ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Trials and Errors
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags Ian Stephen , Jodi Jones , Luke Mitchell , murder cases

Reply
Old 4th June 2019, 03:56 AM   #1
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
Luke Mitchell and the murder of Jodi Jones

"Forensic psychologist Ian Stephen, who advised on the television crime dramas Cracker and Prime Suspect, said that was in itself a clue.

He said: 'The fact he [Mitchell] kept attending school and insisted on trying to maintain as much normality as possible - and his mother insisted on this as well and made a big issue of it - seemed to me almost like a confession of guilt in some way.'" Link.

If you are calm, you are guilty. If you collapse at the funeral, you are guilty....
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th June 2019, 04:38 AM   #2
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 43,834
Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th June 2019, 06:07 AM   #3
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I have just (like 30 seconds ago) ordered Sandra Lean's two books about this case. I expect it will take a week or so for them to arrive (they weren't available as eBooks), and then I have to read them, so I'll let you know.

Lionking, we were discussing the case in another thread, and rather than derail that it certainly seemed like a better idea to start a new thread. I've been aware of this case on the radar since the time it happened and there has been a strong thread of "looks like a miscarriage of justice" running through all the press coverage I've read.

This interview with Luke Mitchell's mother was published on YouTube only four days ago so someone is still interested. Of course it only gives one side of the story but it's still worth a listen.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

It'seems the SCCRC rejected Mitchell's application for a fresh appeal five years ago but I don't know on what grounds. Sometimes the law is obstructive - if a manifestly wrong interpretation was put on evidence that was available at the original trial it can be fiendishly difficult to get that looked at again.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th June 2019, 06:24 AM   #4
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
DNA from blood and possibly semen

"The new defence team say the original police forensic service laboratory report and biology report contradict the prosecution case that the murder did not have a sexual motive, as semen was found on Jodi's body.

The reports also show, the new defence team says, that a blood sample found on her produced a full DNA match with a named individual and a second full DNA profile, for an unknown male, was retrieved from a condom found near the body.

The latter individual was identified three years later when he committed a crime and provided a match on the DNA database." Guardian.

IIUC the semen was found on her bra, and the DNA was not from Luke Mitchell. However, I have not yet found a good summary of the DNA evidence from this case, and some of the facts a little unclear. For example, there is supposedly a DNA profile from her bra, but at least one discussion board refers to a t-shirt that might have transferred DNA and possibly semen onto the bra. We need accurate, reliable information to have a useful conversation.

EDT
"The day after the murder, Kane couldn't explain recent injuries to his face and he had changed his story several times as to how he got them.

As for Falconer, the defence say a recently used condom was found 50 metres from the murder scene.

DNA swabs matched a sample taken from Falconer two months ago." Daily Record.

I recall that the condom was found about 50 yards from the body. My understanding is that the bra yielded DNA from a different individual. No true Scotsman would fail to have some doubts about this case.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill

Last edited by Chris_Halkides; 4th June 2019 at 08:02 AM. Reason: added some comments about reliable information
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th June 2019, 09:42 AM   #5
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
Were her fingernails tested for DNA or blood?

One or more article I have read discuss the (complete?) absence of forensic evidence against Luke Mitchell. However, I have to ask whether or not the area beneath Jodi Jones' fingernails was tested for blood or DNA. DNA beneath fingernails carries substantial weight as evidence, a point I have made at length in other threads. "She added that she had taken fingernail scrapings from Mitchell [the day after], which would be submitted for analysis to test for blood or other material." link

I have not looked into the testimony from the eyewitnesses, but I found this passage from the same link to be intriguing:
"Mr Findlay asked the witness to look at the youth (Mitchell) sitting between security guards in court, and said: "Is that the young man you saw?"

Ms O’Sullivan stated: "No it is not. I am positive.""
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill

Last edited by Chris_Halkides; 4th June 2019 at 09:52 AM.
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 05:31 AM   #6
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
Mitchell's interrogation

From a 2009 article at The Guardian:
"As well as pursuing a new appeal in Scotland, Mitchell's defence team has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about his pre-arrest interview, which, in accordance with Scottish law, was conducted without a solicitor present. Despite denying last year's appeal, the three judges said some of the police questioning of Mitchell was 'outrageous'."

"He [Lord Hamilton] added: At times the nature of the questioning was such that the questioner did not seem to be seriously interested in a response but rather endeavoring to break him down into giving some hoped-for confession by hostile interrogation." Daily Record.

"He [Lord Hamilton] added: At times the nature of the questioning was such that the questioner did not seem to be seriously interested in a response but rather endeavoring to break him down into giving some hoped-for confession by hostile interrogation."
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scot ... er-1095460
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 06:49 AM   #7
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
This is all a long way back though. There was a 2012 application to the SCCRC which was thrown out in 2014 on the grounds that the SCCRC didn't see anything to suggest there had been a miscarriage of justice. I'd like to know more about that.

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.c...hell-1-3478153

Quote:
The SCCRC recently ruled that although Mitchell’s rights were infringed when he was questioned by police, he was not the victim of a miscarriage of justice as the evidence from the interrogations was not needed to prove the case against him.

