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Tags Ian Stephen , Jodi Jones , Luke Mitchell , murder cases

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Old 7th March 2021, 09:20 PM   #281
McStarj19
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Thanks again for your insights, Rolfe (and indeed to the other forum members who have contributed to this thread). A lot for me to digest. As I said, I need to familiarise myself with this case more; everything discussed on here thus far, though thorough and extensive at times, just seems like a drop in the ocean when one considers the different facets of the case and the myriad of possibilities as to what may have happened on that fateful day in June 2003. Hell, I remember when the news broke of this case and how ubiquitous it seemed to become very quickly, but, for all its enormity notoriety, I really didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time, never went out of my way to find out about the circumstances of it, and had a sort of indifferent attitude towards it, putting it down simply to ‘just another teen tragedy’ (I was in my mid twenties at the time and studying in Glasgow). Now, having revisited the case, in middle age, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined just how remarkable it was/is; it really is shocking, heinous, brutal, tragic, bizarre . . . and utterly mysterious and baffling. Looks like we’ll never ever ascertain exactly what happened to poor Jodi and who was responsible for her brutal murder.

Anyway, just another few points:

Robert Greens. Apparantely he had been in the area that day visiting his sister (or some relative of his). Was this ever investigated?

There’s been much speculation about LM’s whereabouts and movements that day. Allegedly, there is a path back to LM’s front door via a secluded route (it’s a route that involves traversing a small river) and is a short-cut putting him out of open view.

LM supposedly said he wasn’t familiar with the V area when questioned, and yet he & JJ’s initials were carved on a tree near where her body was found (suggesting the carving had been there pre murder) and it was alleged that it was quite a common rendezvous for teens at the time.

SM’s alibi for LM. Did he admit to masturbating in his bedroom on the afternoon of 30.06.03 between 1650 - 1715? Or did the cops suggest he was? There’s no doubt he would’ve been interrogated in the same intimidating manner as his brother was, but, to me, parts of his testimony must’ve been particularly incriminating for LM. In fact, it’s this part that I can’t quite get my head around (especially as he said he had been ‘surprised’ by his mother’s input into his initial alibi for LM; of course, it could all be innocent, too).

Thoughts?
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Old 7th March 2021, 09:41 PM   #282
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The Fleming/Walsh sighting is candy-floss. It's not incriminating even if it was Luke, but the likelihood that the ladies confabulated the sighting after reading about the murder and seeing pictures of tLuke in the papers is high.
I get the gist of what you are saying — and you backed it up with another insightful, thorough and articulate post — but the eyewitness indicated that it was a little bit more than merely looking as if he had been up to no good; the inference being that he was looking particularly up to no good, as if he was hiding something serious (she said you really had to have been there to appreciate what she meant; I get that most goths/alternative types would probably look as though they were up to no good to a woman of here age, but I got the feeling that the feeling she got from him was a little more disconcerting and serious).
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Old 8th March 2021, 04:47 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by McStarj19 View Post
I get the gist of what you are saying — and you backed it up with another insightful, thorough and articulate post — but the eyewitness indicated that it was a little bit more than merely looking as if he had been up to no good; the inference being that he was looking particularly up to no good, as if he was hiding something serious (she said you really had to have been there to appreciate what she meant; I get that most goths/alternative types would probably look as though they were up to no good to a woman of here age, but I got the feeling that the feeling she got from him was a little more disconcerting and serious).
This kid no more is doing a lag that no one posting here considers their passage to adulthood.
Do you?
Feelings on feelings like la sagna are at odds with the design of the forum.
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Old 8th March 2021, 04:53 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
This kid no more is doing a lag that no one posting here considers their passage to adulthood.
Do you?
Feelings on feelings like la sagna are at odds with the design of the forum.
Translation to English please?
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Old 8th March 2021, 05:33 AM   #285
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a corked bat

I have very little free time ATM, but let me outline the issue with Shane. First two quotes from Murderpedia:

"He agreed that this was not an activity he would have engaged in if he thought anyone else was in the house and so he failed to corroborate Mitchell's alibi."

"Shane Mitchell's ultimate position in cross-examination appeared to be that he could not be sure whether the appellant was in the house between 1653 and 1716 on the evening of the murder."

In Innocents Betrayed the consideration of Shane Mitchell's testimony begins on p. 303, Chapter 17 (it was reading this chapter for the second time that really got me angry that the police were playing with a corked bat in regards to this case). On page 317 she wrote about the implication by the prosecution QC that Shane had been masturbating, "Notice that Shane did not agree the that this was something he was definitely doing."
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Old 8th March 2021, 05:38 AM   #286
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What is wrong with the youth of today

Originally Posted by McStarj19 View Post
...putting it down simply to ‘just another teen tragedy’ (I was in my mid twenties at the time and studying in Glasgow). Now, having revisited the case, in middle age, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined just how remarkable it was/is; it really is shocking, heinous, brutal, tragic, bizarre . . . and utterly mysterious and baffling. Looks like we’ll never ever ascertain exactly what happened to poor Jodi and who was responsible for her brutal murder.
Sometimes when the press writes a story along the lines of "What has happened to the youth of today," it turns out that the youth are just fine, and it's the adults who are misbehaving. The West Memphis Three, the Duke lacrosse case, and the Knox/Sollecito case fall into this category.

We may not be able to find out exactly what did happen, but I am confident about at least one thing that did not happen.
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Old 8th March 2021, 05:51 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
This kid no more is doing a lag that no one posting here considers their passage to adulthood.
Do you?
Feelings on feelings like la sagna are at odds with the design of the forum.
Yeah, okay. Feelings and hunches are worthless and prove nothing in a court of law, and, by god, wouldn’t it be grossly and unimaginably unjust and unfair if a person’s hunch proved to be a significant factor in securing a life-altering conviction against a young man of 16 years of age and potentially ruining his life? However, taking the circumstantial evidence in its totality, including witness Fleming’s hunch, the weight of said evidence is all is very substantial.
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Old 8th March 2021, 06:10 AM   #288
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drive-by hunches versus forensics

Originally Posted by McStarj19 View Post
However, taking the circumstantial evidence in its totality, including witness Fleming’s hunch, the weight of said evidence is all is very substantial.
I seem to recall Greg Hampikian's saying that he cannot tell who is lying and who is telling the truth, but the DNA can tell.

If what you are saying is that enough pieces of weak evidence can make a strong case, then I will respond that there is an unstated premise that may not be true, namely that the individual pieces of evidence are independent of one another. There is a paper circa 2012 coauthored by Saul Kassin that makes this point more forcefully than any other that I have read, but I do not have the reference at my fingertips just now.
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Old 8th March 2021, 06:19 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
I have very little free time ATM, but let me outline the issue with Shane. First two quotes from Murderpedia:

"He agreed that this was not an activity he would have engaged in if he thought anyone else was in the house and so he failed to corroborate Mitchell's alibi."

"Shane Mitchell's ultimate position in cross-examination appeared to be that he could not be sure whether the appellant was in the house between 1653 and 1716 on the evening of the murder."

In Innocents Betrayed the consideration of Shane Mitchell's testimony begins on p. 303, Chapter 17 (it was reading this chapter for the second time that really got me angry that the police were playing with a corked bat in regards to this case). On page 317 she wrote about the implication by the prosecution QC that Shane had been masturbating, "Notice that Shane did not agree the that this was something he was definitely doing."
I haven’t read Sandra’s book, and nor have I studied this case in detail, but, for goodness’ sake, how could he not remember for definite if he was masturbating or not? The inference from your quote is that there was an element of doubt in Shane’s mind wether he was masturbating or not. I find it very odd that he definitely couldn’t remember if he was or wasn’t doing this. Was this lapse in memory caused by his alleged previous drug addiction? Surely Shane, even though a young man at the time, wouldn’t allow the police to manipulate him or bully him into giving ambiguous evidence? I find Shane’s testimony to be very frustrating, as it probably was a very significant factor in the Prosecution’s case.
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Old 8th March 2021, 06:25 AM   #290
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flying their true colors

You have to read her book or the testimony itself to get the full flavor for how they badgered him. In addition I would argue that the policy showed their true colors even earlier, from the questioning of Shane by the police liaison officer. From what I can remember of my reading about the afternoon in question, Shane was looking up information on some sort of repair job, and there were brief connections to pornographic sites, suggesting that these were pop-up ads which he closed.

