Episode 12 The Murder of Jodi Jones: Is Luke Mitchell Guilty?

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In the summer of 2003, Jodi Jones was a typical 14-year-old. She lived in Scotland with her mother, Judy, her older brother Joseph, and her mother’s partner, Allen Ovens. Jodi’s father, James Jones had passed away in 1998. Jodi also had an older sister, Janine, who lived with their grandma.

Jodi and her family lived in Easthouses, a small community about seven miles from Edinburgh. Easthouses is about a mile and a half east of the village of Newbattle, where 14-year-old Luke Mitchell lived. A footpath called Roan’s Dyke, links the two villages. It runs between a field and an old wall that’s about 6 foot high. Behind the wall is a strip of woodland that local teens would hang out in and drank alcohol and smoke weed.

Hello and welcome back to Turned Up Dead. I’m Fiona and the true crime case I’m going to share this month is of the events surrounding the murder of 14-year-old Jodi Jones and the subsequent conviction of Luke Mitchell. While everyone can agree that what happened to Jodi was inexcusable, the conviction of Luke Mitchell, who was her 14-year-old boyfriend, is polarising. As usual, I’ll share my thoughts at the end, but the telling of this story will be a little different. I’ll start by sharing the information I’ve been able to find that was presented at Mitchell’s trial and what was reported in the media at the time. I’ll then cover the reasons that an increasing number of people doubt Mitchell’s guilt and believe he has been wrongfully convicted.

A quick content warning, although not in any detail, this episode briefly mentions sexual assault.

In the summer of 2003, Jodi Jones was a typical 14-year-old. She lived in Scotland with her mother, Judy, her older brother Joseph, and her mother’s partner, Allen Ovens. Jodi’s father, James Jones had passed away in 1998. Jodi also had an older sister, Janine, who lived with their grandma.

Jodi and her family lived in Easthouses, a small community about seven miles from Edinburgh. Easthouses is about a mile and a half east of the village of Newbattle, where 14-year-old Luke Mitchell lived. A footpath called Roan’s Dyke, links the two villages. It runs between a field and an old wall that’s about 6 foot high. Behind the wall is a strip of woodland that local teens would hang out in and drank alcohol and smoke weed.

Jodi went to St David’s Roman Catholic High School in Dalkeith, which was where she met Mitchell. They became boyfriend and girlfriend in March 2003. Entries in Jodi’s diary show that she was head over heels for Mitchell and the teenage couple spent most weekday evenings and weekends together.

After school on June 30, Jodi took the bus home as usual and arrived home not long after 4 pm. The previous month, her mother had grounded her for just over a week for smoking weed. Jodi now had many more chores to do around the house and had to abide by a curfew. She wasn’t allowed out until 6 pm and had to be home by 9 pm. But at around 4:30 pm, Jodi’s mother, Judy, had a change of heart. “That’s you hen, you can go out when you want to, you don’t have to wait till six o’clock.” Jodi almost immediately text Luke Mitchell to arrange to meet. She used her mum’s phone because hers wasn’t working. Mitchell soon text back saying he could meet her. 

Jodie’s mother’s partner, Allan Ovens, got home from work at around 4:45pm. Shortly after, Jodi went into the living room and told her mother, “That’s me off now mum,” and gave her a kiss. When Judy Jones took the stand during Luke Mitchell’s trial, she elaborated telling the court that Jodi said she was meeting Mitchell and asked her to save some of the lasagne she was cooking for her to eat when she got back. 

Jodi left at around 4:50 pm and headed to her end of Roan’s Dyke Path to meet Mitchell. Her mum, Judy later explained that she didn’t like Jodi walking down the path alone which was why the teens would always meet at Jodi’s end.

At 5:32, Mitchell called Jodi’s house but his call didn’t connect. He called again at 5:40pm. This time, Allan answer ed. Mitchell asked where Jodi was and Allan replied that Jodi had already left to meet him. Around this time, two women were driving along Newbattle Road. They saw a boy thought to be Mitchell standing opposite the entrance to Roan’s Dyke path.

About an hour later, Mitchell called his friends and went to meet them in the grounds of a nearby old Abbey. He arrived on his own and there was no sign of Jodi. At around 9pm, Mitchell left the Abbey and walked home. It was a little earlier than he usually went home and well before his 10pm curfew. At 10:30 pm, he took the family dog, Mia, on her evening walk.

Jodi’s curfew was also 10 pm but she hadn’t returned home. Even though it was night, it was the middle of summer so despite the time, it was still daylight. After half an hour, at 10:38pm, Judy texted Mitchell’s phone. The message was intended for Jodi, who she called Toad. Judy text Jodi something along the lines of ‘Right Toad, say goodnight to Mitchell. That’s you grounded for another week.’ Mitchell immediately called Judy and claimed that he hadn’t seen Jodi all night. Worried, Judy began making calls to try to find her daughter.

After ten minutes, Judy called Mitchell again. She hadn’t found Jodi and so she told Mitchell that she was calling the police. Mitchell told her he’d go back out to see if he could find Jodi. It was now starting to get dark, so Mitchell grabbed a torch and went back out taking, Mia the dog with him. Luke Mitchell and Judy spoke on the phone again just before 11 pm. By this time, Mitchell was at his end of the path. He walked down, but didn’t see or hear any sign of Jodi.

At about 11:20 pm, two police officers arrived at Jodi’s house and took her details. Judy also gave them Mitchell’s phone number before they left around five minutes later. Instead of going west along Roan’s Dyke path, the officers walked south down another footpath called Lady’s Path.

Towards Jodi’s end of Roan’s Dyke path, Mitchell saw Jodi’s older sister Janine, Janine’s fiance Steven, and Jodi’s maternal grandmother, Alice. They met up and the four walked back down the path, where Mitchell had just walked. Then, Mitchell stopped at a section of the wall that had broken leaving a v-shaped gap. Mitchell handed his dog’s leash to Alice and jumped over the v in the wall and into the woodland. Without hesitating, he turned left. Within minutes, he called back to the path that something was there. Luke Mitchell had found Jodi’s body. She was lying on the ground, naked except for her socks which were still partly on her feet. Her trousers had been used to tie her hands behind her back and the rest of Jodi’s clothes were strewn around her body. It was a horrendous scene.

