By Gordon Mcilwraith
Feb 12 2005
SATAN worshipper Luke Mitchell was yesterday caged for 20 years for the brutal slaying of Jodi Jones. The sentence is the longest ever set for a teenager in Scotland.
Mitchell, 16, murdered girlfriend Jodi ona woodland path in Dalkeith, Midlothian, by slashing her throat.
He then stripped the 14-year-old and mutilated her body with a knife.
Lord Nimmo Smith said Mitchell 'found evil attractive', had a sick fascination with the devil and longed for 'a kind of perverted glamour in doing something wicked'.
Mitchell, who was led away from the High Court in Edinburgh in handcuffs to begin his sentence, will have to serve a minimum of 20 years before he is even eligible for parole.
The fiend inflicted injuries on Jodi similar to those suffered by 1940s Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Short - known as the Black Dahlia.
During Mitchell's trial, paintings that goth rocker Marilyn Manson produced based on morgue photos of Short were shown to the jury.
Mitchell maintains his innocence and his defence team may appeal.
Jodi died in a frenzy of violence after she met Mitchell on the Roan's Dyke path - a short-cut between their homes in the Easthouses and Newbattle areas of Dalkeith - in June2003.
He smothered her, forced her to her knees and twice cut her throat.
Mitchell then stripped her naked, tied her hands behind her back and inflicted the gaping wounds to her face, breast, stomach and arms.
The court, where Mitchell was last month found guilty of murder by a jury, was packed again yesterday as he returned to hear his fate.
Mitchell's mother, Corinne, 45, and Jodi's mum, Judith, 39, sat in opposite sides of the public gallery as the judge slammed the teenage monster.
Lord Nimmo Smith said nothing in the psychiatric and social inquiry reports even hinted as how Mitchell could commit such an appalling crime.
But he believed aspects of his upbringing played a part.
The judge said: 'It is very rare for a person so young to be convicted of such a serious murder.
'Jodi regarded you with affection and trust and went joyfully to meet you.
'She did you no harm yet you inflicted a horrible death on her and mutilated her body.
'Looking back over the evidence, I still cannot fathom what led you to do as you did. Perhaps you don't even know yourself.
'Over the past months, you have appeared before me on more than 50 separate occasions.
'On none of these do I recall having detected any sign of emotion in you.
'It may be that a lack of emotional response made you more readily able to inflict harm on others.
'Your lack of emotion may account for the callous charade in which you pretended to help search for Jodi and inflicted on members of her family the pain of the discovery of her body.
'I do not think that your interest in Satanism can be ignored.
'I think it is a sign that you found evil attractive and that you thought that there might be a kind of perverted glamour in doing something wicked.
'I don't feel able to ignore the degree of resemblance between injuries inflicted on Jodi and those in the Marilyn Manson paintings.
'I think you carried an image of these paintings in your memory when you killed Jodi.
'I believe that, in the way in which you went with deliberation about killing Jodi and mutilating her body, you were acting out a scene which you had previously formed in your mind.
'I don't know how far in advance you decided to kill Jodi.
'The trigger may have been her discovery that you were also carrying on a relationship with Kimberley Thomson.
'Another factor is your consumption of cannabis.
'I believe, in some instances, it can seriously damage mental processes of those who habitually consume it.
'In your case, I think it may well have contributed to you being unable to make the distinction between fantasy and reality.
'This does not in any way excuse what you did.
'I remain of the view that is one of the worst cases of murder of a single victim to have come before this court in many years.
'If you were older, I would have no difficulty in deciding the seriousness of the offence merited the imposition of a punishment part of the life sentence among the longest that there have been.
'It is only your age that led me to decide a lesser period is appropriate.
'It is nevertheless a lengthy one and one during which I hope you will gain some insight into those aspects of your character which led you to commit this dreadful crime.'
Donald Findlay, QC, defending, said Mitchell remained adamant that he had played no part in Jodi's death.
He said: 'The sense of frustration and impotence that I feel this morning is difficult to put into words.
'The Luke Mitchell I have come to know is not the Luke Mitchell who the jury says committed this crime.
'Everyone concerned representing Luke feels for Jodi and her family in what remains an awful tragedy.
'So long as that young man maintains to me he did not kill Jodi, the fight to clear his name will go on.'