I’ve never needed to be convinced that miscarriages of justice happen in Scotland.

I even wrote a book - Signs of Murder - about one such miscarriage that occurred after the murder of a young woman called Margaret McLaughlin in Carluke in July 1973. In that case the police “fitted up” a local man called George Beattie, who was a bit “soft”, enjoyed train spotting as a hobby and had a below average IQ. During his fourth police interview George would go on to give what I described as a “pseudo-confession”, in which he claimed that Margaret had been stabbed by men wearing tall hats with mirrors on them, and that he had been forced to watch.

It was all nonsense.

In Signs of Murder I even recount tracking down the person I believe to have been more likely to have been Margaret’s killer and report a tense exchange that I had with him on his doorstep. He wasn’t pleased.

The publication of the book led to questions being asked in the Scottish parliament and raising hopes that George, at long last, might get exonerated for a crime that he most certainly did not commit.

However, slowly and silently, the Scottish judicial system clearly decided that George had served his sentence and so what was the point of re-opening old wounds and owning up to a collective failure of having got Margaret’s murder investigation and then George’s criminal prosecution so disastrously wrong.

I knew about Margaret’s murder because it happened in the town where I once lived, and two of my sisters still call Carluke home. I left to go to university and so all of my career has been in England. I really don’t know too much about Scottish cases – unless they come to be featured in Crime Files, which I present for BBC Scotland, or they have something about them which means they get covered south of the border. Crime reporting still tends to be regional, rather than national and even the story of “Bible John” is barely known in England.

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However, at a public talk that I gave last December I was asked a question about Luke Mitchell, who had been convicted in 2005 for the murder of his girlfriend Jodi Jones, after her body had been found in woodland near Dalkeith in Midlothian in 2003. I can’t remember my exact reply, but I said that I knew the case was controversial and that it generated heated debate as Luke has never admitted his guilt even after nearly 20 years in prison, although Jodi’s family remain convinced that he’s the culprit. I had also become more aware of the case, I said, because I had viewed some of a two-part documentary on Channel 5 called Murder in a Small Town. However, such was the pressure of work, I hadn’t managed to watch the second episode.

Over the last few months, prompted by several emails I have at last been able to devote time to look more fully at Luke Mitchell’s case, and what I’ve seen gives me cause for concern. What happened to Luke almost echoes all the mistakes that took place within the investigation, trial and conviction of George Beattie and so my fear is that Jodi’s killer has never been caught and punished at all.

It took me two years to research and write Signs of Murder and even then I wasn’t privy to all of the materials that would normally have been made available to me if I had been conducting an official investigation. The same holds true for what I’ve been able to read and analyse about Jodi’s murder, and nor have I devoted two years to come to a conclusion. However, I have been able to: read transcripts from Luke’s trial; consult various appeals that were made on his behalf; looked at a range of newspaper commentary (some of which supported his conviction); watched Murder in a Small Town and also part of the Trials that Shocked Scotland series; listened to a podcast about the case – which also devoted most of an episode to Luke Mitchell speaking from prison (and he clearly is an intelligent man); and delved into some social media – which I can assure you is not for the faint-hearted.

So this range of materials can hardly be described as “definitive”. Nor have I been able to look at any surviving forensic evidence – there was none in George’s case – and, if press reports are to be believed, in the wake of the screening of the Channel 5 documentary, all of this was going to be destroyed in Luke’s case, until his solicitors stepped in to prevent its destruction.

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However, even accepting that I could not access all of the materials I would have wanted, there is literally nothing – nothing - I could uncover that warranted Luke even being charged with Jodi’s murder, never mind being sent to trial. Instead there seemed to be a concerted press campaign to damage his character which served to support the police’s actions, and in much the same way that George’s reputation got tarnished by his pseudo-confession – he’s alluding to the pop group Slade with his reference to men wearing tall hats with mirrors on them – Luke gets similar treatment but this time it’s the American goth-rocker Marilyn Manson that’s harnessed to do the damage. There is no forensic evidence whatsoever to connect Luke to Jodi’s murder, despite the horrifying way in which she was killed. As with George, there were no “signs of murder” on his person, and nor is it true that his clothing was destroyed by his mother after the event. Witness testimony is weak, inconsistent and more than likely wrong, and about the only thing that I could see that needed to be investigated more fully was his part in the initial discovery of Jodi’s body. However, this was not just a case of circumstantial evidence leading to a conviction, but one of literally no evidence at all.

Nothing has happened as far as George Beattie’s miscarriage is concerned and my fear is that nothing will happen about Luke Mitchell’s either. The Scottish Criminal Justice System never seems keen to admit to its mistakes but, as I have always argued, a judicial system cannot call itself mature and civilised unless it’s prepared to hold its hands up and admit when it gets things wrong.

And that’s what they did in Luke Mitchell’s case – it got things wrong, and so for me Jodi’s killer is still to be brought to justice.

Professor David Wilson is emeritus professor of criminology at Birmingham City University