Possibly Shane should have been told to expect confrontational questioning, or perhaps he was naive.
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Old 8th March 2021, 06:29 AM   #291
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a police/prosecution double standard

"Although Shane and Corrine Mitchell‟s discussion about their statements raised enough suspicion to have them charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice (although these charges were later dropped, having served the purpose of creating suspicion of wrongdoing, without actually having to prove it), the admitted discussions between Ferris and Dickie, before speaking to the police, raise no such suspicions or charges. Indeed the composite story from these two is used as evidence against Luke in court. It is worth noting that these two people had almost five days to discuss their story – the amendment to Shane‟s statement was made within 48 hours." link
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:28 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
I seem to recall Greg Hampikian's saying that he cannot tell who is lying and who is telling the truth, but the DNA can tell.

If what you are saying is that enough pieces of weak evidence can make a strong case, then I will respond that there is an unstated premise that may not be true, namely that the individual pieces of evidence are independent of one another. There is a paper circa 2012 coauthored by Saul Kassin that makes this point more forcefully than any other that I have read, but I do not have the reference at my fingertips just now.
Now we are venturing into the technicalities and rules of the law. I am not qualified to get embroiled in such discourse, as I am merely an armchair detective. I can’t remember what the rules are with regard to individual pieces of evidence — I remember reading about something along the lines of, as you mentioned, each strand of evidence having to be strong enough when considered independently — but I think witnesses Fleming’s and Welsh’s evidence was used in court. To what extent it was useful to the prosecution, or how much of an impact it had on the outcome of the case, no one will ever know. But, you have to bear in mind, that just because someone is selected for the jury, does not necessarily mean they are a fit and proper person (this is what’s assumed); they are merely average men and women with limited IQs, knowledge, impaired mental health (individuals who’ve lived a life of crime and gotten away with it) — individuals affected by every day problems like you and I. Consequently, they don’t always get it right, and neither, probably more than we would feel comfortable with, does the law. The system is flawed, but it’s all we have.
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:39 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Bear in mind though that there was more to it than that. He didn't just have to get to the locus, he had to get to the Bryson sighting on Easthouses Road, by 16:54 at the latest. Then he had to get from there to the locus, do the murder, then from there to be at the Fleming/Walsh sighting on Newbattle Road by 17:45.

Bear in mind also that it wasn't just his hands that were dirty, the forensic examiner said there was ingrained dirt on his neck and his hair was greasy and unwashed.
Which makes the prosecution claim he murdered her and had time to deal with all forensic transfer (blood, DNA, fibres and injuries) even more unlikely.
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:48 AM   #294
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
None of that should be grounds for charging someone though, if there is no evidence they actually did the murder. Grounds for suspicion, sure. Reason to investigate further, absolutely. But sole grounds for prosecution? I don't think so.

Also, if you apply that lot to a number of other people connected to Jodi, I'll just bet you could get closer to a full house than with Luke.
MAGICOP is the basic guide for building a case out of circumstantial evidence. It is how the case against Luke Mitchell was built. I am quite sure that MAGICOP would produce results equal to or exceeding the case against Mitchell.

After the lack of forensic transfer, the other reason why I think the conviction is unsafe, is because Mitchell was investigated to a greater degree than anyone else. Everyone who was at the murder scene should have been forensically examined. Everyone connected to the locus that day should have been forensically examined, including their houses. That wide net approach is justified for elimination purposes. MAGICOP should have also been applied to all of those people.

In my admittedly limited experience of murder enquiries, Mitchell was investigated as if he had admitted to the crime, such was the attention on him and limited enquiry about others.
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:53 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
"Although Shane and Corrine Mitchell‟s discussion about their statements raised enough suspicion to have them charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice (although these charges were later dropped, having served the purpose of creating suspicion of wrongdoing, without actually having to prove it), the admitted discussions between Ferris and Dickie, before speaking to the police, raise no such suspicions or charges. Indeed the composite story from these two is used as evidence against Luke in court. It is worth noting that these two people had almost five days to discuss their story – the amendment to Shane‟s statement was made within 48 hours."[/url]
Thanks, Chris. Thanks for your input. As I said, I’ve only recently begun taking an interest in this case. Maybe I’m wrong, but even at this incipient stage of my armchair detecting, it seems that they presumed LM to be guilty as soon as he found the body (they subsequently took him to a separate police station from the others in the search party, took his clothes and belongings, and interrogated him forcefully for 5-6 hours, while the others all mingled with each other for weeks, before being questioned). To what extent they built the case around LM I’m yet to find out, but there unequivocally was/is a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence against LM that it comes as no surprise to me that they actually convicted him (well, that’s my stance even at this early stage of my own research).
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:55 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by McStarj19 View Post
I haven’t read Sandra’s book, and nor have I studied this case in detail, but, for goodness’ sake, how could he not remember for definite if he was masturbating or not? The inference from your quote is that there was an element of doubt in Shane’s mind wether he was masturbating or not. I find it very odd that he definitely couldn’t remember if he was or wasn’t doing this. Was this lapse in memory caused by his alleged previous drug addiction? Surely Shane, even though a young man at the time, wouldn’t allow the police to manipulate him or bully him into giving ambiguous evidence? I find Shane’s testimony to be very frustrating, as it probably was a very significant factor in the Prosecution’s case.
Considering an appeal Judge described the police interview of Luke as "outrageous" and that this all happened pre-Cadder (so no contact with a solicitor prior to an interview) and how easy it is to find inconsistencies in any interview, especially multiple interviews, it is not at all odd that Shane's testimony was made to crumble. That is what the police wanted, to ruin Luke's alibi and the best way to do that is the easy one of make the witnesses appear unreliable.
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:58 AM   #297
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Hasel and Kassin on evidentiary independence

Hasel LE and Kassin SM "On the Presumption of Evidentiary Independence" 2009 Psychological Science 20(1).

"ABSTRACT—A confession is potent evidence, persuasive to judges and juries. Is it possible that a confession can also affect other evidence? The present study tested the hypothesis that a confession will alter eyewitnesses’ identification decisions. Two days after witnessing a staged theft and making an identification decision from a lineup that did not include the thief, participants were told that certain lineup members had confessed or denied guilt during a subsequent interrogation. Among those participants who had made a selection but were told that another lineup member confessed, 61% changed their identifications. Among those participants who had not made an identification, 50% went on to select the confessor when his identity was known. These findings challenge the presumption in law that different forms of evidence are independent and suggest an important overlooked mechanism by which innocent confessors are wrongfully convicted: Potentially exculpatory evidence is corrupted by a confession itself."

IMO the possibility that there is a lack of independence of evidence is not limited to those cases tainted by a false confession. That is why I brought this article up in the discussion of the present case.
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Old 8th March 2021, 09:04 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by McStarj19
I get the gist of what you are saying — and you backed it up with another insightful, thorough and articulate post — but the eyewitness indicated that it was a little bit more than merely looking as if he had been up to no good; the inference being that he was looking particularly up to no good, as if he was hiding something serious (she said you really had to have been there to appreciate what she meant; I get that most goths/alternative types would probably look as though they were up to no good to a woman of here age, but I got the feeling that the feeling she got from him was a little more disconcerting and serious).

You're entitled to your own opinions of course, but I simply can't see where you're getting this from. If I had to pick a hill to die on in this case, a piece of evidence I was persuaded incriminated Luke, it wouldn't be this one.

To recapitulate. Newbattle Road is the B703. Not the main drag, that's the nearby A7, but it's still a fairly straight through route and a relatively fast drive compared to Easthouses Road (of the Bryson sighting), an unclassified road with sharp bends. It's likely the car in which these two ladies were travelling was doing about 40 mph.