Jodi had multiple knife wounds on her stomach, breasts, head, and face. Defensive wounds on her arms indicated that she had fought her attacker, and blood on surrounding woodland suggested she had either attempted to flee or that her killer had dragged her. Jodi’s neck had been cut repeatedly nearly decapitating her. It appeared that some of the injuries had been inflicted post-mortem. 

Mitchell and Steven helped 66-year-old Alice over the wall. When she saw her granddaughter’s body, she began to scream. Janine had stayed on the path but when she heard her grandmother’s screams, she too began screaming. It was 11:35 pm, Luke Mitchell called 999 and told the police to hurry. Mitchell and Steven helped Alice back over the wall. As Luke Mitchell was climbing back onto the path, his phone rang. It was a police officer wanting to know their exact location. After 5 minutes, the police still hadn’t arrived so Steven called them and told them to hurry. Around 5 minutes after this, two police officers arrived.

One officer took Alice, Janine and Steven away from the scene to the school close to the end of the path closest to Jodi’s house. Some other members of Jodi’s family had already gathered in the school carpark and Alice, Janine and Steven were left with them.

Meanwhile, the other officer asked Mitchell to show them Jodi’s body but he refused. At 11:55 pm, the officer radioed in to report that they had found a body. Mitchell was then taken to Dalkeith police station. At the police station, the police took his clothing and shoes, searched him, gave him a forensic suit to wear and interviewed him. When Mitchell’s mother, Corinne, called him, a police officer answered and told her to come to the police station. Corinne was unaware that Jodi had been found.  

The police took Jodi’s family to another police station where Alice, Janine, Steven remained until around 2 am when they were allowed home. Jodi’s mother and her partner Allan stayed at the station to give statements to the police.

Detective chief superintendent Craig Dobbie from Lothian and Borders Police had been appointed senior investigating officer shortly after the discovery of Jodi’s body. Around 1 am on Tuesday, July 1st, he arrived at Roan’s Dyke path. Despite the scene not being processed and the crime scene manager and forensics yet to arrive, some of the branches on the trees surrounding Jodi’s body were cut to allow easier access for crime scene photos to be taken.

The crime scene manager arrived just before 4 am. By this time, Jodi’s mother and her partner had left the police station and were at her house. Alice, Janine and Steven were also there and for some reason, they hadn’t given their statements when they were at the police station. The police took their statements at around 4 am from Jodi’s house. The police also took their shoes but didn’t take any of the clothing they were wearing when they had discovered Jodi’s body.

At 4:45 am a forensics officer attended the scene but left without seeing Jodi’s body because they couldn’t get over the wall due to having  a bad back. No reason has for why they didn’t walk around using an entrance further up the wall has been publically given. Around 5 am, the police photographer and videographer began recording the scene.

While this was happening, Mitchell was still at the police station. He and his mother had been appointed a family liaison officer and were allowed to go home shortly before 7 am.

Meanwhile, it had started to rain. Jodi’s body had been left uncovered and the police didn’t put up a crime scene tent to protect the scene from the rain. At around 8 am, the second forensics officer arrived. By this time, someone had rolled Jodi’s body onto a plastic sheet and police officers had gathered items from around her body. It’s not publicly known if any attempt was made to establish Jodi’s time of death, and there are no known records of her body temperature being taken. At 10.10 am, after almost 12 hours of being left uncovered and open to the elements, Jodi’s body was removed from the scene.

That same morning, police began to appeal for anyone who’d been near the scene to come forward. Roan’s Dyke path was closed to the public, however, rubbish bin collections in the area went ahead as usual, students walked to the nearby school using the surrounding paths and the local council cut nearby hedges.

On July 2, the public learned that Jodi had been the victim of what the police described as a “frenzied” knife attack. Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, ran a story with the headline: Deranged Jodi killer soaked in her blood. The story gave an overview of what had happened, including the fact that Jodi had been going to meet her boyfriend.

On the same day, Janine and Jodi’s brother, Joe, joined two memorial services at Jodi’s school. Prayers were read for Jodi and a friend sang Sting’s Fields of Gold. The Daily Record reported that Judy was too distraught to attend.

Scottish newspaper, The Herald reported:

‘A rain-soaked notice told pupils not to use the side entrance to Newbattle High, nearest the route, and one bunch of bright pink and yellow flowers lay beside the turning Jodi would have taken on Monday evening before she was murdered.’

The same article mentioned forensic teams working under tents that had been put up to protect the crime scene. Another article published by the same paper on the same day reported detective superintendent Dobbie saying, quote “That’s another thing that people should be aware of: if anyone is aware of anyone with bloodstained clothing, or anything going into dry cleaning with bloodstains.

By July 3, the police had ruled out the attack being sexually orientated. The Heral reported that one of the UK’s leading criminal psychologists, Dr. Ian Stephen, said the frenzied nature of the attack indicated that the killer was in ”an extremely over-stimulated state.” The psychologist suggested the killer had come to be in this state from alcohol, drugs or as a result of someone else upsetting them.

Luke Mitchell hadn’t yet been named as Jodi’s boyfriend, let alone a suspect, but his name was very much at the forefront of detective superintendent Dobbie’s mind. The police had heard learned from Mitchell’s school friends that he often carried knives, and like many of his friends, he smoked marijuana.

The Mitchell’s had a log burner in their garden and neighbours had spoken of a smell of burning coming from his family’s back garden on the night of Jodi’s murder. None of the clothing Mitchell had been wearing had blood on it. Police theorised that either Mitchell’s mother or his brother Shane, had used the log burner to get rid of evidence, such as bloody clothing, that Mitchell had killed Jodi.

However, a number of other people who had been on and around Roan’s Dyke path at the time Jodi was killed had come forward and told of what they had witnessed.