Samson posted that link in the other thread. Something weird going on between the family and Sandra Lean. Also reading somewhere that Luke had tried to create an alibi by manipulating his mobile phone. I'd like to know more about that too.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.

Last edited by Rolfe; 5th June 2019 at 06:56 AM.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 08:51 AM   #8
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
off the top of my head with respect to the alibi

IIUC his alibi was that he was cooking dinner. His brother did not support this, saying that he was surfing porn and would not have done so had he known that others were in the house. Lack of an alibi is not proof of guilt, and it is possible that his brother was mistaken.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 09:32 AM   #9
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
Yes, I'd picked up on that part. I agree it's perfectly possible he was in the house and his brother didn't realise. I also think that it might be natural for a boy of his age, if he realised he was being investigated for a crime for which he had no alibi, to try to concoct one. I'd just like to know more of the facts.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 01:59 PM   #10
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
DNA, semen, or both might have been found

"She [Corinne Mitchell] wrote: “X’s semen and blood were on Jodi’s T-shirt…his description and clothing matched a witness statement of a male ‘following Jodi’…he was known to the police.

“Is it me or is anyone else adding things up here?

“Description of man seen behind Jodi – grey hooded top.

“Several days after the murder X hands his grey hooded top to the police saying it has been washed.

“At 5pm X’s alibi is Janine (Jodi’s sister).

“The police accepted that Janine said, ‘he was with me’ and from him ‘ I was with her’.”

And Sandra Lean, author and researcher on miscarriages of justice, added: “Our Mr X is emerging as more and more suspicious."" Link.

I am not sure that Luke Mitchell's mother's claim about DNA from semen is true, but I have heard it mentioned at other sites. The DNA is said to be either on a t-shirt or a bra. Mr. X may or may not be Janine's boyfriend/fiance. Elsewhere in this article one can see some difference in approach between Mr. Mitchell's mother and Sandra Lean.

With respect to the interrogation mentioned above, it is suggestive of police tunnel vision.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 02:03 PM   #11
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
How strongly inculpatory is the evidence?

Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
Hello Lionking,

Several of us have responded, and I may add one or two more comments in the next few days. However, another way to approach this case is to ask what evidence got the jury to guilty BARD? It might make a good exercise.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 03:42 PM   #12
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
From a New Zealand perspective we are using the SCCRC as a guide to establishing one here, similar population and other convenient reasons.
If indeed Luke Mitchell is innocent, and it seems clear to me he is, there is a catastrophic design fault that it is not too late to highlight. That is one reason I find the case interesting besides the injustice that needs correcting.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th June 2019, 03:44 PM   #13
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
Yes, that's what I'm asking myself at the moment. Also why the SCCRC thought there were no grounds for believing it might have been a miscarriage of justice. I'm not banging the "Luke Mitchell is innocent" drum as yet, but I'd seriously like to know what the evidence against him actually consisted of.

They keep going on about the longest trial "of a single accused", ooh, I wonder what trial of more than one accused (under Scots law) might have been longer? Guess. Turnbull prosecuting, too. You know, these people don't have a stellar track record here.

And they were stuck with that notorious poseur Donald Findlay QC as well.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 07:17 AM   #14
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
When is the absence of evidence evidence of absence?

From www.heraldscotland.com
"'I [Allan Jamieson] understand that there was no physical evidence linking Mitchell to the scene and given the nature of the event and relationship with Jodi, I think that that requires an explanation as well. So, I mean, what can I say about evidence that’s not there?' the professor explains."

From www.scotsman.com
[quote]Prof Jamieson was not involved in the forensic work in the case, but was asked to look over the scientific findings by Mitchell’s defence counsel, Donald Findlay QC. While not saying the verdict against Mitchell was wrong, Prof Jamieson believes a lack of forensic evidence is something that will be used in future trials as proof that the accused is innocent.
He says: "There was a prolific amount of scientific work in the Jodi Jones case with zero result.
"One of the things you don’t see happening much is much being made of the absence of evidence where one might expect to find it.
"If someone is supposed to have been involved in a violent assault involving transfer of fibres and body fluids and these are not found on the suspect, that is rarely used as evidence [that the suspect was not guilty]. But forensic science is still a relatively new science - that may well change." [Endquote]

I infer that Professor Jamieson is pondering the question of when the absence of evidence might become evidence of absence. He is the coauthor (with G Meakin) of a helpful review article on DNA transfer (circa 2013). No forensic evidence of which I am aware puts Mr. Mitchell at the scene. However, if various reports are to be trusted, there is some evidence, as mentioned upthread.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill

Last edited by Chris_Halkides; 6th June 2019 at 07:19 AM.
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 09:28 AM   #15
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I think some consideration has to be given to the diligance of the search for the evidence, and the inherent likelihood or otherwise of the crime having been committed by the suspect but still no forensic evidence has been left. This is always going to be a dispute between two opinions.