It was late afternoon on a sunny day, and the sun would have been more or less in the west (a bit south of west, solar west would have been about an hour and a half later). Look at the map in my earlier post. The sun would have been almost exactly at right angles to the road, from the left as the car drove north. The road ran through woodland at that point and the gate opens into that woodland. Now look at the Google Streetview image, and realise that the sun would have been coming from the opposite direction (the Streetview image was obviously taken in the morning). In fact it looks as if that section of road doesn't get much sunlight at all due to the trees on either side.

So we have a car going at a fair speed (on a gradual downhill incline) along a fairly straight road, with the left hand side in particular in shadow. The car has just entered the shady part and has been travelling through sunlit open country until seconds before.

Rosemary Walsh was driving. I question whether she would have noticed any detail at all of someone leaning against that gate. Lorainne Fleming was in a better position to notice, as she was the passenger and was on the right side of the car to have had a better view. Nevertheless Rosemary seems to have been the one giving most of the detail.

I note now that the pair originally came forward on 8th July, just a week after the murder. Mrs Walsh described someone with dark hair (Luke has blond hair) and said she couldn't see his face because of his hair, which was straggly and between chin and shoulder length. Nevertheless on 21st August, after seeing pictures of Luke in the papers, she apparently exclaimed "My God, that's him!".

Miss Fleming also said initially that she hadn't seen the man's face (!) and also described dark collar-length hair. Both women described a dark, hip-length jacket, which might have been where the "parka" was subsequently deduced from.

Note that Luke was definitely seen, by people who knew him personally, sitting on the end of the wall at the corner of Newbattle Abbey Crescent, about 15 minutes after this sighting. That's about 400 yards further on from the position of the Fleming/Walsh sighting. He was wearing the green bomber jacket with the orange lining he'd had on at school and was still wearing when he went out to look for Jodi much later, baggy jeans, and distinctive white snowboarding boots. (The Fleming/Walsh sighting described dark footwear, shoes or trainers.)

So how likely is it that the person who was leaning against the gate was Luke? The ladies didn't see his face at all and got the colour of his hair wrong. They also said this person's hair was covering his face, and from the pictures of Luke at the time I don't think it's possible that his hair could have done that. They described clothes (and shoes) completely different from what Luke was confirmed to be wearing only 15 minutes later.

Neither lady said anything about the lad looking like a Goth. I'm still waiting to find out what exactly it was about his appearance or behaviour (as much as could be seen by people driving past at about 40 mph) that indicated "he was looking particularly up to no good, as if he was hiding something serious." I mean I get it she said you had to be there to see what she meant, but I'm struggling here. The lad was standing on the footpath beside the road, leaning on a gate. What on earth was so striking about him that it made such an impression in perhaps two or three seconds, which is all the time there would have been to get a look at him? Do tell.

I see absolutely no reason to believe this lad was Luke. I do see a lot of reason to believe these two ladies were tickled pink to be involved in the local cause celebre, and were quite keen to continue their involvement by doing what they could to imply that it was indeed Luke they'd seen.

As I said earlier, if Luke had done what the police believed he'd done, that sighting was about 30 minutes after the murder, and he was on his way home to get rid of the bloodstained parka and then get out to meet his friends as arranged to establish his alibi. The person seen wasn't running, or even walking. He was leaning against a gate. Really? Then when he was seen again 15 minutes later, again he was just sitting at the side of the road doing not a lot, although by then he'd done the big clean-up and changed his clothes.

For pretty much the same reason, I think it's unlikely the lad who was seen was involved in a murder. You've just slashed a teenage girl to death, half an hour ago at the most, and you're standing on a fairly busy public road leaning on a gate? Really?

I'm perfectly happy to believe they saw someone standing there at that time (although they were plumb wrong about the position of the jogger they said they saw a moment later running north towards the bridge - she was identified and she hadn't run that length of road at all, she'd come out of Newbattle Abbey Crescent and turned north from there). I see absolutely no reason to believe it was Luke Mitchell, and no particular reason to imagine that whoever it was had anything to do with the murder.
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Old 8th March 2021, 09:26 AM   #299
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Quote:
There’s been much speculation about LM’s whereabouts and movements that day. Allegedly, there is a path back to LM’s front door via a secluded route (it’s a route that involves traversing a small river) and is a short-cut putting him out of open view.

Well, look at the map I posted, it's quite detailed. He would have had to get across the South Esk river, somehow, and if he didn't use the road bridge the only other possibility seems to be the old bridge which is just downstream of the current road bridge. It's not that secluded. The South Esk isn't that small - you can see the width on the OS map, it's very far from being a wee burn - and nobody seems to have alleged that Luke waded or swam across. There are no other bridges within range that he could have used and still kept to the very tight timeline the police allege.

However the big problem with that suggestion is that this would eliminate the Walsh/Fleming sighting. If Luke cut across the park from the murder scene and crossed the river by the old bridge, still unseen by anyone in the properties looking right at both approaches to that bridge, then he wasn't leaning against the gate on Newbattle Road.
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Old 8th March 2021, 09:34 AM   #300
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SM’s alibi for LM. Did he admit to masturbating in his bedroom on the afternoon of 30.06.03 between 1650 - 1715? Or did the cops suggest he was? There’s no doubt he would’ve been interrogated in the same intimidating manner as his brother was, but, to me, parts of his testimony must’ve been particularly incriminating for LM. In fact, it’s this part that I can’t quite get my head around (especially as he said he had been ‘surprised’ by his mother’s input into his initial alibi for LM; of course, it could all be innocent, too).

Thoughts?

Quote:
I haven’t read Sandra’s book, and nor have I studied this case in detail, but, for goodness’ sake, how could he not remember for definite if he was masturbating or not? The inference from your quote is that there was an element of doubt in Shane’s mind wether he was masturbating or not. I find it very odd that he definitely couldn’t remember if he was or wasn’t doing this. Was this lapse in memory caused by his alleged previous drug addiction? Surely Shane, even though a young man at the time, wouldn’t allow the police to manipulate him or bully him into giving ambiguous evidence? I find Shane’s testimony to be very frustrating, as it probably was a very significant factor in the Prosecution’s case.

As to Shane, I've already said what I think was going on there. He never admitted to masturbating in his bedroom, or as far as I can tell to watching porn in the 12 minutes he was online. The police put the serious frighteners on him and in my opinion he was terrified to swear to anything that he definitely saw or did in case the police decided he was lying and jailed him for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was initially perfectly clear that Luke was there when he got home from work at 4.40, and since his mother wasn't, who cooked the meal he ate if it wasn't Luke? But after serious bullying and threatening from the police, and actually being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice on account of saying that, he got vaguer and vaguer. Not admirable, but I can see where he was coming from.
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Old 8th March 2021, 10:20 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Which makes the prosecution claim he murdered her and had time to deal with all forensic transfer (blood, DNA, fibres and injuries) even more unlikely.

There is a wrinkle to this we have to bear in mind, which may have arisen from a simple misunderstanding.

Luke and Jodi lived, in effect, at opposite ends of that path. They'd been dating for a few months. When they met it was usually to hang around with friends (from school, and family) of about the same age, and this usually happened in Easthouses or Mayfield, at the east side of the path, the side where Jodi lived.

When Judith told Jodi she could go out and meet Luke, Judith believed that Luke was coming to Easthouses to meet Jodi and hang around there as usual. She had no idea Newbattle was to be the venue for the evening hang-out that day. But in fact, according to Luke's version, the text messages they exchanged made the arrangement that Jodi would come to Newbattle on this occasion, which was why Luke was waiting for her close to his house.

Judith vehemently insisted to the police that Jodi was forbidden to walk that path alone, "because it was dangerous", and she would never have done that. She would have expected Luke to come and collect her and then walk back down the path with her if they were indeed going to Newbattle.

