IT was Scotland's most expensive murder trial, and it ended with the conviction of Luke Mitchell for the murder of his girlfriend, Jodi Jones.

Fourteen years on, Mitchell is serving his sentence in Shotts Prison – and he continues to protest his innocence.

Speaking exclusively in his first-ever interview from his cell, Mitchell, now 30 years old, tells Rozlyn Little that he would rather stay behind bars than admit his guilt:

As I enter the visiting room in Shott’s prison, I am met with an almost meek smile and a warm handshake. Standing before me is Luke Mitchell, notoriously convicted of killing his teenage girlfriend Jodi Jones.

The violent murder of the 14-year-old shocked the small town of Dalkeith. And it wasn’t long before suspicion fell on Mitchell.

Now nearing his 30th birthday, he has spent almost more of his life behind bars, than he has outside.

READ MORE: Terry Mullins, polygraph expert, says Mitchell did not stab Jodi Jones

The case relied solely on circumstantial evidence, and Mitchell has maintained his innocence throughout.

As we sit down, and I begin to question him about the trial, it quickly becomes apparent that Mitchell is extremely proper, polite, and well spoken. He wrings his hands slightly but continues to smile, and my eye is drawn to a lip piercing that rests slightly above a goatee.

He is clearly happy to speak, and I ask about one of the arguments used to support his guilt – his lack of emotion during the events.

“Inside I was breaking down a lot. The press were attacking me. I couldn’t do anything right. If I had been crying they would have been called crocodile tears. There was a long period of not feeling anything at all,” he recalls.

Mitchell, who was aged 14 at the time of the murder, was given strong medication to deal with trauma. He cites this as a reason for his apparently emotionless behaviour but explains further: “When the jury visited the crime scene, I was told ‘stay flat and don’t react’- which probably didn’t help in their eyes.”

He says that at the scene, someone fainted, and in the commotion an individual had held him back. He did not react at that moment, stating that he had taken the advice given to him.

He appears confused as he recalls these events and notes his compliant demeanor throughout the process.

When he was convicted, Mitchell failed to protest again. He claims an order was given by the judge, to not show emotion upon the verdict: “I was in shock. The only reason I didn’t fall over was because I was gripping onto the railing in the dock so tightly.

"The public perception is that there is concrete evidence. There is this block in people’s brains. I want them to see that there’s no forensic evidence - nothing.

“Well, there is forensic evidence - just not linked to me. I thought the jury would see through it because there was no DNA evidence that related to me.

“I thought, my statements are consistent throughout, the jurors will see that.”

Throughout the investigation, Mitchell upheld his statement that his German Shepherd Mia - a dog partially taught to track by a professional trainer - led him to the body of his girlfriend. At the time of discovery, he was with three members of Jodi’s family; her grandmother, sister, and the sister’s boyfriend.

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.

Statements from two members of the party, reveal that the dog jumped and pulled over to the wall, where one member admitted that it was standing on its hind legs. This failed to be mentioned to the jury, as the members had already adopted new statements.

An initial statement had also said that Mitchell appeared to be in shock, but at trial the jury were told that he appeared to be emotionless.

Mitchell recalls the day of the murder and how he was forced to lead the police to the area where Jodi’s body lay: “I was the youngest there, and I don’t know why they asked. I stopped near the wall. I said I can’t go any further. I was scared.”

Mitchell was the only one of the search party to be taken back to the police station, where he was strip searched without an adult present and interrogated.

Before the events, he had had no run-ins with the law. He said: “I never did trust the police before. I was always wary. I didn't think that they'd do what they did to a child. I quickly realised that it didn't matter what I said. I was in shock at the time.

“They strip searched me and put all my clothes in a bag. Then one turns to the other and says, “wait, shouldn’t we be wearing gloves?” So, they took my clothes out the bag, then put gloves on, and then put them back into the bag.”