A cyclist had told the police of hearing what he described as ‘strangling noises’ coming from behind the wall close to the v-shaped break when he rode along the path at around 5:15 pm. Other witnesses said that they had seen two boys trying to re-start a stalled moped at the path’s entrance around 5 pm, and more witnesses reported seeing a moped propped against the wall by the broken v-section. They didn’t see anyone with the moped. The cyclist hadn’t seen the boys or the moped.

On July 4, in an article titled ‘Dark clouds of fear hang over community Children and parents warned to be on their guard after brutal murder’ The Herald named Luke Mitchell as Jodi’s boyfriend. The article reads:

‘Yesterday pupils, mostly accompanied by parents, were among those adding to the growing floral tributes placed at the entrance to the pathway less than 200 yards from the murdered 14-year-old’s home.

Among them was a bouquet of six red and white roses believed to have been left by Luke Mitchell, Jodi’s boyfriend.

The message read: ”The finest day I ever had was when tomorrow never came. I love you. Mitchell.”

The Daily Record’s article on the same day had the headline: DNA will hold the key to justice. The article began as follows:

‘The crucial piece of evidence which will nail the killer of Jodi Jones is most likely to be invisible to the naked eye. As the 14-year-old struggled with her killer during the frenzied knife attack, it is almost certain that he left his DNA on Jodi’s clothing.’

While these papers were being read across Scotland, the police went back to the Mitchell home. They took Luke Mitchell and interviewed him again, this time under caution, and thoroughly searched the house. The police took all of Mitchell’s clothing except what he was wearing, they took his computer, swabbed the door handles and took the log burner from the garden to be forensically tested.

That evening, the police held a press conference and called for the boys who had been seen near the crime scene with the moped to come forward. The following day, one of the riders of the moped went to the police, and the day after that, Sunday 6, the second moped rider came forward.

The moped riders were John Ferris and Gorden Dickie. Ferris and Dickie are related to each other but not closely, and John Ferris had a connection to Jodi. His mother was in a relationship with Jodi’s uncle. Despite there being no blood relation or relation by marriage, Ferris was referred to as Jodi’s cousin and was treated like a full member of her family. Ferris had fair, curly hair, and the day following Jodi’s murder, he had given himself a haircut. Both John Ferris and Gorden Dickie initially told the police that they had been on the path an hour earlier than they were actually were. The police wouldn’t realise this discrepancy until weeks later.

Sniffer dogs were brought to Roan’s Dyke path a few days after Jodi was murdered but this was after the crime scene had been cleaned by being bleached down.

On Monday, July 7, the papers reported that the police had ruled out both John Ferris and Gorden Dickie as suspects.

The Daily Record also named Luke Mitchell as Jodi’s boyfriend and said that ‘Police are almost certain that Jodi walked from her house to the beginning of the Roman Dyke woodland path 300 yards away.’ The article said the police had taken 500 calls from the public about the murder but that it was ‘still not known exactly which route the youngster took after she left her home.’ 

Despite now knowing Jodi’s exact path, the police staged a re-enactment in which a police officer dressed as Jodi walked the route they believed she took from her house to Roan’s Dyke path.

On July 10, the police appealed for a young woman who people in the area had seen on the day Jodi was murdered. She was pushing a pushchair. She had blonde hair and was wearing a miniskirt.

New posters appealing for the public’s help were made and distributed. The police continued to search woodland close to where Jodi’s body was found.

On July 11 the Daily Record reported that ‘Detectives deny the trail has gone cold in the hunt for the 14-year-old’s killer.’ By this time, the paper claimed, the police had interviewed 1400 people and were currently studying the forensics of Jodi’s clothes.

The forensics revealed an array of evidence on and around Jodi’s body. Police forensics recovered three full DNA profiles and at least two partial DNA profiles. Saliva, hair, and fibres were also recovered. There was no evidence of sexual assault and no foreign DNA was found internally. The first full DNA profile came from semen and sperm heads that were recovered from Jodi’s torn and bloodstained t-shirt. Jodi and Mitchell were sexually active but this DNA wasn’t Mitchell’s. The second full DNA profile was from a condom that had been discarded close to her body. This profile didn’t match Mitchell either, and Jodi’s DNA wasn’t found on the condom.

In fact, none of the full DNA profiles matched Mitchell. No trace of Jodi’s blood was found on any of the clothing that police had taken from his house and the log burner showed no evidence that any clothing, bloody or not, had been burned in it.

The police were unable to match the DNA from the discarded condom to anyone they knew but the DNA profile from the semen and sperm heads on Jodi’s t-shirt matched Steven Kelly – Jodi’s sister’s boyfriend. The police also found semen and sperm on Jodi’s bra.

It’s not known how thoroughly the police investigated any part Steven Kelly might have played in Jodi’s murder but they came to accept an innocent explanation for his sperm being on the t-shirt Jodi had on when she was killed. The explanation was that Kelly’s semen and sperm had transferred to Jodi’s bra from the t-shirt, which belonged to Janine – Jodi’s sister and Kelly’s fiance. They say that Janine’s t-shirt was clean Jodi put it on but that Kelly’s DNA had transferred onto it when is was washed with some of his clothing.

On July 14, The Daily Record reported that the police had been questioning a teenage boy about a missing knife. It repeated that Jodi was on her way to meet her boyfriend, and again named Luke Mitchell and added that Jodi, ‘texted Mitchell before leaving home to say she was on her way – but she never arrived.’ 

The article goes on to mention the activities of local teenagers:

‘Police have also been investigating the activities of a group of teenagers in the area. It is understood they have been looking at their interest in Goth music and macabre late-night meetings in local cemeteries. Officers have also been investigating websites the youngsters visited on the internet.’

On July 15, two of Jodi’s aunts took part in a televised appeal. Jodi’s aunt Diane described Jodi to the public and said, “She borrowed her sister’s clothes, was untidy and at times liked to tease her brother, sister and other members of her family.” 