A similar point has been made in the Gilroy case. There was no forensic evidence in that one either, and at first I wondered how the conviction could be BRD without that. However if you know you're going to put a corpse into your car boot there are precautions you can take to avoid transferring DNA. The lack of DNA in the recess in the basement, where he was supposed to have left the body while he went to get his car, is more surprising. However I do think it's possible that a fully-clothed body lying on a concrete floor for only three hours might not have left any trace identifiable by 2010 technology - especially if you put something under her head. But then other people might disagree. That's where expert opinion will become important.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 02:08 PM   #16
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
facial injuries

If Luke had been examined and his fingernails swabbed on the same day as the body was found, that would have been marginally better than this having been done on the following day. If Jodi's fingernails have not yet been tested, they certainly should be (the putative facial injuries to one individual are worth exploring). IIUC the prosecution has implied that Luke or his mother disposed of one or more items of his clothing, but there is scant evidence to that effect (only an odd smell that may have just been wood burning). If there were an objective crime-reconstruction expert who could indicate whether or not Jodi's injuries would have led to transfer to the killer, that would be helpful. This link is a discussion board which quotes some news reports.

More generally the proposition that young, inexperienced criminals are able to execute near-perfect or perfect cleanups is open to question.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 03:39 PM   #17
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
The proposition that he immediately led the search party to where Jodie's body was, because he knew it was there, is very questionable. At his age, if I'd been in that position (murderous little me) I think my instinct would have been to have gone in the other direction as if I didn't have a clue.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 03:52 PM   #18
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
"don’t let the bastards grind you down"

I have read that the "dog [was] partially taught to track by a professional trainer." I have also read in the same article, which is primarily an interview with him: "Documents from the investigation, reveal that all three statements of the family search party, corroborated with Mitchell’s claim that the dog had led him to Jodi. All three statements changed to deny this one month later." HeraldScotland
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill

Last edited by Chris_Halkides; 6th June 2019 at 03:54 PM.
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 05:30 PM   #19
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
That interview is characteristic of many that precede exoneration. Complete openness, consistency, logic, and a clear determination to stay the course.
Were Jodie's family financial beneficiaries in any way? This becomes another anchor for the police. In Bain and Lundy the victims' relatives were huge beneficiaries and campaign against the accused.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th June 2019, 05:45 PM   #20
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I've got the Sandra Lean books on order and these will presumably provide the facts even if the interpretation may be partisan.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th June 2019, 09:03 AM   #21
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I have now received my copy of "No Smoke", which is the book covering a series of questionable convictions with the Mitchell case occupying only about 25 pages. I'll let you know what it says when I've read it.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th June 2019, 03:41 PM   #22
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
jonmarbles is posting on the case on IA, in fact where I learned of it.
Just acknowledging his work,
He posted this youtube link with the polygrapher Terry Mullins being interviewed after the interview with Corinne.

I watched it right through and on reading the comments Dr Sandra Lean also contributes,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItQv...ature=youtu.be
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th June 2019, 04:14 PM   #23
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I don't reckon on polygraphs at all, the whole thing is junk science. So honestly I discount that on principle. I've read the relevant chapter in Sandra Lean's book and I can't see why Luke was convicted in the first place. There's nothing there about him trying to fake an alibi using his mobile phone, which one of the articles said.

Sandra Lean's book in general is very interesting. She takes seven cases and examines them on the basis of the principles of legal proof to show that they're unsafe - or I assume she does in all of them, I've only read the Mitchell one, Sion Jenkins (which I knew all about already, some of that chapter is verbatim from the "Justice for Sion Jenkins" web site) and someone called Derek Christian which I didn't know about before.

There is a pattern emerging and it's one of tunnel vision. The cops choose what to concentrate on at the start, and if these choices cause them to miss the real culprit, or indeed if the real culprit has genuinely left no evidence, they're restricted to the evidence they have and the selection of suspects that has turned up. They need to find a culprit, so they select one of these people and then basically fit them up.

The real shocker is the absolute vehemence which which the prosecution pursue cases which are incredibly flimsy, determined to get a conviction whatever it takes.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th June 2019, 04:56 PM   #24
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I followed this link from the IA thread, and it turns out to be a transcript of the chapter of Sandra Lean's book about the Mitchell case. So if you don't want to shell out for the book, here you are.

https://paulviking.websitetoolbox.co...89531?trail=15

Some of the rest of the stuff in that thread, which mostly seems to be transcripts of press articles, suggests Luke Mitchell (if innocent) has become a seriously damaged person while in jail. Which wouldn't be all that surprising actually. But of course when I look at the red-top tabloid sources I factor in that it's quite likely none of it is true anyway.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.

Last edited by Rolfe; 8th June 2019 at 05:04 PM.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th June 2019, 03:32 AM   #25
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I followed this link from the IA thread, and it turns out to be a transcript of the chapter of Sandra Lean's book about the Mitchell case. So if you don't want to shell out for the book, here you are.

https://paulviking.websitetoolbox.co...89531?trail=15

Some of the rest of the stuff in that thread, which mostly seems to be transcripts of press articles, suggests Luke Mitchell (if innocent) has become a seriously damaged person while in jail. Which wouldn't be all that surprising actually. But of course when I look at the red-top tabloid sources I factor in that it's quite likely none of it is true anyway.
I guess I am interested in your assessment of the SCCRC work on the case Rolfe.
The Mark Lundy case goes to the supreme court in July, it must be the whole panel, 3 women, one maori male, and one white man, Mark O'Reagan.
Two of these women have employed false statements to keep him in jail, so they can be expected to defend their positions.
Will our CCRC be any damn good?
The SCCRC appears to have operated like any run of the mill appeal panel in Luke's case.
It seems impossible he did the crime, how do you reconcile the body of work of the SCCRC if this is truly so?