There was a lot of discussion about this, but in court Janine admitted that Jodi often walked the path on her own, and Judith knew that perfectly well. It also raises the question, if that path was so dangerous that Jodi was only allowed to walk it with Luke's escort, what were these dangers and why aren't we considering that one of these could have happened to Jodi if she did decide to walk it on her own?

This is probably the hill I'd choose to die on if I had to make a case for Luke's guilt. Why would he have waited for ages in Newbattle when he knew Jodi wouldn't come alone to meet him? If he was going to meet up with her that evening he knew he'd have to collect her from Easthouses even though Newbattle Abbey was the designated rendezvous on this occasion. So he dropped everything the minute he got her text, left his house before Shane returned (so what did Shane eat?), and hurried to Easthouses to collect Jodi an hour earlier than he would usually have done (he usually didn't get there much before six, having cooked the meal, waited for his mother to come home at 5.15, eaten it, and left around 5.30 to walk to Easthouses). Then on the way back towards Newbattle, somehow he murdered her.

If you genuinely believe that Jodi would never have walked that path alone and would have expected Luke to come to meet her, that's your best case I think. Personally I think it's a lot of hooey. Jodi didn't usually have to walk the path, because the usual hang-out place was Easthouses. But I don't think she had the slightest hesitation doing it if she was going to Newbattle, nor would she have assumed or expected that Luke would come to fetch her to escort her back along the path.

I think Judith initially assumed Jodi was going to meet Luke in Easthouses or Mayfield, then when it became clear that Jodi had started down the path, Judith - by now the mother of a murdered child - decided that Jodi wouldn't have walked that "dangerous" path on her own, as a good mother she had forbidden that, of course she had.
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Old 8th March 2021, 01:47 PM   #302
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Here’s part of a post someone has posted elsewhere on the interwebs in relation to this case. Some interesting points raised, imo. Wonder what the regulars on this thread think about it. Here it is, for your perusal:

Firstly, the speaking clock hogwash. The last time I phoned this was in 1978 and I didn't even know it still existed until this case. Regardless, claiming to have phoned the speaking clock when you are in a house when the exact time can be seen on laptops, clocks and TV news channels is laughable. Not only that, WHO phones speaking clocks in the middle of cooking? Right, I better watch these pies don't burn and make sure the spuds aren't too hard......oh wait I better phone the speaking clock!! It has been claimed by S.Lean that LM phoned this speaking clock habitually.......there was NO EVIDENCE provided in Court of previous calls to this, none, zero, nada. Thus it would not be unreasonable to assume he was NOT in the habit of phoning it. This alibi of 'being at home cooking dinner' also sounds laughable. It doesn't even sound credible, it sounds like the worst excuse you could make up for not being outdoors. That's why Shane changed his statement, he was told to invent the 'cooking dinner' fable by Corrine. A load of utter HOGWASH. The reason LM phoned the speaking clock could be deduced by an 8 year old.......... he was OUTDOORS and in a place where there were no clocks, shops or people where he could check the time. He was in the woods and needed to know exactly when Jodi would arrive.

Now, onto what makes LM the unluckiest man on the planet.........the odds of all these having an innocent explanation would be into millions.

1. Jodi went missing and was killed when she was on the way to meet HIM, not when she was going anywhere else. Isn't that strange.
2. Mitchell owned a knife but after the murder, his knife 'just happened' to be MISSING.
3. Mitchell made no attempt to find out where Jodi was the whole night after she apparently failed to appear, despite the fact he KNEW she was not allowed to walk up that path alone. That factor proves those who say 'oh he was 14 and maybe didn't bother' are just deluding themselves.
4. The 2 young people seen at the Easthouses end of the path were Mitchell and Jodi. To suggest the Police would not have traced those 2 if it was NOT them, in a town with a population half the size of Castlemilk in Glasgow is laughable. More so after 16 years, they still haven't been traced.
5. Any criminologist would state that due to the nature of this murder, the perpetrator would be highly likely to strike again. There's been no similar murders in that area or even in Scotland since this one. How coincidental. Remember the Bible John murders stopped for 18 months? They stopped at the same time Peter Tobin was in jail. Mitchell has been in jail for 16 years which is why no similar murders have occurred (obvious).
6. Mitchell told a witness 'Jodi would not be coming out tonight' after the time of the murder, despite not apparently knowing where she was.
7. A discarded knife was found years later not too far from where the murder was which had the name 'Luke' inscribed on it. What a strange coincidence that the only knife found up until then just happened to have that not particularly common name on it.
8. Mitchell's knife pouch had 666 scrawled on it with that message about Jodi. That in itself speaks volumes.
9. Corrine bought him another knife (despite being a suspect) to replace the missing one.
10. Corrine assisted him to attend a tattoo parlour knowing he had fake ID and was under age, to have a Satanic tattoo done, a skull with flames shooting out of it. She also pointed to it and said.....'that's him' !!
11. A paramedic who attended the murder scene stated in Court that Mitchell was the only person present who was not upset. He was sitting texting on his phone looking perfectly calm.
12. Mitchell has never shown any emotion in 16 years, not even a shout on the way in and out of Court proclaiming he's innocent.
13. He was described by one Appeal Judge as 'an unsympathetic individual'. Assumably because he's sat there looking unperturbed or unfazed every time and never expressed an ounce of emotion.
14. Mitchell demanded Satanic books be sent to him in Shotts Prison in 2014.

I've read SL's book and yes there were issues with the Police investigation, but the amount of circumstantial evidence against Mitchell is overwhelming. That's why a 6 week trial took a Jury only a few hours to reach a verdict. I would also like to vote the alibi of 'at home cooking dinner' as the cheesiest most laughable pile of hogwash ever produced for an alibi. It's the sort of excuse that would produce raucous laughter at a stage show. Woeful attempt.

All of the above points to 1 thing only, which is why all appeals were refused.
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Old 8th March 2021, 03:03 PM   #303
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Point 3 is questionable, based on today's discussion (see comment #301).

"Nicholas" wrote, "4. The 2 young people seen at the Easthouses end of the path were Mitchell and Jodi. To suggest the Police would not have traced those 2 if it was NOT them, in a town with a population half the size of Castlemilk in Glasgow is laughable. More so after 16 years, they still haven't been traced." UK_Justice_Forum

Assuming that I have understood Rolfe correctly, Mrs. Bryson might have seen two people at a different time versus the final story emerging from the prosecution. If so, that alone might account for why they have not been identified. Even apart from that problem, I do not accept point 4 as a strong argument.
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I am not fond of the habit of pro-guilt posters writing long lists. In my experience, the lists often contain things that are questionable or even in outright error. Yet it takes time to track down even enough information to rebut one point. Occasionally when one does, the person who compiled the list ignores it and reposts the false information.
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Old 8th March 2021, 07:21 PM   #304
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Some serial killers do stop

Regarding point 5 an article in Psychology Today stated, "There are serial killers who stop murdering altogether before ever being caught or killed." Dennis Rader (BTK) did not fit the pattern of escalating until caught. Sandra Lean also rebutted point 5 starting on p. 354.
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Old 9th March 2021, 04:31 AM   #305
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regarding the survival skills knife

Regarding point 2, Sandra Lean (p. 224) wrote that the knife was for survival trips, "Luke was not allowed to have the knife any time he pleased...When the police asked for the knife, Corinne could not remember where she ha put it...She later remembered where it was and handed it to Luke's solicitor."
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It is sometimes possible to infer properties of the knife from the wounds. One wonders whether or not the survival-skills knife was compatible with the wounds.
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Old 9th March 2021, 07:37 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by McStarj19 View Post
Here’s part of a post someone has posted elsewhere on the interwebs in relation to this case. Some interesting points raised, imo. Wonder what the regulars on this thread think about it. Here it is, for your perusal:

Firstly, the speaking clock hogwash. The last time I phoned this was in 1978 and I didn't even know it still existed until this case. Regardless, claiming to have phoned the speaking clock when you are in a house when the exact time can be seen on laptops, clocks and TV news channels is laughable. Not only that, WHO phones speaking clocks in the middle of cooking? Right, I better watch these pies don't burn and make sure the spuds aren't too hard......oh wait I better phone the speaking clock!! It has been claimed by S.Lean that LM phoned this speaking clock habitually.......there was NO EVIDENCE provided in Court of previous calls to this, none, zero, nada. Thus it would not be unreasonable to assume he was NOT in the habit of phoning it. This alibi of 'being at home cooking dinner' also sounds laughable. It doesn't even sound credible, it sounds like the worst excuse you could make up for not being outdoors. That's why Shane changed his statement, he was told to invent the 'cooking dinner' fable by Corrine. A load of utter HOGWASH. The reason LM phoned the speaking clock could be deduced by an 8 year old.......... he was OUTDOORS and in a place where there were no clocks, shops or people where he could check the time. He was in the woods and needed to know exactly when Jodi would arrive.