Following an appeal made by Judi’s mother, two witnesses contacted the police about a man they had seen walking behind Jodi on the day she was killed. On July 16 detectives appealed for information about the man who was described as being white, in his late teens to early 20s, around 5ft 7in to 5ft 10in tall with a stocky build and dressed in dark clothing. One of the witnesses believed they saw the same man on the day that the re-enactment took place high-fiving his friends near the path. The Scotsman reported Detective Inspector Tom Martin, an officer in the case, as saying,

“This is a significant development for the inquiry team. We now have two independent witnesses who have given us good statements about seeing a young woman who is similar in description to Jodi.

Both witnesses saw the girl walking in Easthouses Road towards the entrance to the Roman Dyke pathway at around 5pm and both also noticed a man walking closely behind the girl.

Interestingly, one of the witnesses believes he then saw the same man again on Monday 7 July, one week later, the night of the police reconstruction. If this is the case, we need to trace this person as a matter of urgency as he may have seen something important on the night that Jodi died.”

Over the next couple of days, articles about Jodi still appeared in the papers but there were no significant updates. A knife had been found near the scene but it was ruled out as being the murder weapon. Police divers searched the River Esk paying close attention to the section of the river that ran by the Mitchell home. After more than three weeks, Roan’s Dyke footpath was reopened to the public.

On July 19, the BBC News reported that the man seen on the day of the re-enactment had been ruled out of the investigation because he had been working in England at the time of Jodi’s murder. He had just got off the bus and was greeting friends after being away for some time. The police believed this was a different man to the one who was walking closely behind Jodi on the day she was killed. About this DI Martin said, “This means we are now focussing our attention on the week one sighting and the man walking behind a girl fitting Jodi’s description.”

On July 21, the police set up roadblocks for the second time and questioned around 600 drivers in an attempt to find more witnesses. The police had set up a similar roadblock and questioned 800 people two weeks prior.

Two days later, on July 23, the police turned down an offer to make an appeal on Crimewatch. Crimewatch is a serious TV programme that has aided in solving several high-profile crimes. An unnamed detective on the Jodi Jones case told the Daily Record, “We know Crimewatch can be a valuable tool, but we are already dealing with so much information at the moment that a nationwide appeal may not be a help. If anything it might be a hindrance.”

On July 31 the young woman who had been seen pushing a pushchair contacted police. She had been away on holiday so had missed the appeals for her to come forward. Unfortunately, she hadn’t seen anything that proved helpful to the case.

A local woman named Andrina Bryson told the police that she had seen a young couple standing at the entrance to Roan’s Dyke path just before 5pm on the day of the murder. Although the girl had her back to the road, it was at the end of the path closest to Jodi’s house, and the police believed it was Jodi and that the boy was Mitchell.

In the early hours of Thursday, August 14, a marked police car sat outside the Mitchell home. It had been there since around 4 am. A little before 7, a blacked-out van and unmarked cars pulled into a lane behind the home. After about ten minutes, two plain-clothed police officers knocked on the door. They spent around five minutes inside before bringing Mitchell out in handcuffs. 

Then police officers and sniffer dogs entered the property and began to search again. At the station, the police took a polaroid photograph of Mitchell and interviewed him under caution without a parent or lawyer present.

Under the headline,  ‘The net closes in Jodi killer’ an article in the Daily Record on this day spoke of a “breakthrough” from the results of “fresh forensic tests.” It included a quote from a police source which said, “This is being viewed as a significant step towards identifying the killer.”

Mitchell was questioned by the police for hours and wasn’t even left alone when going to the bathroom. Despite repeated questioning, Mitchell told the same story as he had the day Jodi was killed and didn’t admit to causing Jodi any harm. After nearly 7 hours, he was released without charge. The next day the media reported on the search and Mitchell’s third police interview.

The police took the polaroid photo and showed it to Andrina Bryson along with 11 other photos of young men in a photo lineup. Ms Bryson identified Mitchell as being the boy she had seen with the girl at  the entrance to the path.

On August 18, The Herald reported of a homeless man who sheltered nearby but seemed to have left in a hurry around the time Jodi was killed. He was one of two homeless men who slept in an old bell chamber in the grounds of Newbattle Abbey College about a quarter of a mile from Roan’s Dyke path. Police who had gone to look for him found a sleeping bag and boots, which had been set alight but hadn’t completely burned. The same article told of some golfers who had been on the Newbattle golf course on July 1. They had told the police about a man they had seen who came out of the woods to the north west of the crime scene carrying a bundle. When the man realised the golfers had seen him, he went back into the woods. It was later reported that the homeless man had come forward and was ruled him out of the investigation. He turned out to be an Englishman known to police in England.

This was the week the new school term started. Mitchell had been told he’d have to wait a few days before he could return to school. After seeing his name in connection to Jodi’s murder, many parents had concerns about their children attending the same school as him, and so did his teachers. When Mitchell returned to school, he was kept away from other students. This caused a disagreement between his mother and the school. The school then decided Mitchell wasn’t allowed back. He continued his studies at home and sat exams elsewhere.

On August 25, The Daily Record printed an article under the headline ‘DNA Boost in hunt for Jodi killer.’ The article reads in full:

‘Detectives have found a DNA sample which could help catch the killer of schoolgirl Jodi Jones. The vital clue was taken from clothing worn by the 14-year-old when she died. It is believed to belong to the prime suspect.

Police say they are close to revealing the evidence against the person in a report to the procurator fiscal. The fiscal will then decide if there is enough proof to bring a murder charge.

Jodi, a pupil at St David’s High School in Dalkeith, Midlothian, was found stabbed to death on June 30. She had left her home in nearby Easthouses just after 5pm to meet her boyfriend Luke Mitchell, 15. Her mum raised the alarm when Jodi failed to make a 10pm curfew.’


On September 3, 2003, hundreds of people gathered for Jodi’s funeral. The song ‘Come as You Are’ from the 14-year-old’s favourite band, Nirvana, played as her coffin was taken into the church.

