**** updated May 8th 2010****
There is a great deal to cover concerning the media influence in this case, but the two questions which have arisen over and over again are the infamous Sky interview, and coverage of Luke’s visit to Jodi’s grave on the evening of her funeral, so this is probably the best place to begin this page on “Media and other Considerations”
The Sky Interview
Sky turned up on the afternoon of Jodi’s funeral, asking if they might have Luke’s thoughts on being told to stay away from the funeral, and what he was doing to commemorate the day. They told Luke and his mother that the interview would not be aired that day, as a matter of respect.
That’s what Corinne meant when she said they had been tricked by Sky – the “interview” was meant to be for another day, another time, after the hysteria had died down.
It may sound incredibly naive now, but at the time, remember it was only 9 weeks since Luke had found Jodi’s body, the family were still in complete shock, they’d never had any dealings with the police or the media, and so they trusted Sky that the interview would be recorded for use at a later time.
Sky then went ahead and broadcast the interview within hours of the funeral coverage.
Visiting the grave
The same applies to visiting the grave. The Mitchells were horrified to be told they had to stay away from the funeral, especially as they were still being told by the police that Luke was not being considered as a suspect (even though, by this time, they had begun to have their doubts about this.)
They had asked several times, in disbelief, “Is Luke a suspect? Do they think he’s involved?” and been told again and again, “No, Luke’s not a suspect. You wouldn’t have a liaison officer if Luke was a suspect. We just have to ask all of these questions – it’s just procedure.” The Mitchell family still believed that the police would see the truth for what it was, and it would all be sorted out.
So they did as they were asked, and stayed away from the funeral. Later, when they believed all of the mourners would have gone, Luke went to pay his respects, in private, believing there would be no-one there.
But the media had hung around, hoping he would turn up. Their behaviour was disgraceful, clambering over headstones and other graves, screeching into mobile phones “get the cameras back, he’s f***ng here.”
A taxi had been booked to take Luke and family home from the cemetery (Corinne had decided it might be a good idea not to take the easily identifiable family vehicle, just in case the media were watching). After the media swarmed out of the woodwork, a taxi turned into the car park outside the cemetery, and Luke, Corinne and friend went to get into it, assuming it was the booked taxi. The driver was not the booked driver, he was a rubber-necker who had turned in to see what was going on, and so, by mutual agreement, he drove off, and the Mitchell group waited for the pre-booked taxi.
The media ran stories that the taxi driver, on recognising them, had “refused to accept the fare.”
The headlines ran “How could you?” with reference to Luke.
Yet these same reporters ran stories about Judy “dumping” Luke’s flowers on the Mitchell family’s doorstep.
If we follow the reasoning here, having returned home from her daughter’ burial, Judy’s privacy and grieving is interrupted by a vulture media contingent, desperate to keep the story going. She is then transported from her daughter’s memorial occasion back to the graveside to pick up Luke’s flowers, driven from there to Newbattle to be pictured “dumping” the flowers on his doorstep, and then graciously allowed to return to the family’s private remembering of Jodi.
Shame on whom?