Now, onto what makes LM the unluckiest man on the planet.........the odds of all these having an innocent explanation would be into millions.

1. Jodi went missing and was killed when she was on the way to meet HIM, not when she was going anywhere else. Isn't that strange.
2. Mitchell owned a knife but after the murder, his knife 'just happened' to be MISSING.
3. Mitchell made no attempt to find out where Jodi was the whole night after she apparently failed to appear, despite the fact he KNEW she was not allowed to walk up that path alone. That factor proves those who say 'oh he was 14 and maybe didn't bother' are just deluding themselves.
4. The 2 young people seen at the Easthouses end of the path were Mitchell and Jodi. To suggest the Police would not have traced those 2 if it was NOT them, in a town with a population half the size of Castlemilk in Glasgow is laughable. More so after 16 years, they still haven't been traced.
5. Any criminologist would state that due to the nature of this murder, the perpetrator would be highly likely to strike again. There's been no similar murders in that area or even in Scotland since this one. How coincidental. Remember the Bible John murders stopped for 18 months? They stopped at the same time Peter Tobin was in jail. Mitchell has been in jail for 16 years which is why no similar murders have occurred (obvious).
6. Mitchell told a witness 'Jodi would not be coming out tonight' after the time of the murder, despite not apparently knowing where she was.
7. A discarded knife was found years later not too far from where the murder was which had the name 'Luke' inscribed on it. What a strange coincidence that the only knife found up until then just happened to have that not particularly common name on it.
8. Mitchell's knife pouch had 666 scrawled on it with that message about Jodi. That in itself speaks volumes.
9. Corrine bought him another knife (despite being a suspect) to replace the missing one.
10. Corrine assisted him to attend a tattoo parlour knowing he had fake ID and was under age, to have a Satanic tattoo done, a skull with flames shooting out of it. She also pointed to it and said.....'that's him' !!
11. A paramedic who attended the murder scene stated in Court that Mitchell was the only person present who was not upset. He was sitting texting on his phone looking perfectly calm.
12. Mitchell has never shown any emotion in 16 years, not even a shout on the way in and out of Court proclaiming he's innocent.
13. He was described by one Appeal Judge as 'an unsympathetic individual'. Assumably because he's sat there looking unperturbed or unfazed every time and never expressed an ounce of emotion.
14. Mitchell demanded Satanic books be sent to him in Shotts Prison in 2014.

I've read SL's book and yes there were issues with the Police investigation, but the amount of circumstantial evidence against Mitchell is overwhelming. That's why a 6 week trial took a Jury only a few hours to reach a verdict. I would also like to vote the alibi of 'at home cooking dinner' as the cheesiest most laughable pile of hogwash ever produced for an alibi. It's the sort of excuse that would produce raucous laughter at a stage show. Woeful attempt.

All of the above points to 1 thing only, which is why all appeals were refused.
It is sad what passes as evidence.

Pretty much all of that can be summed up as an argument from incredulity and ignorance, a series of non sequitur claims, which is a logically flawed argument and that should not, pass as evidence. Circumstantial evidence should not beat physical/forensic evidence as it is inherently less reliable.

There are three issues with the verdict that prove it is unsafe.

Firstly, there are flaws in the circumstantial case, in particular
- motive, there is none
- ability, what Mitchell is alleged to have done would be difficult for an adult who is forensically aware to do, he was a daft 14 year old
- preparation, there is no sign he set the situation up to kill her.
- the list above is full of holes and can easily be picked apart.

Secondly, the lack of forensic transfer from Mitchell to Jones and vice versa and then from Mitchell to his clothes and house, in a murder that involved a struggle, removal of clothing and multiple wounds with blood splatter that went some distance, is indicative he did not kill her.

The third is the way the police conducted the investigation. It was inherently unfair and biased towards Mitchell as the preferred suspect. The case was constructed with the intention of finding him guilty, not a genuine search for the truth as to what happened. That situation was made worse by the behaviour of the press who also decided that Mitchell was the killer.
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Old 9th March 2021, 08:53 AM   #307
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I agree with Nessie, above. This is a pile of argument from ignorance and incredulity, and non-sequitur. But let's take it a bit at a time.

Originally Posted by McStarj19
Firstly, the speaking clock hogwash. The last time I phoned this was in 1978 and I didn't even know it still existed until this case. Regardless, claiming to have phoned the speaking clock when you are in a house when the exact time can be seen on laptops, clocks and TV news channels is laughable. Not only that, WHO phones speaking clocks in the middle of cooking? Right, I better watch these pies don't burn and make sure the spuds aren't too hard......oh wait I better phone the speaking clock!! It has been claimed by S.Lean that LM phoned this speaking clock habitually.......there was NO EVIDENCE provided in Court of previous calls to this, none, zero, nada. Thus it would not be unreasonable to assume he was NOT in the habit of phoning it. This alibi of 'being at home cooking dinner' also sounds laughable. It doesn't even sound credible, it sounds like the worst excuse you could make up for not being outdoors. That's why Shane changed his statement, he was told to invent the 'cooking dinner' fable by Corrine. A load of utter HOGWASH. The reason LM phoned the speaking clock could be deduced by an 8 year old.......... he was OUTDOORS and in a place where there were no clocks, shops or people where he could check the time. He was in the woods and needed to know exactly when Jodi would arrive.

I agree the speaking clock thing is weird, and the weirdest thing of all is that the call was made from a mobile phone, which even then I would expect to have been showing the time without any need to dial anything. It doesn't make sense, but not for any of the reasons given above.

"He was in the woods and needed to know exactly when Jodi would arrive." Sorry, you have completely lost me there. So he didn't go to Easthouses at all, and the Andrina Bryson sighting wasn't him at all, he was waiting "in the woods" for Jodi to walk along the path he supposedly knew she wouldn't walk along because she wasn't allowed to walk it alone? And why would he be in the woods, separated from the path by a high wall, when presumably Jodi would be on the path?

In what way would phoning the speaking clock tell him exactly when Jodi would arrive? That simply doesn't compute at all.

This scenario contradicts everything that has been said previously, by having Jodi start to walk the path on her own, although the main basis for the case against Luke is that she would not have done that, she would have waited at the Easthouses end for him to arrive. It also makes the murder seem premeditated, when everything else about it indicates that it was not premeditated. And most importantly, it requires that the people Andrina Bryson saw were not Luke and Jodi. If the people Andrina Bryson saw were not Luke and Jodi then there is absolutely nothing to contradict Luke's alibi and there is no case against him.

Now, as to timing. According to the police version of events, Luke wasn't "in the woods" or on the path at the time that call was made. He was standing on the pavement at the Easthouses end of the path talking to Jodi. The call was made at pretty much the exact moment Andrina Bryson is supposed to have seen these two people who are supposed to have been Luke and Jodi. Why would he have phoned the speaking clock while he was standing talking to Jodi? Why didn't Mrs Bryson notice he was using a mobile phone when she saw him, or at least had one in his hand?

I think it's weird that he phoned the speaking clock at all, innocent or guilty, but more weird if he was guilty.