Jodi was buried next to her father in a cemetery just a few miles away from her home. Her headstone reads, “Sunshine memories of Jodi Jones. Taken from us on 30th June 2003 aged 14 years. My baby x my wee mentor x X mami X Loved dearly by her dad Jimmy and much loved wee sis of Joeseph and Janine.” Some lyrics from the Nirvana song, Com As You Are are carved above the band’s smiley face logo. Below this, it reads, “We can feel sad that she is gone or open our eyes, smile, love and go on as she’d want,” and calls her a ray of sunshine.

Jodi’s family had asked Mitchell to stay away from Jodi’s funeral. In the documentary Murder In A Small Town, Corrine Mitchell explains that they decided to conduct a small ceremony at their home so Mitchell could pay his respects and say goodbye to Jodi. Corrine Mitchell had doubts when Sky News asked if they could film it, but she eventually agreed. The news crew filmed their ceremony and questioned Mitchell and his mother. At one point the reporter asked Mitchell if he had killed his girlfriend. Mitchell replied, “No. I never, I wouldn’t.” He said was happening was worse than a nightmare and, “All the police accusations I couldn’t care about. I just want to find out what happened and who did it.'”

After Jodi’s funeral service, Mitchell, his mother and two female friends visited Jodi’s grave. They stayed for about 40 minutes and Mitchell left red roses with a message that read, “Jodi, luv you always, Mitchell” Shortly after they left, Jodi’s family removed the flowers.

Mitchell’s home ceremony and interiew was broadcast later the same day and was met with immediate backlash. One tabloid newspaper consulted a psychologist who said he saw no real signs of grief and suggested that Mitchell had rehearsed what he was going to say to Sky News. The interview had come as a surprise to the police. When asked about it, a police source later told the Herald that they still had only one suspect.

The police asked people who had been on the path on the evening Jodi was killed to give samples of their DNA, and on September 12, the Daily Record reported that eight local people came forward to provide their DNA. The article recapped that Luke Mitchell, 15, found Jodi’s body.

On September 14, The Sunday Mail reported that DNA recovered from saliva found close to where Jodi was killed was not Mitchell’s. It also said, “Detectives have always played down speculation that more than one person was involved in Jodi’s murder,” it also said that the police were still looking for the stocky man who was following Jodi on the day of her death.

The Daily Record, which is the sister paper to The Sunday Mail, reported a ‘Jodi Law War.’ The article explained that the police felt they had enough evidence to charge a suspect but that the procurator fiscal in charge of the investigation was reluctant to move pn without more information.


On October 1, the same paper printed an article with the headline, ‘Jodi cops to name the prime suspect.’ The police had compiled a report that named their main suspect and included statements from hundreds of witnesses, and detailed results of DNA and forensic tests. The article repeats that Jodi was going to meet Mitchell, and also that Jodie never arrived at Mitchell’s home. It also said that six hours later, Mitchell discovered her body with a relative.

On October 9, the police conducted another search for the murder weapon. They used high-powered metal detectors to search the woodland more thoroughly and extended their search to nearby parkland, drains and a sewage treatment works. But after two days they had found nothing of interest.


On Friday 21 November, the police submitted a report to the procurator-fiscal. In this, they named Luke Mitchell as their sole suspect. The contents of this report were leaked to the media who quickly reported that Mitchell was the police’s only suspect in Jodi’s murder. Mitchell and his family say they learned of this through the media. Their lawyer was reported as saying, “Mitchell is very, very upset to hear about being named, especially through the press. He is having considerable difficulty coming to terms with what has happened. This news will ruin this child’s life.”

On November 26, Gorden Dickie gave another statement to the police. In this he claimed that John Ferris had told him that some time after Jodi was killed, his sister, Yvonne, found a pair of damp and muddy gloves behind a radiator and gave them to the police. Yvonne said they had strands of brown hair on them. When the police collected them they were in a bed drawer where John Ferris kept his wallet. Tests showed they had been submerged in water and although they hadn’t been washed with detergent, there were ‘no reportable results.’ There was no mention of the strands of hair.

Gordon Dickie’s father had also been in the area Jodi was killed on the day of the murder. David Dickie told the police that he had walked his eight dogs in the area where Jodi’s body was found at around 8 pm on the evening Jodi was killed. He said he didn’t see Jodi’s body  while out with his dogs but when the police tested his shoes, the sole of one tested positive for blood. There is no more information about this blood such as whether the police were able to get a DNA profile from it.


On the morning of April 14, 2004, the police raided the Mitchell home again. This time, police officers arrested Mitchell, and detained his brother and his mother, Corrine. The police released Corrine after several hours of questioning and charged his brother, Shaun, with attempting to pervert the course of justice. Corrine was later charged with the same offense.

On April 16, the Daily Record reported that a 15-year-old boy had been arrested in connection with Jodi’s murder. The article repeats that Jodi was going to meet her boyfriend, but doesn’t name Mitchell.

Luke Mitchell turned 16 on 24 July 2004. The laws at the time meant that he was now old enough to be identified to the public.

The trial

Mitchell’s trial began in November 2005. A special courtroom had been set up in which a full-scale replica of the section of the wall with the v-shaped break had been constructed. 

According to the crown, Jodi was ungrounded or uncurfewed at around 4:30 pm and left her home to meet Mitchell at 4:50 pm. Jodi met Luke at her end of Roan’s Dyke path and was last seen there at around 5 pm. Between then and 5:15, they argued that Mitchell attacked Jodi near the v in the wall. Mitchell killed Jodi with a knife in what was described as a frenzied attack. He then fled leaving Jodi’s body in the woodland over the wall from Roan’s Dyke path and went home. At 5:40 he called Jodi’s house and asked if Jodi was there. He cleaned away any evidence of Jodi’s blood on him and called his friends at 6:50 pm. Mitchell met and hung out with his friends until about 9 pm and went home. After hearing from Jodi’d family that she hadn’t returned home, Mitchell went back out to join the search. By now it was after 11 pm. Mitchell met Jodi’s family on Roan’s Dyke path and shortly after, he climbed over the v break in the wall and found Jodi’s body. At some point that night, a neighbour smelled something odd burning in the Mitchells log burner. At around midnight, Mitchell was taken to the police station where he remained until almost 7 am the next morning.

