Page last updated at 22:27 GMT, Thursday, 21 February 2008

Mitchell 'created' own publicity

Luke Mitchell
Luke Mitchell was convicted of murdering Jodi Jones in 2003

Convicted killer Luke Mitchell was responsible for generating much of the publicity that he complained about, according to the Crown.

Mitchell, who is appealing against a life sentence for murdering girlfriend Jodi Jones, had claimed that hostile press coverage prejudiced his case.

His defence lawyers insist the intense media coverage may have influenced jurors at his trial in Edinburgh.

But appeal judges were told that the coverage was 'self inflicted'.

Representing the Crown, John Beckett QC told the hearing in Edinburgh that press interest seemed to have declined after September 2003 then revived the following year during the weeks before Mitchell's arrest.

Fanning the flames

He claimed that much of this coverage was based on statements released by Mitchell himself, and pointed out a Daily Mail headline in which the teenager's lawyers challenged police to "put up or shut up".

Mr Beckett said: "It may be that part of the publicity, which fanned the flames as it were, was self-inflicted."

Claims by defence lawyers that the publicity meant that the trial should not have been held in Edinburgh were false, he added.

He also dismissed claims that Mitchell had suffered a miscarriage of justice because his mother told lies on oath.

Lawyers have complained to appeal judges they were "ambushed" by surprise evidence that Corinne Mitchell helped her under-age son get a tattoo using false ID, which emerged at the trial.

Mr Beckett said the case against Mitchell was "cogent, compelling and almost irresistible", the trial was not unfair, and the verdict should not be overturned.

Mitchell, 19, was jailed for life in 2004 for murdering 14-year-old Jodi, from Dalkeith.

The hearing is expected to finish on Friday.

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