Teenager convicted of Jodi murder

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The Independent Online

Teenager Luke Mitchell was found guilty today of the "truly evil" murder of his girlfriend Jodi Jones.

Teenager Luke Mitchell was found guilty today of the "truly evil" murder of his girlfriend Jodi Jones.

The jury of eight women and seven men convicted the 16-year-old on a majority verdict at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Jodi, 14, was stripped, tied up and savagely stabbed to death with all the hallmarks of a ritual killing.

She went missing after going to meet her boyfriend in June 2003. Hours later, her naked and mutilated body was found close to her home.

Her death bore similarities to the gruesome "Black Dahlia" murder of 1940s Hollywood actress Elizabeth Short.Goth rock star Marilyn Manson has painted graphic images depicting the US murder and Mitchell was a fan of his music.

Mitchell, who was 14 when he killed Jodi, denied murdering the schoolgirl in woods near her home in Dalkeith, Midlothian, on June 30 2003.

But the judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, told him today: "It lies beyond any skill of mine to look into the black depths of your mind.

"I can only look at what you have done.

"You have been convicted of a truly evil murder - one of the most appalling crimes that any of us can remember - and you will rightly be regarded as wicked.

"I have no idea what led you to do what you did.

"Maybe it was a desire for notoriety, to achieve something grotesque.

"I leave it to others to fathom."

Mitchell, who was obsessed with Satanism, was found guilty of supplying cannabis, also by a majority verdict.

The murder verdict was met in court with cries of "yes" and applause from the public gallery.

Jodi's mother Judith wept and was comforted by friends and family, who also cried when the verdict was announced.

Mitchell's mother Corinne Mitchell, who was also in the courtroom, hung her head.

Lord Nimmo Smith told the 16-year-old today that he would face "detentionwithout limit of time".

Continuing to address Mitchell, the judge told him: "What you did was to subject Jodi to a horrible death and one can only hope it was mercifully quick.

"There must, however, have been a time before she became unconscious when she knew that you, her boyfriend, whom she held in affection and trust and whom she left joyfully to meet, had turned into a fiend.

"She still had her life ahead of her and you snuffed it out.

"She was loved by her family and you have left them bereft.

"The horror of what you have done has changed many lives and will last far beyond any sentence I can pass on you."

Sentence was deferred for background reports to help determine the minimum period Mitchell will have to serve before being considered for release.

Mitchell, wearing a blue shirt, stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as the jury delivered the verdict.

Detective Superintendent Craig Dobbie, who led the investigation, said he was "delighted" at the guilty verdict.

He said: "I'm really delighted that the jury had the courage to make what was a very difficult decision for them, but one which was the correct decision.

"Jodi's mother is delighted and relieved. The family now have an answer to Jodi's death and can move on with the grieving process."

Today marked the culmination of a trial which began on November 18, making it the longest single-accused murder trial in Scottish legal history.

The trial of Mitchell, of Newbattle Abbey Crescent, Dalkeith, had run for 42 days.The jury of eight women and seven men took between five and five-and-a-half hours to reach their decision over two days.