In addition to the murder of Jodi Jones, Luke Mitchell was also accused unlawful possession of knives in a public place and with the supply of cannabis resin to a number of people, including Jodi.

In Scotland, the outcome of a criminal trial can be guilty, not guilty or not proven. Mitchell was pleading not guilty to all charges with the special defenses of alibi and incrimination. The police had found no direct evidence that indicated Mitchell was responsible for Jodi’s murder and the case against him for it was entirely circumstantial. The Crown’s case for him being guilty was based on three pillars of evidence. One, that Mitchell knew where her body was. Two, Ms Bryant’s eyewitness testimony of seeing Mitchell with Jodi at the end of Roan’s Dyke path, and three, Mitchell not having an alibi.

After five days, the trial was abandoned because of one jury member’s “delight” at being on the jury and the revelation that another member of the jury’s son went to the same school as Jodi Jones and Luke Mitchell.

When the trial restarted, the prosecution called witnesses who testified to seeing Mitchell with knives. A 14-year-old who knew Mitchell was shown a leather knife pouch with Jodi’s initials above, 666, the year of her birth and death and the Nirvana lyric, ‘The finest day I ever had was when tomorrow never came.’ The witness said he had seen Mitchell with the pouch and that he had also seen Mitchell use a Swiss Army-type knife and a thin-bladed penknife to cut cannabis. The jury were told that when the police searched Mitchell’s bedroom, they had found 20 bottles of his own urine.

A 17-year-old witness testified that Mitchell once told her, “he could just imagine himself going out and getting stoned and killing somebody and how funny it would be.”

The court was also told that Mitchell was seeing another girl at the same time as he was seeing Jodi and their similar appearance of the two girls was emphasised. According to this girl, she didn’t know about Jodi until she read of her death. From forensically examining Mitchell’s phone, the police had discovered that the messages from this girl had been deleted.

One of Mitchell’s schoolteachers testified that she had referred Mitchell to a guidance teacher after he wrote an essay titled ‘Pain and suffering.’  Some of his essay read, ‘If God forgives everyone, then why the need to be sent to Hell. If you ask me, God is just a futile excuse, at the most, for a bunch of fools to go around annoying others who want nothing to do with them. Are these people insane? Open your eyes. People like you need satanic people like me to keep the balance.’

The teacher told the court that she found the content quite worrying and unusual, and that it was the first time she had ever referred a student to the guidance staff because of a piece of writing.

Part of another of Mitchell’s essays read, ‘So what if I am a Goth in a Catholic school? So what if I dress in baggy clothes? Just because I am more violent than others and cut myself, does that justify some pompous git of a teacher to refer me to a psychiatrist? Just because I have chosen to follow the teachings of Satan doesn’t mean I need psychiatric help.’

Mitchell’s school notebooks were also brought into court. Some of the messages Mitchell had written on them were read to the jury. Some examples include, “Taste the Devil’s green blood” and “Satan master lead us into Hell,” “Fuck the Queen” and “Fuck the world.” Donald Findlay QC, Mitchell’s lawyer, cross-examined Mitchell’s teacher and questioned, “This is an assortment of rubbish on a kid’s jotter, isn’t it?” Mitchell’s school teacher agreed.

At one point, his lawyer read extracts from Jodi’s diary including a poem she had written entitled ‘Burn Your Wings In Hell.’

Judy Jones testified about Jodi coming home from school. She described how Jodi text Mitchell to arrange to meet and then sat on the sofa next to her, playing games on her phone until Mitchell replied. Judy told how she had played Jodi a Rod Stewart song before she went and got ready. Describing Jodi leaving the house, Judy said, “She came into the living room and said ‘That’s me off now Mum’ and she gave me a kiss.” She also told the court of Jodi asking her to save some lasagne and agreed that she left the house at around 4:50 pm.

The prosecution had questioned why Mitchell hadn’t called Jodi’s house after the 5:40 pm call when Allan told him that Jodi had left. Mitchell answered that he thought Jodi had been grounded again. During the trial, Turnbull asked Judy why Mitchell might have thought that Jodi might have been grounded. Judy said she had no idea why he might have thought that. Judy said that if she was meeting someone and they hadn’t arrived, she would have phoned to ask where they were.

When Mitchell’s lawyer asked Judy why she hadn’t contacted Mitchell to see if he had found Jodi, Judy said she had been making a meal and hadn’t realised the time.

Judy’s partner, Allen Ovens, testified about answering the phone to Mitchell. When the defense asked him if he got the impression that Mitchell was, “agitated, uptight, champing at the bit or in a bad temper or anything like that?” Allen Ovens said no.

When Andrina Bryson gave her testimony about seeing a male and female at the entrance to the path she said it looked very strange. She said the male was standing quite a few steps away from the female with his arms by his side with his palms facing out. Ms Bryson described the female as wearing a navy blue, hooded jumper and trousers of similar colour. She said the male was wearing a green fishing style jacket with matching trousers and he had sandy colored hair. She had been ‘taken aback’ when she saw Mitchell’s photo in the newspaper and thought it looked like the same person she had seen. However, when she was asked if she recognised the male she saw in court, she replied that she didn’t know. Mitchell did look considerably different in court from how he looked two years before on the day of the murder; his hair was tied back and he looked older.

Witnesses who knew Mitchell and had seen him on the night of the murder described him wearing a green bomber-style jacket with orange lining, baggy jeans, and distinctive, light-coloured snowboarding boots. In a later statement, one of these witnesses said that Mitchell might have been wearing a German army shirt.

The cyclist told of hearing something from behind the wall of Roan’s Dyke path. He testified, “I thought somebody had somebody in a headlock. It was a strangling sort of sound, a human thing.”

John Ferris and Gorden Dickie both testified. In the days following their elimination from police inquiries, they had both handed in knives they claimed belonged to Mitchell. Ferris, who was 18 at time of trial, admitted that Mitchell used to buy cannabis from him two or three times a week and that he often saw Luke Mitchell with knives. He said that he was supposed to visit Jodi’s brother on the day Jodi was murdered but he had decided against it. When asked why it had taken him so long to go to the police after Jodi was killed, Ferris said that he didn’t know. He also had no answer for not telling any of Jodi’s family that he had been on the path around the time Join was killed or to explain cutting his hair the next morning.

