo, salacious hints, and a febrile clamour from the press and public for 'justice' for Jodi.

Marilyn Manson, Kurt Cobain and even the Devil himself all made fleeting appearances in the court room.

Luke Mitchell's trial was the longest single-assailant trial in Scottish legal history
Police interviewed more than 3,000 people during their inquiries
Jodi's body was left uncovered, in the open, for eight hours after it was discovered

Luke Mitchell found himself at the eye of this hurricane.

Some would argue he was convicted and sentenced in the court of public opinion a long time before the jurors in the High Court in Edinburgh had even been sworn in.

Yet right from the outset it was clear this was not going to be an easy case for the prosecution.

Despite the bloody nature of the crime, there was no forensic evidence to speak of.

Nothing physically linked Luke Mitchell to Jodi's murder.

Nevertheless, the prosecution case, which was based entirely on circumstantial evidence, was compelling.

30 June, 2003 - Jodi's mutilated body found beside a woodside path in Dalkeith, Midlothian
3 November, 2003 - Mitchell is named as the only suspect in a leaked report to the procurator fiscal
12 November, 2004 - Trial starts
21 January, 2005 - Mitchell found guilty of murder

The jury agreed with that case and Luke Mitchell was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

But worries within the legal and forensic world about the investigation and subsequent conviction have never completely gone away.

And when, late in 2006, sketchy details emerged of a possible new suspect, those worries began to grow.

That was when we decided to take a closer look at the case including the initial police investigation as well as the trial.

It was one of the largest police investigations in recent Scottish history, with more than 3,000 people interviewed. It was also the longest trial of a single assailant.

Jodi Jones
Jodi Jones was found mutilated and murdered in June 2003

There were three main planks of circumstantial evidence which convicted Luke Mitchell.

The first was eye-witness testimony - a woman claimed she had seen a man 'similar' to Luke Mitchell near the scene of the crime.

The second plank of evidence were statements from Jodi's family who described Mitchell as having taken them straight to Jodi's body as they searched for her.

The third plank of evidence was Luke Mitchell's character itself. He regularly carried knives, sold cannabis to friends and was interested in Satanism.

It was argued he was so wild and out of control that he was capable of anything - including murder.

Many of the points raised are defence issues that were heard in court and vigorously debated in the course of the judicial process.
Lothian and Borders Police

Yet our investigations looked again at flaws not only in each of these three key planks of evidence heard in court, but also in part of the initial police investigation which produced that evidence.

Luke Mitchell's mother Corinne also agreed to an interview.

It was her first since her son's trial and conviction.

She was a character with little public sympathy, in fact she became almost as vilified as Mitchell himself during the months before his arrest. Her story was compelling.

We knew we also had to try to track down a man who had come forward with information on this possible new suspect.

After a lengthy search, we managed to find Scott Forbes who had given a statement to police about the disturbing behaviour of one of his friends.

According to Forbes, it was three-and-a-half years before his friend was eventually contacted by the police.

Mitchell is appealing against his conviction.

Scott Forbes's statement is being investigated by Mitchell's defence team and may form part of that appeal.

Frontline Scotland's Luke Mitchell: The Devil's Own? was broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 2240 GMT on Wednesday, 9 May.

Click on the link in the top right hand corner of this page to watch the programme.

Frontline - Luke Mitchell: The Devil's Own?

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