As for the idea that "cooking dinner" was a fable, have you any evidence that Luke didn't habitually cook the tea when he got home from school? The idea of a 14-year-old boy cooking the family meal is an unusual one, but some boys do, and it was never disputed that Luke regularly did this. It's what he would have been doing if he hadn't suddenly decided to drop everything about twenty to five and run up the path to meet Jodi and then murder her on the way back. (Presumably we're actually being asked to believe that he dropped everything and ran up the path to meet Jodi an hour earlier than he would usually have done that, and then some quarrel developed between them as they walked back towards Newbattle, and that escalated to a murderous attack, let's keep this plausible here.) I don't see what's so incredible about an alibi that basically says, I was doing what I always did at that time of day.

Shane couldn't initially remember exactly what he'd done that afternoon, as it was just one afternoon among many. He forgot he'd been late home because he'd been helping the friend with the car, but the police had to accept his change of evidence when he remembered that, because there was independent evidence that this was true. He forgot what he'd had for tea until his mother reminded him. When he contacted the police to say he'd remembered more about the events of the afternoon (apart from the independently-verified thing about the friend's car) the police refused to believe him, accused him of lying, and charged him with attempting to pervert the course of justice. No bloody wonder he became vague and uncertain after that. He was afraid to say anything that might contradict what the police believed in case he was jailed for it.

Oh and by the way, tell your friend that emotional outbursts with capital letters and exclamation marks and words like hogwash don't come over as reasoned argument. You wouldn't put forward a case in that manner yourself, would you?
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Old 9th March 2021, 09:15 AM   #308
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Now, about that list of non-sequitur and incredulity.
  1. It doesn't seem at all strange to me. Girl walks a quiet path her mother thinks is dangerous, and meets danger. Who she was going to meet doesn't seem relevant at all.
  2. This stuff about the knife seems to be as much an invention of the police as the imaginary parka.
  3. There's no evidence at all that Luke knew that Jodi was forbidden from walking the path alone, or indeed any good evidence that she was so forbidden. Her sister said in court she walked it alone quite often and her mother knew that. I'll repeat, they were fourteen. At that age children simply don't experience the gut-churning dread when someone is a bit late coming in that adults, especially mothers, experience. They just assume there's some reason for the delay/non-appearance. The bit I find strange is that according to Sandra Luke waited for Jodi at the end of the road until 7 o'clock, although the phone call was at 5.40. I can easily see him coming to the conclusion that she'd decided to go somewhere else without phoning back, I'm just surprised he waited so long. But I'm now seeing a suggestion that he didn't wait so long and that his 7 o'clock call to his mother was made when he was already with his friends in Newbattle Abbey. Sandra is not clear about that point but the information must be somewhere. (In addition can I say I find it strange that someone who at the head of the post declares that Luke was lying in wait for Jodi to come along the path, also believes that Luke believed she wasn't allowed to walk the path on her own and so would not actually come along the path to where he was lying in wait, at all.)
  4. As I've said earlier, Andrina Bryson originally pegged the time she saw these two people as about 5.45. It was only later, when the police realised they had no evidence at all that Luke had been at the Easthouses end of the path that afternoon, and no evidence that contradicted his alibi, and that a 5.45 sighting was no use at all to their timeline, that Mrs Bryson was persuaded to accede to a version of the story that moved the sighting to about 4.50. However, at 4.50 she was driving north and you can't possibly see what she says she saw when you're driving north. It can only be seen if you're driving south (as she was at 5.15). There was an end of term concert at Newbattle High School later that evening and by 5.15 older children would have been heading there to help with the set-up. The sweatshirt the girl was described as wearing could have been a Newbattle High School sweatshirt. Insofar as the police tried to find out if these two people could be traced (and I don't think they were trying very hard) they were asking about the time of 4.50. If they'd asked about 5.45 they might have found them. Bear in mind Mrs Bryson's description of the male. White, early 20s, very thick sandy-brown hair sticking up in a clump at the back, wearing a green fishing-style jacket with lots of pockets and matching trousers. Does any of that sound like Luke Mitchell, aged 14 with flat, dead straight blond hair? And where did the fishing outfit go? (In addition can I say that it seems strange to me that someone who insists at the head of a post that Luke was "waiting in the woods" for Jodi to walk along the path at 4.50 also believes he was the person seen at the side of Easthouses Road at 4.50.)
  5. We don't know anything about the perpetrator of this murder, or the motive. There have indeed been a number of comparable crimes which are listed in Sandra's book and I think I copied this part out earlier in the thread. But there's also the possibility that Jodi was murdered because she was Jodi, by a member of her own family, not by a mad slasher serial killer. And finally, as Nessie says, there have been several examples of similar killers who have stopped at one, though this is obviously difficult to prove if they weren't caught as a result of the first one. There's also the possibility of a killer who has moved away from the area, even from the country, or been killed himself.
  6. We've covered that already. We can't know exactly what he said in a casual remark nobody was recording. It's entirely possible he said something like "It doesn't look as if Jodi is coming tonight" or indeed simply "Jodi's not coming" because he assumed that as a result of her failure to turn up. On the other hand, if he was guilty, it's a lot more likely he'd have been careful to say something like "I waited for Jodi for ages but she didn't show up so I assume she's not coming."
  7. Evidence this even happened? If such a knife was there at the time of the murder, why wasn't such an excellent clue found at the time? Did Luke even have a knife with his name engraved on it? Was this magically-appearing knife consistent with Jodi's wounds? (If it even exists, this sounds like someone playing silly buggers and planting something.)
  8. I'm not sure what volumes you think the knife pouch speaks, do elaborate.
  9. So what? Loads of people have tattoos like that. It was a daft thing to do under the circumstances but I can't see that it says anything as to guilt.
  10. There's plenty evidence of Luke being upset at the time, and people react to shock and stress in different ways. If someone is suspected it seems there's nothing they can do right, they're either too calm or too hysterical. And who was Luke texting? Under these circumstances, sending a text to his mother seems like a sensible thing to do, but I'm not aware she received one.
  11. Luke Mitchell has been insisting on his innocence since day one. There seems to be no way of doing this that will satisfy people. How would it have been received if he had shouted out in court? Not well, I'll bet. He must have been in terrible shock at the time, as he had believed that given the absence of evidence against him the worst that could happen was a not-proven verdict. Suddenly he's looking at life in prison. How would you expect an innocent boy to behave under that sort of stress, because I can't imagine it. Bear in mind that in the immediate aftermath of the murder Luke was on high doses of sedative prescribed by his doctor, due to the shock of finding Jodi death followed by the shock of the police interrogation. And no matter what he did it was interpreted as insensitive, so I'm not surprised he clammed up a bit.
  12. Again, how is someone supposed to behave when his entire world has crashed down around him? To take things like this as evidence of guilt is ridiculous.
  13. What "Satanic books"? Are you proposing this was a pre-meditated black-magic sacrifice or something? What does something he may (or may not) have done in 2014 relate to whether or not he committed a murder more than ten years earlier?
And I see we're back to incredulity that Luke was making the tea between 4.30 and 5 pm. Something he apparently did most afternoons after coming home from school. It's raucous incredulity about things that are perfectly likely, and about points that don't actually incriminate at all, that is one of the markers of a guilter mindset that isn't going to respond to reason.

The jury had read the papers. Everyone and his budgie had read the vicious defamation being printed about Luke by the tabloids. Luke's misfortune was that the jury in his case contained a majority of people that had been influenced by that publicity, although given the widespread acceptance of the message if the tabloids, maybe that wasn't so unlikely.
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Old 9th March 2021, 09:26 AM   #309
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what we do not have; YSTR

There is not a forensically-determined TOD in this case. I am not sure that a logical timeline can be constructed against Mr. Mitchell. This is an off-the-cuff list of what evidence one might have against a convicted murderer that is either missing or controversial in this case (MAGICOP might well be a more thorough list). Missing: motive, murder weapon, DNA evidence, non-DNA trace evidence, content of hypothetically incriminating text messages. Controversial: witness identification, witness description of behavior

One final point before I forget. Sandra Lean wrote that there was no reportable profile from fingernail DNA (I don't have a page number handy). I would like to know what the lab meant by "reportable." I would also like to know whether or not YSTR DNA profiling were tried. If it were not attempted and the nails have not been destroyed, this would be a highly useful thing to do. There would be no interference from Jodie's DNA in YSTR profiling.
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Old 9th March 2021, 09:53 AM   #310
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Sandra seems to believe that the lab was asked if Luke's DNA was there and when it wasn't they reported "no reportable result". She thinks that they wouldn't have reported if they'd found another DNA profile there that wasn't the one they were asked to look for. I don't think that's right.