Last edited by Samson; 9th June 2019 at 03:44 AM.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th June 2019, 04:36 AM   #26
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I don't know the details or the reasoning. It can be legal issues. If evidence has been presented (or was even available) at the time of the original trial, but was misinterpreted (or its significance not understood), it can be very difficult to get past this. You get "the court was aware of this at the time and took a different view, it's not new evidence" problem.

There seems to be some sort of issue between Mrs Mitchell and Sandra Lean. I think Mrs Mitchell, who was originally grateful for the interest Dr Lean took in the case and the help she offered, came to blame her for the failure of the SCCRC application. I don't know if there is any truth to this or not. Dr Lean has quite properly said she won't get into it out of respect for the Mitchell family but is still thoroughly convinced of Luke's innocence. But clearly there are things going on here we don't know about.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th June 2019, 01:23 PM   #27
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
Not much time

Even if one accepts the prosecution's possibly revised time at which Jodi left her house, the timeline for Luke to kill her and clean-up/dispose of clothing seems very tight. From what I can gather he called or texted someone during this period as well. The prosecution's case also relies upon either a lack of transfer from Jodi to Luke, or an efficient removal of transferred matter.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill

Last edited by Chris_Halkides; 9th June 2019 at 01:26 PM.
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th June 2019, 02:55 AM   #28
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I'm going to go through the timings given in Sandra Lean's book and see what the discrepancies are. The case makes so little sense it's hard to keep it straight. I think they had to revise the time Jodie left the house in order to fit with a sighting of someone who probably wasn't her in the first place which complicates the issue.

The alleged burning of the parka is bizarre. There's no evidence Luke even had a parka (before the murder), never mind that it was burned. Nothing but some neighbours reporting an unspecified burning smell that evening, and even the times are inconsistent. It's quite surreal.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th June 2019, 05:04 AM   #29
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
I will post links to videos where NZ justice minister Andrew Little explains in a substantive way that no innocent person can remain jailed after his CCRC takes effect,
So assuming Luke is innocent he would be freed here.

Great.
Seeing is believing.
Fortunately we expect Mark Lundy to win at the supreme court and not need the half decade for these nitwits to pontificate.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th June 2019, 02:45 PM   #30
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
Here is the first reading of the NZCCRC bill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-QLXSnN6TU&t=128s

It is interesting to listen to this with the Luke Mitchell case in mind.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th June 2019, 02:59 PM   #31
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I think it might be a good idea to open a separate thread on the NZ bill which sounds interesting but isn't directly related to the Mitchell case.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th June 2019, 03:47 AM   #32
Samson
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,277
Yes and this is it.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=324612

However I had no idea of this Luke Mitchell case when I started that thread.
We are dealing with a case where:
The thread concensus says not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and indeed not guilty after analysing all the evidence.
The SCCRC has said nothing to see here.
That nothing is the concern.
Samson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th July 2019, 04:05 PM   #33
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
I've thoroughly read Sandra Lean's two books now and I really can't see how this conviction is at all safe, indeed there is genuinely no evidence against Luke Mitchell.

The police seem to have jumped to the conclusion that he was the murderer right at the very beginning, because he discovered the body. They assumed he'd gone straight to the body hidden in the woodland strip because he already knew where it was. However at that point they seem to have been labouring under the impression that he was alone, when he was in fact with three members of Jodi's family. They also seem to have thought he was running around trying to mislead him when they were simply mistaken about where he actually was. He didn't go anywhere.

His story is that he walked up the path from the Newbattle end, with his dog Mia, and didn't see anything. when he got to the junction of the path (Roan's Dyke path) with Lady path, he met three members of Jodi's family, also out looking for her. They combined forces and set off back down Roan's Dyke path, the way Luke had come. Luke said that perhaps Mia (his dog) could find Jodi and did they have anything of hers to get a scent. They didn't and nobody ran back to her house (which was nearby) to get anything, but Luke said "Mia, find Jodi" anyway.

Janine Jones (Jodi's older sister) and her boyfriend Steven Kelly were at the front of the party and Alice Walker (Jodi's maternal grandmother) lagged a little behind. Mia ran into the cereal crop field on the left a couple of times and Luke followed but they returned to the path without finding anything. They passed a partial break in the wall on the right, and a little way past it Mia reacted and stood against the wall with her front paws up. Luke went back to the break in the wall and the dog seemed very interested. He handed the dog's lead to Alice and climbed the wall into the narrow strip of woodland. He turned left, because that was the direction of the spot where Mia had originally reacted. He found Jodi's body some way along (20 yards?) in the woodland strip.