Ferris said he initially told the police that he was on the path at the wrong time because the clock at Gorden Dickie’s house was wrong. Findlay put it to him that he and Dickie may have been in the area around the time that Jodi was attacked and asked, “yet you saw nothing and heard nothing?” Mr Ferris answered, “No.” The barrister then asked, “You would have the jury believe you know nothing?” Mr Ferris answered, “Yes.” Ferris denied having anything to do Jodi’s death. 

Ferris confirmed that he was no longer welcome at his grandmother’s house and that Jodi’s mother had told him that Jodi’s brother Joseph was going to “batter” him.

Dickie also denied having anything to do with Jodi’s death. Like Ferris, he said that he couldn’t remember what they were doing on the path. He claimed that he didn’t approach the police because he didn’t believe he had anything to tell them.

Although Mitchell didn’t testify at his trial, part of the statements he gave to the police were read during his trial. He described Jodi’s grandmother, sister and her sister’s fiance as “panicky” when he joined them on the path. Mitchell told Jodi’s family his dog was a tracking dog and asked if they had anything of Jodi’s for her to smell. They didn’t have anything, so Mitchell gave the command “seek Jodi, find Jodi.” Luke Mitchell said, “We walked past the V-shaped break in the wall and a few yards past that, not even 20 yards past that, Mia stopped and put her nose in the air and put her paws up on the wall as if trying to sniff over.”

The Herald reported Mitchell as saying, ”By this point I had managed to get the dog tracking.”

He remembered telling the others, “I think she has smelled something,” and described going back to the V to climb over. He turned left and made his way along the woodland side of the wall to where Mia was sniffing. Mitchell’s statement continued, “I saw this white thing which stuck out in the light. I could see it was legs, like a tailor’s dummy. After I saw the legs I just took another step then I recognised it was a body lying there.” He said he could see it was a naked female and there was blood on her neck. His statement says, “I thought it was Jodi. I just recognised the face. It looked like Jodi’s.”

Janine testified that Mitchell had said that Mia was a tracking dog and had askedher  if she had anything of Jodi’s for the dog to smell, however, Janine said that Mitchell had gone directly to the v and climbed over. Janine’s grandmother and fiance also testified that Mitchell went directly to the v.

At one point during Janine’s testimony, Turnbull, prosecuting, asked her to join him by the replica wall. Turnbull walked along the wall and past the v-shaped break. When Janine had settled back into the witness box, Turnbull asked her, “In your mind, is there any possibility that Luke Mitchell was ever as far past the V as the point I went to?” Janine replied, “No.” 

Turnbull continued to question Janine about Mitchell’s behaviour upon finding Jodi’s body. Janine’s answers implied that Mitchell was unaffected by the discovery and didn’t show the emotions she and other members of the search party felt.

When Findlay cross-examined Janine, he said, “Had it not been for Luke Mitchell, the search party would have walked past Jodi and left her where she was.” Janine replied that she felt sick and was given a 15-minute break. After this, Findlay reminded her that in her first statement she had told police that “everyone was in hysterics” after discovering Jodi’s body. Janine replied that the only time Mitchell showed any emotion was when he was on the phone with the 999 operator and when she and the othershad shouted at him. When Findlay asked, “Are you saying the police have written something wrong in the statement?” she responded, “I may have phrased it wrong. They may have taken it down wrong,” and commented, “I didn’t mean everyone was in hysterics. As I said, the police have misrepresented it.”

When Jodi’s grandmother, Alice Walker, spoke of finding Jodi’s body she saw a light-coloured shape and first thought it was an animal. When she moved around, she realised it was Jodi. Alice Walker said, “I did go closer up to Jodi and touched her forehead and I went back to the wall again.” When Mitchell’s lawyer asked her if Jodi ever went down the path on her own, Alice said no.

One of the women who had seen the boy thought to be Mitchell standing opposite the entrance to Roan’s Dyke path after the murder, told the court that at the time she had commented that he looks as if he has been up to no good. The woman explained, “It was just the way he was standing. He wasn’t looking as if he was waiting on anyone. His face – he was watching the ground, the pavement, constantly.” The defense asked, “He was doing nothing that was in any way wrong, menacing, threatening or distressing, is that correct?” The witness answered, “Yes,” and added, “It just didn’t look right. I am sorry, but it didn’t.” According to the prosecution’s timeline, this was after Mitchell had killed Jodi. The women’s statements said the teenage boy was wearing a dark jacket, possibly dark green, with black baggy jeans and had dark hair, which was possibly wet or styled with gel. Both women first said they didn’t see his face, but they both identified Mitchell as the youth during the trial. When asked how they were then able to identify Mitchell when they hadn’t seen his face, they said that they had looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the teen brush his hair from his face and they got a glimpse of his face. Neither witness had said this in any earlier statement and they hadn’t described and facial features. When the prosecution asked one of the witnesses if she could identify the person she had seen, she responded: “Not sure”. When the prosecution asked whether she could from a different angle or perspective, the eyewitness replied “Yes, but his head is different.”

The detective who had taken Mitchell’s statement shortly after he found Jodi’s body said Mitchell was perfectly calm throughout the time it took to take his statement.

Donald Findlay QC questioned pathologist Anthony Busuttil about Jodi’s injuries and suggested they showed that, “this girl fought literally to the death,” to which the pathologist agreed. Findlay then noted that there were no marks that showed Mitchell had been in such a struggle, “not a bump, scratch, bruise or abrasion.”

Marilyn Manson painted a series of watercolours of murdered actress Elizabeth Short, known as the Black Dahlia. A Herald article from January 7 reads, ‘Members of the jury were shown a series of paintings by the goth rocker Marilyn Manson, who is known to be “obsessed” with the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short in Hollywood in 1947.’ The prosecution showed the paintings and told the jury of the similarities between her injuries and Jodi’s.