Jodi Jones 

He laughs, as if almost still in disbelief, and continues to recall other interrogations: “At the start they tried to be nicey-nicey, but then they began to push harder. They did a good cop, bad cop routine. I was looking at the social worker to intervene. One was slamming his fists on the table then storming out, and the other would ask If I wanted a drink. I was like, “what are you doing?

“I went to the bathroom and they told the social worker to sit down - they would take me. I had one cop on either side of me at the urinal saying, “just f***ing admit it, we know you did it”, but I just carried on what I was doing.”

He breaks eye contact for a moment: “I’ve become galvanised to it. It’s the story of my life really.

“I was always bullied as a kid - by my teachers, other schoolkids. I was always taught never throw the first punch. I've always been blamed for things I didn't do. This situation is an escalated version of that.”

He hopes to take the police force to court upon his release, saying: “I have no faith in Scottish criminal justice. The justice system is completely broken from top to bottom. It needs to be wiped out and started again.

“The court system and the police, they’re not separate bodies, they’re all part of the state. The justice system isn’t there to protect you, it’s to get the conviction.

“The public don’t have to think about these things. They don’t want to believe that the system they put their faith in is flawed. They would rather feel safe than be safe.”

Ironically given his predicament, Mitchell was summoned for jury duty while at Polmont. “That just says it all really,” he laughs, and it is clear he is now completely at ease.

He explains that because of his lack of faith in the justice system, he will never accept this role, and would have to automatically give a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

Mitchell is wearing a short-sleeved, blue prison t-shirt. The last photos taken of him depicted a man with long, dark hair, pulled into a ponytail. His head is now clean shaven, and he is very lean.

He says: “I was doing weight lifting for quite a while. I used it as a coping mechanism. Your mind is 100 per cent on training and what you’re eating. I used to be 14 and a half stone of just pure muscle. I was also running for a while. I was 100 miles away when I was running.”

Mitchell is adamant that he faced a trial by media and that they played a large part in his prosecution. He claims: “They took photos of me on school grounds while I was with my friend and blurred out their face and said they could not be named for legal reasons as they were a child, but they named me.

“The media affected the way people gave evidence - it altered their perception.”

The case relied wholly on circumstantial evidence and despite a thorough search and extensive lab testing, no forensic evidence from the crime scene could be linked to Mitchell. Both friends and family also provided statements that Mitchell was with them on the night of the murder.

“I don’t know what else to do. What can I do? There’s times I feel like smashing myself up, but it’s an impotent anger and it achieves nothing. I shut all my emotional things down. I don’t see there being any other way. It’s adapt or die. If you don’t, you let it crush you and it will kill you.”

He reflects on the hopes that he had as a child, and for a moment, it appears as if he is beginning to well up: “I had motorbikes and horses. I wanted to join the armed forces but this put a complete stop to it obviously. I joined the cadets aged 13 and everything felt right. It was the only thing I had geared myself towards.”

Despite this, he continues to set himself goals for the future: “I want to have my own bit of land and live self-sufficiently off the grid. I’d like to grow and hunt for my own food and be ignored by the world.

“I never wanted to be famous. Anonymity was always important to me. So, it’s been robbed of me.”

As Mitchell continues to claim innocence, it is unlikely that he will be released once his minimum sentence of 20 years is completed.

He says: “I’m being grouped with guys who have done one, two, three, four, five murders, and I’m having to stand my ground I’m innocent.

READ MORE: Miscarriages of Justice Organisation - the organisation helping with Luke Mitchell's latest appeal

“The last time I was truly happy was with Jodi. I was always bullied by teachers and considered suicide, but all that went away. She became my connection to the world. When I was with Jodi nothing mattered, then she was taken away.”

A prison guard alerts us that our time is up and we both stand up to leave. Michell seems more positive, stating: “I'm not about to lie down, I won't let them beat me down. Illegitimi non carborundum, which is a Latin phrase for ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down’.”