The original statements from Janine and Steven confirmed what Luke said about Mia reacting to something on the other side of the wall. However these statements were never "adopted" and by the time of the trial the statements from all Janine, Steven and Alice all denied that the dog had done anything. Contemporary reports describe Luke as being shocked and "in an awful state" but later the story was that he was cold and emotionless. (In particular his first words, "I've found something" not mentioning a body were taken as being in some way sinister when it's quite likely he couldn't bring himself to say what he'd found.)

In true Perugia fashion the cops decided he was the culprit and he was the only one taken to the police station and stripped and searched and forensically sampled. The others were taken to a different police station and not searched. The police seemed just to be waiting for the forensics to prove it was Luke. However there was no DNA from Luke on the body. Instead there was DNA from semen from - Steven Kelly.

How the cops managed to get a conviction in this case is an abiding mystery, other than that (again in true Perugia fashion) they had fed the press with lurid stories about the evil dead-eyed schoolboy killer and the entire area was up in arms baying for his blood. Probably including at least some of the jury.

The police refused to believe Luke's mother Corinne about his whereabouts, and one small change to a statement from his brother Shane which was intended to be a clarification was seized on as proof that he "lied and lied and lied again". Meanwhile multiple major changes to the stories being told by Jodi's relatives were given a free pass. Because the cops decided not to believe Corinne and Shane they charged them with attempting to pervert the course of justice, but there was no independent proof that they were lying.

Because of some neighbours saying they smelled burning at two different times that evening the police decided that Corinne had burned the parka jacked they thought Luke was wearing in a sort of barbecue thing in their back garden. There was no parka - Luke had a parka which was bought after the murder but had never had one before it. It's highly unlikely the back-garden burner could have obliterated all trace of a heavy jacket with zips and eyelets and so on, but the police took the burner and analysed it but found nothing. The whole parka-burning thing has not one shred of evidence to support it but it was part of the prosecution case.

The time Jodi left home was massaged earlier and earlier to allow time for her to have been murdered at 5.15, the only time it was possible to shoe-horn Luke in as possibly having had time to do it, and even then it was improbably tight. But other people were on Roan's Dyke path at that time and saw and heard nothing.

There was no forensic evidence at all linking Luke to the crime. Mia is a perfectly reasonable explanation for him having discovered the body, and indeed I can't see why a guilty Luke would have decided to stage-manage himself finding the body. Surely even a 14-year-old would have enough sense to try to be somewhere else when the body was found.

Even discounting the alibi given by Corinne and Shane, and a phone call to the landline in the Mitchell house which was answered by someone at about the crucial time, and yet neither Corinne nor Shane were in at the time, Luke could only have committed the murder at a time when it seems very unlikely the murder was actually committed, and the time window seems very tight for him to do what he was said to have done.

The rest is all the standard character-blackening that can be seen in the West Memphis Three case, although somewhat less extreme as Luke seems to have been a fairly normal boy. He happened to buy a magazine after the murder which had a freebie Marilyn Manson DVD with it. It's not known if he even watched it, and it didn't have any reference to the Black Dahia murder on it anyway. On the basis of that, and a torn-up calendar that had been a gift that Luke didn't like, it was claimed that he was a goth who was obsessed with Marilyn Manson and the Black Dalhia murder and that he had tried to replicate that murder when he killed Jodi. Jodi's throat was cut but she had none of the characteristic injuries of Elizabeth Short. (In fact Jodi liked Marilyn Manson, Luke didn't, and he didn't seem to have any idea what the Black Dahlia actually was.)

I'm not saying Steven Kelly was the murderer. The whole case is such a mess of contradicting statements, phone calls where nobody knows who actually had whose phone, people who didn't come forward until quite late on in the proceedings which is odd if they had nothing to hide, and eyewitness identifications of people who weren't Luke being represented as if they were Luke. It's extremely difficult to know what to think.

I wish someone else here would get Sandra Lean's book (Innocents Betrayed) and have a read. I find it confusing because she's not trying to establish what actually happened and who probably killed Jodi, she's demonstrating that there's a huge mess of contradicting evidence, and several very plausible suspects with more evidence against them than there was against Luke, who were simply given a free pass.

Steven Kelly's semen was found on Jodi's body.
John Ferris was by the break in the wall, on the path, at about the time the murder might have been committed, and his behaviour is very suspicious. I don't think Ferris's DNA was found on Jodi though.
Jodi's own brother Joseph was mentally disturbed and prone to violent outbursts and he doesn't seem to have had an alibi.
Someone dubbed "Stocky Man" was seen apparently following Jodi down the path. It's known who he was but this part of the story confuses me more than most.
Mark Kane was also behaving strangely in the area that evening.
James Falconer's semen was found in a used condom discarded close to Jodi's body.

And I'm not even sure that's the lot.

It could be interesting to try to take the evidence in Sandra Lean's book, which is very detailed, and try to see if it's possible to tease a probable timeline/sequence of events out of it, if not actually identify who the most probable suspect is. But the book is only available in hard copy, not an eBook. The chapter on the case in her earlier book is online though, https://paulviking.websitetoolbox.co...89531?trail=15
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.