Donald Findlay QC pointed out that there was no evidence that Mitchell had even seen Manson’s paintings and argued that any similarities between Elizabeth Short’s murder and Jodi’s were superficial. Both victims had suffered knife wounds to some of the same body parts but Miss Short’s body had been cut in half. Findlay introduced a report from another pathologist which finished, “In summary, I see no forensically significant similarity between the injuries present on the two victims, allowing for the fact that they are both, apparently, sexually motivated homicides of young women.”

On December 23 the court was shown a Marilyn Manson video titled the Golden Age of Grotesque. The video contained shots of two girls tied together and struggling near a country track as hoods are placed over their heads.

Part of a statement that a friend of Jodi and Mitchell had given to the police in September was read to the court. When asked about Jodi and Mitchell she had said, “They really, really loved each other. They were always hugging and stuff, which was cool because most guys won’t do that in front of people.” She described being angry with Mitchell when he purchased a knife after Jodi’s death and telling him that it was disrespectful. Mitchell had replied that it was only for cutting weed. When asked if she thought Mitchell had anything to do with Jodi’s death she replied, “No, I would – see – if he did tell me I would have killed him there and then and it would have been me sitting in the jail now.” and then added, “I think he is innocent.”

Mitchell’s brother Shane told the court that he thought Mitchell was home on the evening Jodi was killed, but that he couldn’t be sure because he didn’t see him. The charges against Corrine and Shane had been abandoned just before the start of Mitchell’s trial, however, the court was told that Corrine had been interviewed in connection with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

This was for giving Luke an alibi and in relation to a green parka-style jacket. The crown said that Mitchell wore the parka jacket when he killed Jodi and then, likely with the help of his mum had disposed of the jacket, most likely by burning it.

Mitchell and his mother claimed that he didn’t have a jacket like this when Jodi was killed. Corrine admits she did buy a dark green jacket for her son but it was after July 4 when the police had taken Mitchell’s other clothing to be tested. She maintains that she gave the family liaison officer the receipt for the parka.

However,  two witnesses said they had seen Mitchell wearing a green parka. The first was a teacher. He testified that he had seen Luke in school wearing a parka before the murder. The next witness’s testimony implied that he saw Mitchell wearing the parka in a local store after Jodi was killed. He knew Mitchell from primary school. When asked, this witness said he noticed Mitchell’s parka because “The murder and everything.”

Before giving her statement, Corrine was warned to tell the truth. Prosecutor Alan Turnbull QC, asked her, “Are you sure, Mrs Mitchell, that you understand the importance of telling the truth in court?” and “Do you understand, for instance, it is a crime to lie in court? It is a crime of perjury and the crime of perjury in a murder trial is very serious crime indeed.” Corrine replied that she understood and said, “Everything my entire family told police is true.”

The jury was told how Corrine had accompanied Mitchell to get a tattoo and helped him lie about his age. Turnbull also questioned her about her forgetting to tell the police about a knife she had bought for Mitchell to take on a camping trip six months after Jodi’s murder. About this Turnbull said, “That evidence provides the best example of the fact that you had joined in with Mitchell, doesn’t it?” The prosecutor had previously told her, “The thing that I’m going to suggest is that you abandoned all effort to exercise parental control over Mitchell. That your relationship with him changed from one of parent and child to that of accomplice.”

In his closing, Mitchell’s lawyer described the murder saying, “It was a cruel and barbaric act and, if you believe in the concept of evil in the world, then it was truly an act of unspeakable evil. Jodi was 14. Her life was cruelly taken from her. She was by all accounts a bright young teenager, intelligent.” He reminded the court that he, and therefore Mitchell, didn’t have to prove anything and that it was up to the Crown to prove Mitchell’s guilt. He went on to say, “This trial is not concerned in any way, shape, or form with finding out who killed Jodi. This trial is to answer one simple question – has the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mitchell killed Jodi?”

On day 41 of the trial, the jury began their deliberations. After three-and-a-half hours, the jury was sent home for the night. They began deliberating again the next morning. After another couple of hours, the jury found Mitchell guilty by majority.

Judge Lord Nimmo Smith addressed Mitchell telling him, “You have been convicted of a truly evil murder – one of the most appalling crimes that any of us can remember – and you will rightly be regarded as wicked.”

Mitchell was handed an unlimited sentence with a minimum of 20 years.

Court documents




Newspaper articles

TIMELINE [Jodi Jones Murder Case] | HeraldScotland

Luke Mitchell interview: I would rather stay behind bars than admit my guilt for murder of Jodi Jones | HeraldScotland

Murder in a small town: Could Luke Mitchell be innocent of the murder of Jodi Jones? | HeraldScotland

Luke Mitchell: 10 pieces of evidence and facts NOT mentioned in Channel 5 documentary over Jodi Jones murder

Jodi Jones killer Luke Mitchell’s freedom bid backed by Tory council candidate sparking fury – Daily Record

Mum’s fury at Jodi Jones documentary makers after wrongly suspected son’s ‘name blackened’ – Daily Record

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/search/?q=jodi+jones (all articles)

Daily Record articles from July 1st 2003 through to around April 2004 accessed via Facebook group

I think I’m actually in love with Luke.. well nearly. He is just so sweet. No matter what he says I believe him -Jodi Jones on boyfriend Mitchell. – Free Online Library

NEW JODI CLUE; DNA sample at death scene is different from boyfriend Luke. – Free Online Library

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Police rule out Jodi appeal man

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Grandmother touched Jodi’s body

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Upset Jodi witness in court exit

Luke Mitchell takes lie detector over Jodi Jones death – BBC News

Charity backs fresh appeal by Jodie Jones’ killer Luke Mitchell – TFN

Ex-drug dealer denies he was behind murder of ‘cousin Jodi’ | The Scotsman

Corinne Mitchell fights to free her son | The Scotsman

Police seek youth who trailed Jodi | The Scotsman

Boyfriend is sole suspect in case of murdered girl, 14 | The Times

Book: Innocents Betrayed: A True Story of Justice Abandoned by Sandra Lean

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jjlmofficial