Unfortunately, as I said earlier, I think Sandra is struggling to understand the technicalities of the DNA evidence, and what we're getting is filtered through that rudimentary understanding. I too would like to know what if anything was actually found.
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Old 9th March 2021, 10:13 AM   #311
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Sorry, easier to ask than to find, what time was the last confirmed sighting of Jodi alive? The TOD being claimed to be 5.15 is way too precise for a death happened outwith the sight of others.
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Old 9th March 2021, 10:22 AM   #312
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...[*]Again, how is someone supposed to behave when his entire world has crashed down around him? To take things like this as evidence of guilt is ridiculous.
....
I have been to dozens of deaths and passed on numerous death messages. There has been no consistency in how people react. I have had everything from people collapse so I had to call an ambulance, through to people who I have had to repeatedly ask them to respond to what they have been told, to people who had a discussion about how much of that nights carnival they were going to miss.

It is notable that in any group, there is always one person who remains calm, which is great for the police, as we can then pass on and get further details from that person.

Mitchell's reaction, especially when those around him are upset, was normal. If anything, the loudest wailer can appear to be least sincere.
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Old 9th March 2021, 10:52 AM   #313
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My view of the case the police made against Luke Mitchell is quite simple. They have no evidence at all to support it.

Consider Luke's own account of the day. He arrived home from school at 4 o'clock. This is confirmed by his being there to answer a call to his home landline shortly afterwards (from Shane's mobile). That he was still there at 4.25 is confirmed by his having made an outgoing call on the landline (to Corinne). At that point he wasn't expecting to see Jodi that evening, because her mother had grounded her, and had an arrangement to meet other friends later at Newbattle Abbey.

Just after half past four he received a text from Jodi to tell him that her mother had relented and she could come out after all. The arrangement made in an exchange of texts that followed was that Jodi would come over too Newbattle to meet him and they would go together to Newbattle Abbey to meet the other friends. This sequence of texts stopped just before Shane returned home.

Luke went on cooking the tea while Shane was in his room, and don't ask me why he called the speaking clock during this process, it's an action that seems strange but to have no bearing on guilt or innocence. Shortly after five Shane came downstairs to get his tea, and took it back upstairs. At quarter past five Corinne arrived home and took her tea out into the garden because it was a nice evening. Luke at his in the living room.

Just befor half past five Shane left to meet his friends. At this point Luke and Corinne were together in the kitchen bussing their plates and chatting. Luke then left the house to meet Jodi, whom he imagined would be arriving pretty soon. He went to sit on the wall at the end of his road, to meet her coming up Newbattle Road. When he got there he tried to phone her home landline to let her know he was waiting for her (as her own mobile phone was broken). The call didn't connect and he tried again at twenty to six, when he was told by Alan Ovens that she had already left.

He sat there for some time, waiting for her, and at one point walked down Newbattle Road, to the cottages on that side of the bridge, thinking to meet Jodi on her way, but not seeing her he returned to the wall and sat for a bit longer. That he was there at six o'clock is confirmed by people who knew him personally, who saw him there.

After some time, not sure how long, he decided Jodi wasn't coming, and went over to Newbattle Abbey alone, to meet his other friends. At seven o'clock he phoned his mother to ask her to tell Jodi where he was, if she happened to turn up at his house. He stayed there with his friends for the rest of the evening, then went home.

Just after half past ten he was wallking his dog when a text arrived on his mobile phone, from Jodi's mother, obviously meant for Jodi. Judith clearly assumed (reasonably) that Jodi was with Luke and was angry that she was still out at this late hour. Luke immediately phoned back (a voice call) to tell Judith that he hadn't seen Jodi all evening. A few minutes after that call Judith called him back, crying, saying that nobody knew where Jodi was and she was calling the police. Luke offered to walk up Roan's Dyke path towards Easthouses to see if he could find her. If he didn't find her he would continue on to Judith's house and the adults could decide what to do.

Luke set off towards the path, still with the dog, and when he was at the Newbattle end of the path he took another call from Judith. He told here where he was and that he was on his way. He walked quickly along the path with the dog, and when he was about two-thirds of the way there he met Alice, Janine and Steven, who had come out from Easthouses looking for Jodi. Although Luke had seen nothing on the way up it was decided that all four should retrace his steps. At this point Luke tried to get Mia to track Jodi, although nobody had anything of Jodi's to sniff, and they decided not to waste time going back to her house for something.

Proceeding back along the path Alice (who had arthritis) fell back a bit. Mia went into the barley field a couple of times but returned to the path. Then not long after passing the V-break, Mia turned to the wall, put her forepaws on the wall and sniffed in the way she would do if she scented something of interest. (Both Janine and Steven confirmed this in their initial statements to the police.)

Luke turned back to the V-break, as being the most accessible way over the wall, and handed Mia's lead to Alice, who was about there at that point. He climbed the wall and turned left, because that was the direction of the point where Mia had indicated she smelled something. He saw something he initially thought was a shop-window mannequin that had been dumped, then realised it was Jodi's body and her throat had been cut.

The rest we know about.

Absolutely nothing about that account has been disproved. None of it.

The police relied on a number of points to oppose it.

The assertion that Jodi would not have walked the path alone but would have waited in Easthouses for him to come and collect her. Whether or not it was true that her mother had forbidden her from walking the path alone, it appears that she did do that on occasion and there was no reason for Luke to have assumed she wouldn't, or to have believed he was meant to go to Easthouses to collect her.

The Bryson sighting, which was held to prove that Luke had indeed walked to Easthouses to collect Jodi, having dropped everything and pretty much run the minute the text sequence ended (or even while he was still texting Jodi), and was lying when he said he hadn't left the house until half past five. If this really was a sighting of Luke that would indeed be very incriminating, but we've been over this. The person described was nothing like Luke, and the time the person was seen was about 5.45, not 4.50.

The Fleming/Walsh sighting later, which could only prove that Luke was several hundred yards south of the position he said he'd been in on Newbattle Road - rather than being north of the bridge he was close to the Newbattle end of the path. However since neither lady saw the person's face, and other details such as hair colour were wrong, there is again absolutely no reason to believe this was Luke either.

And that's it. No forensic trace linking Luke to the murder, even though he was taken into custody and forensically examined the same evening and there was evidence that he hadn't showered in the mean time. The only definite sighting of him that evening (by people who knew who he was and recognised him) confirmed that at that time he was exactly where he said he was, doing exactly what he said he was doing.

No weapon was found. No evidence of Luke having made any preparations to carry out a murder. No evidence of the supposed clean-up that would have had to have happened after such a struggle and such a brutal stabbing. No motive. No previous history of violence or aggression or even tormenting pets (Luke had a dog and a horse and was very fond of animals).

This was what interested me in the case, that people said there was no evidence against him at all. I thought, surely that can't be true, there must have been something? It soon became clear that the single piece of evidence to contradict Luke's own story, and the testimony of his mother and brother, was the Bryson sighting, and that once you realised the thing about the directionality of travel (which Luke's advocate appeared not to realise) that couldn't possibly have been Luke.

It's a complete scandal.
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Old 9th March 2021, 11:55 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Sorry, easier to ask than to find, what time was the last confirmed sighting of Jodi alive? The TOD being claimed to be 5.15 is way too precise for a death happened outwith the sight of others.