Last edited by Rolfe; 17th July 2019 at 04:12 PM.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th July 2019, 04:24 PM   #34
wasapi
Philosopher
 
wasapi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,198
I have been following this thread out of interest. However, I have only followed your posts and links, so it seems I am confused about something. Would anyone gain by him being found guilty? Perhaps there are theories, but my readings have not been extensive.
__________________
Julia
wasapi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th July 2019, 04:31 PM   #35
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
As Sandra Lean and others have pointed out, a police investigation is directed towards obtaining a conviction, not towards ascertaining the truth. The police in this case had no more reason for picking on Luke Mitchell than the Perugia police had for picking Knox and Sollecito - they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, they found the bodies.

The forensics in the Jodi Jones murder were horrifically botched. The body was left lying uncovered in the rain all night, then was moved, gathered up together with her clothing/belonings and lifted on to a plastic sheet, all before the forensics officer got there the next morning. The rain was claimed to have washed DNA from one place to another and no time of death could be ascertained. Right from the start only Luke Mitchell was subjected to a police investigation - in fact they treated him to a full-blown performance of the Reid Technique, aged 14.

Once the police have committed themselves to a suspect in this manner it becomes extremely difficult to change tack, admit they might be wrong, and pursue other people. This is particularly difficult if (as in this case) they're missed the opportunity to collect evidence from these other people, who have had baths and laundered their clothes and so on in the mean time.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.

Last edited by Rolfe; 17th July 2019 at 04:33 PM.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th July 2019, 08:27 PM   #36
Chris_Halkides
Philosopher
 
Chris_Halkides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9,367
takehome lesson: don't be caught dead near a dead body

Hi Rolfe,

I am ordering a copy of the book. Thanks for a clear summary. Not just in Perugia do the cops focus on people who happen to be nearby the corpse. Gregory Taylor's truck was stuck near a murder victim, for example, and I am sure a few other cases will come to mind.
__________________
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had
happened.” – Winston Churchill
Chris_Halkides is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th July 2019, 01:28 PM   #37
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
Sandra Lean has just tweeted out the link to this half-hour documentary, and I'm about to watch it.


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th July 2019, 03:24 PM   #38
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
The documentary is mainly Sandra Lean explaining the salient points of the case, which she does very well given the time constraints. There's also some footage of the path and the wall and the woodland strip, which is interesting.

The one thing that surprised me was the newspaper picture of Luke "giving the finger" to reporters as he was about to be driven away (from court?) in his mother's car. Sandra Lean has consistently said this is a malicious misrepresentation of Luke simply having his hand up to take hold of his seat belt. Whether or not the gesture was combined with taking hold of his seat belt (to fasten it), it sure looks to me like he's giving them the finger. (Also, I'd reach across and use my other hand to take hold of the belt, but that may just be me.)

I don't think that's a serious point against him. He'd been harrassed to death by the press by then. He wasn't an angel, he was a 15-year-old boy. I don't entirely blame him if he did make an obscene gesture at the journalists. I'm just slightly spooked by the fact that Sandra Lean seems to think that's a normal way to hold your hand when you're fastening your seat belt!
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th July 2019, 03:53 PM   #39
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
So, the three main planks of the prosecution case appear to be as follows.

"Guilty knowledge". Luke led the searchers directly to Jodi's body, the location of which only the murderer would have known.

First, I have serious doubts that a murderer in this situation would be at all keen to be the person to find the body. Finding the body would put him in the middle of the proceedings and he would want to be as far from them as reasonably possible. But I haven't heard anyone make that point, actually. As I said above, Luke said he didn't see anything on his solo walk (west to east) along the path from his own house, and Mia didn't react to anything. However, when he met Alice, Janine and Steven at the junction of the paths he thought about putting Mia (who was being trained as a search dog by an ex-police dog handler) into tracking mode. Even though they didn't have anything of Jodi's to get a scent from, he nevertheless gave the command to Mia, "find Jodi". This let Mia know she was working (or from her point of view, playing the tracking game). So she knew she was supposed to hunt for something unusual.

She went into the cereal crop on the left (south) side of the path a couple of times and Luke (who was holding her lead) followed her, but she returned to the path both times. Then a little way past the break in the wall she "alerted", scrabbling at the base of the wall and then standing with her front paws on the wall. Luke turned back (Janine and Steven were a little ahead of him at this point) and went back to the break in the wall, as being the place where he could most easily climb over. He handed Mia's lead to Alice, who had been bringing up the rear. At this point Janine and Steven turned back to see what was going on.

Luke climbed the wall and turned left, because that was the direction of the place where Mia had first reacted. He found Jodi's body about 20 yards from the break in the wall.

That was his story and he never wavered from it. Initial statements from Janine and Steven corroborated what he said, about the dog making a fuss. Steven's statement described Mia standing with her paws up against the wall at the break. However these statements were never "adopted", and by the end of July had been superseded by statements in which Mia made no indication of anything at all and Luke simply went over the wall and straight to Jodi's body for no apparent reason. Even Alice, who originally hadn't seen anything until Luke gave her Mia's lead to hold, revised her statement to say that Mia hadn't reacted.

