Mail on Sunday -6th May 2012
By Patricia Kane & Bob Smyth
CONVICTED killer Luke Mitchell has spoken for the first time about the brutal murder of his girlfriend Jodi Jones and his legal fight to clear his name.
Now 23, he has served seven years of a minimum 20-year prison sentence after being convicted of killing the 14-year-old schoolgirl.
Today, Mitchell, of Dalkeith, Midlothian – who has always maintained his innocence and who was advised by his legal team not to take the stand at his trial- gives for the first time a unique insight into his side of the story.
Last week, a lie detector test by one of the UK’s leading experts backed his claim that he is telling the truth.
Mitchell, who was also 14 at the time of the murder, gives a harrowing account of how he discovered Jodi’s body and sheds light on his ‘cold, emotionless’ state in the days that followed, blaming tranquillisers prescribed by a GP which were not suitable for children.
Mitchell’s outpouring of emotion comes in a letter – seen by The Scottish Mail on Sunday – to miscarriage of justice campaigner Sandra Lean, who is at the forefront of the battle to free him.
The truth is, Jodi’s killer is still out there, free
Jodi’s body was found in June 2003, hidden behind a wall in woodland near her home. She had suffered a slashed throat and cuts to her eyelids, cheek, left breast, abdomen and right forearm. In a poignant tribute to his murdered girlfriend, Mitchell said: ‘I think about Jodi every day. I miss her all the time. I’ve never met anyone before or since that I’ve had the same feelings for, or connection with, as with Jodi. I didn’t realise just how much I loved Jodi until she was taken from me.’
After Jodi was reported missing, Mitchell and his dog Mia joined the schoolgirl’s family in their search. He was the first person to find her body – a fact which was later taken as an indication of his guilt. He has always maintained he was led to the body by his dog.
Mitchell said: ‘When I found her, in my head I knew it was Jodi and that she was dead but I couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud. I was completely in shock, I didn’t know what to do. It was as if I had gone numb. I couldn’t get my head around what had happened, what I had seen. I still get flashbacks of that sight.’
Mitchell insists the result of the lie detector test that ‘cleared’ him is a ’damning indictment’ of the Scottish legal system and gives him hope of walking free to rebuild his life.
His mother Corinne has waged a tireless battle to free him. She gave him an alibi for the murder, but was disbelieved by the jury. However, she has also taken a lie detector test, which indicated she was telling the truth.
Mitchell said: ‘The truth is, Jodi’s killer is still out there, free, and an innocent 15-year-old was put in their place. That is what people should be angry about, that is what people should fear.’
Mitchell’s letter and the results of his recent lie detector test will form part of a submission to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, the official body which considers possible miscarriages of justice.
- Miss Lean has not received any payment for passing Mitchell’s letter to The Scottish Mail on Sunday.
I think about Jodi every day… I miss her all the time. I didn’t realise just how much I loved her until she was taken from me. The truth is, Jodi’s killer is still out there walking the streets…
HE has always maintained his innocence, but was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years for the brutal slaying of his 14-year-ald girlfriend Jodi Jones. Luke Mitchell is planning a new legal bid to overturn his conviction, claiming he is the victim of a shocking miscarriage of justice. Today, In a letter obtained by The Scottish Mail on Sunday, he talks for the first time about why he could never have killed the girl he still loves and thinks about every day.
Mitchell insists he still has strong and enduring feelings for Jodi.
‘I think about Jodi every day. At times, I’ll be thinking about something unrelated, and then a random thought of Jodi comes to my head. I miss her all the time.
‘Jodi as an individual was an amazing person. She was totally uncompromising in her belief that no one should be judged by the music they listen to or the way they dressed. Every day I looked forward to being with her. Just being close to Jodi was enough to make me happy.
‘I’ve never met anyone before or since that I’ve had the same feelings for, or connection wi’th, as with Jodi. When I was with her, nothing else mattered. We didn’t have to go out and do things. Just being with her was enough for me.
‘A lasting memory of Jodi is one night we were sitting outside on the ground. Jodi was leaning against me. We were just relaxing. About three hours must have passed without either of us saying a. word. We were happy just being together. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that contented, either before or since.
‘I didn’t realise just how much I loved Jodi until she was taken from me. Nothing will ever replace that. I don’t know if I was able to make her feel the same way.’Continued on page 2 -