There was no forensic evidence about time of death because the scene-of-crime management and forensics were completely botched. The forensic examiner who attended was overweight or had a bad back or something and said he couldn't get over the V-break, and despite the fact that there were other ways into the woodland strip, he went back home to his bed. By the time another examiner arrived it was morning and the scene had been rained on all night and the body and clothes had been moved. (The police still say this was a text-book investigation and they didn't put a foot wrong.)

The 5.15 time of death seems to have been arrived at by working backwards and assuming Luke was the killer, as the only time he could possibly have killed Jodi between the Bryson sighting at 4.50 and the Walsh/Fleming sighting at 5.45. In fact I think you could possibly let it slip a little later, depending on how long you thought it took Luke to entice Jodi over the wall, how long the actual attack took, and how long it would have taken him to get himself to that metal gate, either leaning on it nonchalantly or looking desperately up to no good, depending which version you believe.

Judith couldn't say exactly when Jodi left the house, which she apparently did after the text messages, then getting changed to go to meet Luke, but leaving the house without eating, either because the lasagna wasn't quite ready or because she was in such a hurry to see Luke. (It occurs to me that if she believed Luke was going to have to walk as far as Easthouses to collect her, and that she wasn't allowed to walk the path alone, why the hurry? She could scarcely have expected him there that quickly after the text messages, even if he had indicated that he was leaving at once. It makes better sense for her to rush out if she was anticipating a walk of getting on for half an hour to meet Luke near his own house.)

The police seem to have put Jodi's time of leaving the house at a time that would have allowed her to get to the eastern end of the path in time for the (re-timed) Bryson sighting, so realistically that had to be 4.45. The last text in the sequence was sent at 4.38, so that was quite fast work if she really left as quickly as that.

However Sandra says a neighbour saw Jodi walk past her window and it was later than that - either a couple of minutes before or a couple of minutes after five. There's also the witnesses who described "stocky man" following Jodi as she walked south towards the path, and these are also as I understand it timed at just after five (it's possible the neighbour at the window was one of these). Sandra is a bit vague about some of this, apparently because of some stricture forbidding the naming of stocky man as Joseph Jones. If these sightings are correct, the Bryson sighting cannot have been of Luke with Jodi, even if (impossibly) it was at 4.50 and not 5.45.

It seems to me likely that Jodi fell into deep trouble on her way to meet Luke, because otherwise she would have arrived in Newbattle to meet him. It's about three quarters of a mile from her house to the V-break, so that would put the attack not long after the time the police reckoned. I'd say 5.15 may be a bit early, but some time between then and 5.30. But as far as forensics are concerned, she could have been abducted about that time and kept confined either there or somewhere else until much later. We only know she was dead by 11.30, when she was found.
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Old 9th March 2021, 12:07 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
I have been to dozens of deaths and passed on numerous death messages. There has been no consistency in how people react. I have had everything from people collapse so I had to call an ambulance, through to people who I have had to repeatedly ask them to respond to what they have been told, to people who had a discussion about how much of that nights carnival they were going to miss.

It is notable that in any group, there is always one person who remains calm, which is great for the police, as we can then pass on and get further details from that person.

Mitchell's reaction, especially when those around him are upset, was normal. If anything, the loudest wailer can appear to be least sincere.

My impression is that he did become agitated ("in a right state") when he first realised he was looking at a horrifically murdered Jodi, but became calmer later. I don't see that this is unrealistic. Later demeanour, from about the following day, has to be seen in the light of the sedatives his doctor prescribed. I imagine he was "in a state" again if the doctor thought such a prescription was necessary.

I also think it's likely to be untrue that Steven Kelly was unnaturally emotionless. Sandra has a description of his 999 call where he was trying to get it through to the operator that he was in the woodland strip and he or she repeatedly assumed he was in Judith's house. The operator was more concerned with criticising Steven for swearing ("tell them it's a body!") than getting the right details.
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Old 10th March 2021, 10:21 AM   #316
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So much in this case revolves around the exact nature of the arrangement made between Luke and Jodi in these text messages. The times of the messages are known but not their content, as they had been deleted from both phones (Luke's and Judith's) by the time the question arose. There may be nothing to read into that, many people delete casual texts as soon as they've read them. If the arrangement was for Jodi to walk to Newbattle to meet Luke there, this is extremely strong evidence for innocence. On the other hand, if he said, OK wait for me at the Easthouses end of the path I'll be right there, that would be damning.

I wish we knew more about how the messages came to be wiped off both phones. Did both Luke and Judith just delete them unthinkingly before Jodi was found to be missing? Conversely, since phones were taken by the police for examination, do we know if there's any question of the police "losing" the texts? It's odd that the messages existed in both phones, and they would have proved the case one way or the other to the satisfaction of one side or the other, but both sides deleted their copies.

Sandra's book says that in 2003 the contents of text messages were retained for some time by the mobile phone service providers and could be retrieved with a court order or something like that. The police made no attempt to acquire the content of the texts while they were available. Because Luke wasn't charged for some time - I think it was well over a year - after the murder, by the time he was charged and had a legal team to look after his interests, it was no longer possible to get the texts.

The delay in charging him disadvantaged Luke considerably. For many months he was all over the papers as the devil boy the police were going to arrest any minute, and he was the target of tabloid journalists turning his every move into a fault, but he could do nothing about it because he wasn't formally charged. Once the police charged him the papers had to shut up, because he was a minor, but by then the damage was done. And by then whatever trails might have led to proof of innocence or a strong indication of a different culprit, were stone cold.
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Old 10th March 2021, 03:15 PM   #317
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Why did they wait?

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The delay in charging him disadvantaged Luke considerably. For many months he was all over the papers as the devil boy the police were going to arrest any minute, and he was the target of tabloid journalists turning his every move into a fault, but he could do nothing about it because he wasn't formally charged. Once the police charged him the papers had to shut up, because he was a minor, but by then the damage was done. And by then whatever trails might have led to proof of innocence or a strong indication of a different culprit, were stone cold.
Did the police have a legitimate reason for waiting arrest him? I don't recall any additional evidence being collected much later.
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Old 10th March 2021, 03:31 PM   #318
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They were originally reported as being about to make an arrest any minute, not long after the murder, and it was assumed it would be Luke who was arrested. But they didn't, perhaps realising that the evidence that was coming in wasn't what they thought it would be and they'd have to work harder to incriminate the boy. Then after some time they sent a report to the PF and the PF said no you haven't a case.

They went away and tried to sex it up, and resubmitted it to the PF without anything really telling added, and the PF said oh well all right then. I think the tabloids were complaining about nobody being charged for this murder when everybody knew who did it, and there was wider concern about nothing coming of the investigation into such a horrible crime, and I think the PF realised the police weren't either going to come up with a better case against Luke or go away and find a case against someone else, so if public opinion was to be satisfied he'd better let them try the boy.

It had the effect of leaving Luke for a long time with all the disadvantages of being accused but none of the safeguards accorded to people who have been charged. There was no way he could work on a defence because he wasn't formally indicted. He didn't have a legal team. There was nobody to secure evidence on his behalf. The tabloids could say what they liked, whereas if he'd been charged as a minor they'd have had to keep his name out of it.

Then when he was charged they were obliged to stop naming him, but the whole thing dragged on so long that he turned 16 (the age of legal majority in Scotland) before the trial started, and once again the tabloids were able to put the boot in. Sandra thinks they delayed the trial deliberately so that he was technically an adult by then and had fewer protections.

Basically I think the delay was because they didn't really have a case against him, but in the end someone had to be charged given the strength of public feeling, and he was the only candidate.
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Old 10th March 2021, 03:59 PM   #319
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I read somewhere that the jury took only a few hours to convict. This seems extraordinary given the lack of evidence. The pre-trial publicity is potentially a significant biasing factor.
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Old 10th March 2021, 04:15 PM   #320
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five hours

Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I read somewhere that the jury took only a few hours to convict. This seems extraordinary given the lack of evidence. The pre-trial publicity is potentially a significant biasing factor.
I read that it was five hours, but I have also read that there was a 24-hour period in total. It is astonishing that it would take so little time.
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