A replica of the wall was built in court and a sequence of events that nobody suggested had ever happened (involving Luke going a full 20 yards beyond the break in the wall while the other three were still at the break, and then turning back towards them) was enacted for the jury. The prosecutor (who was also prosecuting in the Lockerbie case so this is personal) kept saying to the jury that if Mia had reacted then it was impossible for the other three people in the search party not to have seen this. Of course they had seen it, and it was in their statements, but then the statements were changed.

It appears that for some reason when Jodi was first reported missing by her mother, and the police arrived at the Joneses house, and then the body was found at more or less the same time, the police jumped to the conclusion that Luke was alone and that he had gone straight to the body and this was suspicious "guilty knowledge". A lot of that was misunderstanding, by people simply not listening to what other people were telling them, but pretty much from the time the police got to the woodland strip they seem to have decided that Luke was suspicious.

There was also the allegation that he was "cold and emotionless". The 999 operator was recorded (in the middle of various calls in which agitated people were screaming murder) as saying "the laddie's in a right state". Steven originally stated that all four of the search party were shocked and upset, but later revised that to say he'd only been talking about himself, Janine and Alice.

This was apparently the main plank of the prosecution, that Luke had "guilty knowledge". If that hadn't been established, the prosecution would have failed. I think the police assumed that he did have guilty knowledge, and that's why he was the only person who was subjected to a full forensic examination on the night the body was found. Then they realised the statements from the people who had been with him corroborated his story about the dog. So a bit of suggestion and memory revision was embarked on, aided by the vicious campaign of character assassination to convince everyone that the "dead-eyed killer schoolboy" was a murderer.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th July 2019, 04:51 PM   #40
Rolfe
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
Rolfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NT 150 511
Posts: 43,186
The second plank was the eyewitness evidence.

A woman called Andrina Bryson stated that she saw two people, male and female, at the eastern end of the path early that evening. There's a lot in the book about Mrs Bryson not being the complete stranger to the Jones family that she claimed to be, and about the possibility that by the mediation of her brother-in-law (who was very close to the Jones family) her description of the couple might have been contaminated. I think that's all a bit of a red herring, and in fact the testimony doesn't stand on its own terms.

The prosecution claimed that the two people were Luke and Jodi, and this proved that Luke had walked along the path from his own house (which was some little way from the western end of the path) and met Jodi at the eastern end. Thus giving the lie to his story that he hadn't seen her at all, and placing him with her, close to where her body was found, about 20 minutes before the time the police had decided was the time of death.

There's so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start.

Luke hadn't necesarily been expecting Jodi to "come out to play" that evening, because she was in her mother's bad books because of having played truant some time the previous week and originally she wasn't going to be allowed out until six, but around 4.30, after Jodi had come home from school and changed out of her school clothes, Judith had said, well OK, on you go. Jodi texted Luke (using her mother's phone as hers was broken) between 4.34 and 4.38, probably saying that she was coming over (the actual texts were deleted from both phones).

The implication is therefore that Luke was still at home when these texts were exchanged, because that was his first intimation that Jodi was free. You might think that if she was coming over to his neck of the woods, as seems to have been the arrangement, he would simply have waited for her. However her mother insisted that Jodi wasn't allowed to walk down Roan's Dyke path alone and that Luke was expected to come and meet her. This wasn't actually true, Janine confirmed that Jodi often walked the path on her own and Judith knew that, but the rendezvous at the eastern end was insisted on by Judith.

So if Luke immediately dropped everything as soon as he got those texts and walked briskly to the eastern end of the path to meet Jodi, what time could he have got there? In the end the time of that sighting was determined in court to be between 4.49 and 4.54, to fit with the (revised) time that Jodi was believed to have left the house, which was 4.50. If she had left at 4.50 she would have been at the eastern end of the path at 4.53, assuming she went straight there.

But hang on, if Luke was still in his own house texting at 4.38, could he have got to the eastern end of the path by 4.53, only 15 minutes later? The distance is about a mile, so yes, but he would have been hurrying. So that was the prosecution story. Luke had left his house the minute the texting exchange ended (or he was already on his way at that time, even though he didn't know Jodi was coming out unti he got the texts) and walked very fast and got to the spot by 4.53, just in time to meet Jodi, who had left her house at 4.50. And that's what Andrina Bryson saw.

It's not that simple. Andrina Bryson originally timed that sighting at about 5.40 to 5.45. According to the police theory Jodi was already dead by then. That time didn't work for the police at all, because there was a definite confirmed sighting of Luke sitting on a wall at the end of his own street in Newbattle at six o'clock. He said he hadn't left Newbattle at all and he was still waiting for Jodi to show up at that point, and no there was no arrangement that he was supposed to go and meet her at the eastern end of the path and walk her to Newbattle. (There was an arrangement that he would walk her home along the path, but not that he would go to meet her.) He was seen sitting on the wall waiting for her at 6.00 by friends who actually knew him, so there was no getting out of that one. Working back from that time the police figured that 5.15 was the latest he could possibly have committed the murder and still got back to Newbattle to be seen sitting on a wall as if he hadn't a care in the world. Therefore Jodi had to have left as early as 4.50 to get her to the spot where she was murdered in time for Luke to be the murderer and the whole mad-slasher thing to have happened.

