Campaigners to Launch New Appeal for Luke Mitchell
An attempt to free Luke Mitchell, who was convicted of brutally murdering his Scottish teenage girlfriend more than a decade ago, is to be made by MOJO and other campaigners, who believe he was wrongly jailed for the crime.
The mutilated body of Jodi Jones, 14, from Dalkeith in Midlothian, was found in woods near her home in 2003. Mitchell, also 14 at the time, was convicted of her killing in 2005 and ordered to serve at least 20 years in prison. Mitchell, now 29, has consistently protested his innocence and has lodged several unsuccessful appeals against his conviction.
The Glasgow-based Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO) confirmed last week that it is helping campaigners to compile a new report to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in the hope of persuading it to review Mitchell’s conviction.
The charity believes that flaws in the original police investigation led to a miscarriage of justice and must be re-examined. One shortcoming is understood to be the failure of detectives to consider a number of other men who, according to the review group, should have been considered as potential suspects but were either never interviewed or not properly investigated.
A spokesman for the charity said it is pursuing new leads which it cannot disclose publicly but are likely to form the basis for a new appeal.
Those involved in the campaign to prove Mitchell’s innocence include Paddy Hill, one of the six men wrongly convicted of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and Dr Sandra Lean, a criminologist who spearheaded a previous appeal to the SCCRC in 2014.
Professor Allan Jamieson, a leading forensics expert who has questioned the reliance on DNA evidence in a number of high-profile court cases, has agreed to review the police evidence against Mitchell.
“I have looked very closely at this case and I remain extremely concerned and disturbed that Luke was convicted of this crime based on the evidence presented,” said Hill, who was released in 1991 after 17 years in jail. “There are solid grounds for the case to be reviewed and we hope to convince the SCCRC of that in due course.”
Lean, who was reported to have distanced herself from the campaign in recent years, said: “After 11 years, I needed a break, I was exhausted. I’m still involved and the SCCRC can review the case again if new information comes to light. There are still avenues that have not been addressed and it’s down to us to present a compelling case for why they should be.”
The case, once described by an investigating officer and a trial judge as the worst murder they had seen, has troubled some observers. The murder weapon was never found and there was no DNA evidence linking Mitchell to the crime scene.
In 2012, Lean and Mitchell’s mother, Corinne, delivered a 300-page dossier to the SCCRC, which included claims that a Mitchell lookalike may have confused eyewitnesses. The SCCRC later concluded that although police officers breached Mitchell’s human rights when they questioned him without a lawyer present, it did not believe he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
Sunday Times Scotland