**** updated Saturday April 30th 2011****
In a murder inquiry, we expect that investigators will properly investigate and eliminate anyone who may be highlighted as a possible suspect, either through evidence gathered, or through proven anomalies in their own accounts. If this is not done, then the possibility that the person convicted has been convicted “beyond reasonable doubt” simply cannot exist. If other suspects have not been investigated, how can we be sure that they are not the real perpetrators?
The existence of evidence against other people must surely, in itself, be enough to raise reasonable doubt, especially if the nature of that evidence leaves important questions unanswered.
This site does not make any suggestion that any of these people were involved in the murder of Jodi Jones. This page is intended to highlight the serious failings in the investigative procedures.
(1) Two youths JF and GD were seen “mucking about” on an old moped at the Newbattle end of the path at a few minutes after 5pm on June 30th. At 5.15pm, the moped was seen, propped against the wall at the V shaped break, but the two youths were nowhere to be seen. Five days later, on Saturday July 5th, (the day after Luke’s home had been raided at 7am in a blaze of publicity) police appealed for these two youths to come forward. They stressed that these boys were not wanted in connection with the murder itself, but on the basis that they may have seen something which may be of importance to the enquiry, even if they did not realise it. Bear in mind, the police had been appealing for 5 days for anyone who had been in the vicinity of the path between 5pm and 10pm to come forward.
Following the appeal of July 5th, these youths finally came forward. It had taken them almost a week, and one of them had cut off his own hair before doing so. Both boys were relatives of Jodi’s – a cousin and a second cousin. They told police they had been on the path an hour earlier, at 4.15pm, and by Monday 7th July, police released a statement that these boys had been “traced and eliminated from the enquiry.”
At the time these boys were eliminated, no DNA test results had yet been received. They had lied about the time they were on the path – it had, in fact, been 5.15pm, not 4.15pm.
Whilst it may be argued that the police are, of course, going to word their appeals in such a way as not to alert potential suspects, it appears that in this case, they did actually mean that they were not treating these boys as suspects, on the basis of how quickly they were eliminated without their stories being confirmed. Yet this was only five days into the enquiry.
One of these youths lived just minutes from where Jodi’s body was found, and his garden opened out onto a secluded path which met, at right angles, Roan’s Dyke path (“the path” apparently used by Jodi that evening.) Both youths could have transported themselves from the V where the bike was propped to the back garden in a few minutes, without ever being seen from the road. Neither could explain where they were at 5.15pm when the bike was seen without them. Given the proximity of the garden, not even the most obvious explanation – that they had gone to GD’s house for tools to fix the bike – was offered. In fact, no explanation other than “I don’t know” and “I cant remember” was ever offered. Both of these “explanations” were offered at the trial of Luke Mitchell – it seems police had accepted them at face value some 19 months earlier, and then continued to pursue Luke.
JF admitted to being a drug dealer – unlike Luke, he did not face any charges of “being concerned with the supply of cannabis.” Both gave evidence against Luke, including a completely uncorroborated story from JF about Luke jabbing Jodi in the leg with a knife at a party. JF handed police a knife which he claimed Luke had left at a house and he (JF) had picked up. Despite having seen Luke a few days before the murder to supply him with cannabis (which JF admitted on the stand) he did not give the knife “back” to Luke, preferring, instead, to hand it to police after taking a week to come forward himself.
At the time of the trial, GD was himself facing a charge of “disfigurement with an iron bar” and Jodi’s family had ostracised JF. He told the court that he did not know why, but that his grandmother had told him Joseph (Jodi’s brother) was going to “batter him.” Mrs Jones herself would not tell the court why JF had been ostracised, and had had to leave the area.
GD’s father DD was also in the woods that night. He, too, saw nothing. GD and JF were due to meet with Jodi’s brother Joseph that evening, but never showed up. They could not explain why. Also, GD lived just 300 yards from the start of the path – he was the closest of all of Jodi’s male relatives, yet he was not part of the party searching for Jodi. There were six male members of Jodi’s family, all in closer proximity to the path that evening than the ones who formed the search party, yet not one of those males went out searching.
UPDATE: The alibi for a further potential suspect, who had serious mental health issues, and whose illness had escalated in the weeks prior to Jodi’s death, was given by other family members. However, the two people who provided that alibi were out for part of the evening (so could not confirm the alibi that this person was “at home.” On their return, they confirmed that he was “at home” although they also confirmed that they did no actually see him there until much later in the evenng, after it had been confirmed that Jodi was missing. The claim that he was at home the whole evening was based on a claim that, on returning from the earlier outing, this person had called out from another room. However, the initial statement from one of these family members stated that this person was not at home prior to the outing, but Jodi’s sister was. This was later explained as “a mistake.”