So the Bryson sighting, if it was to remain part of the evidence (and it had to be, because nobody else claimed to have seen Luke at the eastern end of the path at that time, to give the lie to his story that he'd spent the entire evening west of the path), had to be earlier, and indeed had to be pretty much at 4.53 precisely.

Andrina Bryson's original story was that she got into her car with her two children (one a toddler) at 4.05, pretty much as soon as her daughter got home from school, to go to the supermarket. It took five to ten minutes to get to the supermarket and then about 35 to 45 minutes to do her weekly shopping. The police got her till receipt which said 4.45, so that more or less checks with the shorter of the time estimates. 4.05 leave the house, 4.10 arrive at the supermarket, 4.45 at the checkout. She wanted to look at a house for sale in Easthouses (the village where Jodi lived, at the eastern end of the path) so she drove there, getting a bit lost, looked at the house from the street, and then drove home. It was on the way home she saw the couple.

It was agreed she would have taken five minutes to get the messages and the kids into the car and drive away, so leaving the supermarket at 4.50. The minimum time to get to Easthouses from the supermarket was 12 minutes, or 17 minutes if she'd gone a longer way, so 5.02 to 5.07 arrival in the village. Then she had to find the house for sale, stop in the street to look at it, then turn the car in the cul-de-sac to head off home. Originally she gave herself more than half an hour for that, estimating that she'd seen the couple at the end of the path at 5.40 to 5.45. Another time point was that she'd received a phone call "about half an hour after she got back home". That call was logged at 6.17 (she originally guessed 6.20 before the time was checked), meaning she got home about 5.50.

I'm not quite sure how long it was supposed to take to drive from the western end of Roan's Dyke path back to Andrina Bryson's house, but possibly this sequence of events puts her sighting of the couple a little bit earlier than 5.45, perhaps 5.40 or a few minutes before that. Certainly not 4.53. So how did that happen? You'd think the till receipt timed at 4.45 would knock the whole thing on the head from the start.

Here's how it was done. The police got Mrs Bryson's bank statement, and for some reason the transaction was timed on the bank statement at 4.32 (and 45 seconds), 13 minutes earlier. They decided that had to be the correct time and the till receipt was wrong. Well OK, but that would have meant that Mrs Bryson managed to do her weekly shop (with a kid and a toddler in tow) in about 15 minutes, compared to her original estimate of 35 to 45 minutes. Given the 4.32 time, add 5 minutes to get kids and groceries into the car, then the 12 minutes minimum time to drive to Easthouses from the supermarket and you have 4.49, or 4.54 if you take the longer route. Hey presto, this is just right to have seen Luke and Jodi meet at the eastern end of the path exactly as the police timings needed them to have met.

But what about the drive to look at the house for sale? Mrs Bryson always put the sighting of the couple after she looked at the house, on her way home. They seem just to have forgotten about that, unless there's another altered statement that hasn't been mentioned.

So who did Andrina Bryson say she saw? Originally she described a male in his early 20s, white, average height and build, thick sandy brown hair standing up in a clump at the back. He was wearing a green fishing-style jacket with a lot of pockets and trousers to match. She didn't see his face at all. The girl had very dark shoulder-length hair, with a plain navy-blue hoodie and light blue boot-cut jeans. Again she didn't see the face and couldn't guess an age.

Luke Mitchell, on 30th June 2003, was a skinny 14-year-old kid with dead straight blond hair. The prosecution were adamant that he had been wearing a parka jacket (which he didn't actually possess at that time, but which in any case didn't match the fishing-jacket description). Jodi had mid-brown or auburn hair. She was wearing a baggy black top with a prominent logo on the back, and very baggy black trousers.

It's blindingly obvious that Andrina Bryson saw two completely different people, not Luke and Jodi, at maybe twenty to six. But it was vital for the prosecution that it had to be Luke and Jodi at 4.53. There's more, including a photospread which seems to have been about as fair as the one Tony Gauci was shown on 15th September 1991 (that is, anyone could probably have figured out which photo was the suspect) from which Mrs Bryson (who didn't see the man's face) obligingly picked out Luke - of course Luke was already the prime suspect by then and it's pretty unlikely she didn't know what he looked like even if her brother-in-law hadn't been as thick as thieves with the Joneses. And a parka which she said wasn't what the man had been wearing, but she picked it out because she'd been asked to pick the garment most like the one she'd seen the man wearing. (Again shades of Tony Gauci - well if I have to pick someone then the one that looks most like is the number eight - not the man I saw in my shop but the man who looks a little bit like is...)

I don't think the people Mrs Bryson saw have actually been identified. Of course if they weren't there till 5.40 and the police were concentrating on the period between 4.50 and 5.15, they might not have pinged anyone's radar. But since it seems likely Jodi was murdered later than 5.15 they might have been important witnesses. Hey ho.

I'll get on to the third plank of the prosecution case, Luke's alleged movements and his lack of an alibi, tomorrow.
__________________
"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.

Last edited by Rolfe; 18th July 2019 at 05:33 PM.
Rolfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Trials and Errors

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:49 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.