Monday, April 1, 2013

Statement Analysis: Luke Mitchell

The following is Statement Analysis of a short interview with murder victim's boyfriend.  Statement Analysis is in bold type. 

The murder of Jodi Jones, a 14-year-old girl, took place in Easthouses, Scotland on 30 June 2003. Her 15 year old boyfriend, Luke Mitchell, came under suspicion, but it was several months before he was arrested. Mitchell was tried for the murder and after Scotland's longest single-accused trial, Mitchell was convicted in January 2005. He was sentenced to detention without limit of time with a minimum of 20 years.

JAMES MATTHEWS:   It’s 65 days since Jodi was killed, Luke, clearly it’s a tragedy for her family, do you see it as a tragedy for your family as well?

LUKE:   Yes.

JAMES MATTHEWS:   Tell me about your experience over the last two months.

LUKE:   It’s just been worse than a nightmare.  At least a nightmare you wake up from eventually but this, you can’t wake up from it.

JAMES MATTHEWS:   What’s been the worst part of the last two months?

LUKE:   The worst part would be still finding Jodi.  That was still the worst part.  All the rest of it, the police and accusations and everything I couldn’t care about, it’s just … I just want to find out what happened and who did it.

Note the list of concerns:

The last thing listed is "who" did it.  Would this not be the first  and foremost issue?
Note the negative, "couldn't care" as very important. 

Note that "what happened" comes before "who" 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   Do you feel that the finger has been pointed at you as the person responsible?

LUKE:   I feel it has been left to the media and public to decide.  It is trial by media.  They haven’t actually come out and totally accused me, apart from in interviews, the police have accused me but I feel it has been left to trial by media to see what the public decide, who’s guilty and who’s not.  The way the police are handling it, they have searched other houses and they have other suspects but I seem to be really the only person they are mentioning by name in specific detail.

Here he wants it left up to a trial to see what the public decides.  Easier would have been for him to tell us now, what we should think by simply denying the murder.  He does not.

This answer is a good example of how deceptive people have a need to avoid the direct lie; how it is stressful for them and they avoid the lie, even to the point of sounding foolish, or circumspect. 
He notices 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   But you have an alibi for that night because you were with friends?

LUKE:   Yes. I was, first I was waiting just at the end of the estate where I was in full view, cars were passing, people were just getting home from work on buses, then I met up with my friends.

JAMES MATTHEWS:   Who vouch for you?

LUKE:   Yes, they gave statements the same as mine.

What is easier is for someone to say, "I didn't kill Jodie Jones" and not concern himself with an alibi. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   It is a question on everybody’s lips in this community, it is a question you clearly have an answer for.  Did you kill Jodi Jones?

A yes or no question is easy to lie to.  When possible, we seek to frame questions that allow the subject to choose his answer.  Something along these lines:

"Many people think you killed Jodi Jones, how do you speak to it?" or 
"With people believing you killed Jodi Jones, what do you say?"

LUKE:   No, I never, I wouldn’t think of it.  All the time we were going out we never had one argument at all, neverWe never fell out or anything.

Unreliable denial. 

The answer is not only "unreliable" but it is sensitive to the subject. 

A reliable denial has three (30 components according to LSI (  

If the denial adds to, or subtracts to the denial, it is to be deemed "unreliable."  An unreliable denial is just that, unreliable.  It does not mean the subject is guilty; it means the subject has not told us, plainly, that he did not do it. 

1.  The Pronoun "I" must be present
2.  The past tense verb must be present
3.  The allegation must be specifically answered

It is something that is quite simple for the innocent.  "I didn't kill Jodi" would be an example of a reliable denial. 

Here are some unreliable denials:

"I would never kill Jodi", using the future/conditional tense verb, "would"
"I did not harm Jodi" takes death and reduces it (minimizes it) to "harm"
The word "never" is not appropriate unless the subject has been asked a question with the word "ever" in it.  

The innocent will give a reliable denial often early, without waiting for the accusation. 

LSI Principle:  if a subject is unable or unwilling to say he did not do it, we are not permitted to say it for him.  

Here, not only does he avoid the unreliable denial, but tells the reason "why" he "would" not have killed her:  because they got along. 

Even though the word "because" or "since" is not used, the principle of having the need to explain "why", makes this a very sensitive point for him.  

There is something else very concerning in his statement:

He uses the word "we", which shows unity and/or cooperation.  In context, it was while they were going out. 

Please notice carefully these additional words "all the time we were going out..."in his sentence.  These appear to be unnecessary words making them doubly important to us. 

Is it so that they had broken up and then he killed her?  Because it is he who tells us that they "never" (unreliable) had one argument (perhaps many?) adding the time frame while they were going out.  

This denial is not only unreliable, it is sensitive and it puts a condition upon their relationship:  time.  

JAMES MATTHEWS:   How do you feel at being told to stay away from the funeral?

LUKE:   That was a hard blow.  I was dreading going to the funeral but I did want to go and being told not to go due to the fact that it would turn the funeral into a circus, a media circus, was bad.  It would have been a media circus without me but that was, if it was the family’s wishes, that’s what I was going to do?

It was a hard blow, but he had been "dreading" going to it.  This would seem, to me, to lessen the "blow."

It is this choice of wording:  "hard blow" that has entered his language and should be noted. 

Always note a question within an answer, as the subject may be speaking to himself, about his own internal struggle. 
JAMES MATTHEWS:   You have paid your own tribute, you have written a poem.  Tell me why you felt you needed to do that?

LUKE:   I just felt I had to say goodbye in my own way.

The poem being in his "own way", should be analyzed for content. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   So what would you say to those who would look at you and think he killed his girlfriend?

James Matthews appears to understand that Luke Mitchell did not give a reliable denial.  This is an excellent question and since he gave the subject a chance to talk about his feelings regarding the funeral and being misunderstood ("my own way"), the timing is excellent.  This is now another perfect opportunity for Luke Mitchell to say "I didn't kill Jodi":

LUKE:   I just say they are being naïve and not to believe everything you read in the papers.  As a lot of folk know from what they’ve said and what’s turned out in the papers, they do change what people have said, not the whole truth is published in papers.  It is basically what the people want to hear is what printed.

Luke Mitchell is unable to bring himself to say the simple words, "I did not kill Jodie" or "I didn't kill Jodie"; therefore, we are not permitted to say it for him. 

This was his second opportunity. 

Please note that not "everything" in the papers should be believed, but some things can be. 
Please note that not the "whole" truth is in "published papers", but some truth. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   I suppose the difficulty is from 5 p.m. to whenever Jodie was found, that's a long time to fill and to account for, especially if you lose track of time.  The question I suppose for detectives, for people who look at that is could anybody account for every minute in that sort of period?  Can you, can you account for every minute?

A good question about his alibi.  This is yet another opportunity to say he didn't do it: 

LUKE:   No.  Well the police seem to expect people to, as you say, pin down every minute of their life, to expect us to know when we do small insignificant things like doing the dishes, expect us to have a time for that, it isn’t possible to keep a pin of every minute that you do something.

If a subject does not tell us he didn't do it, we should believe him.  Of any or every minute "small insignificant" thing in life, he mentions "dishes", with its reference to water.  We often find that mentioning of water is related to sexual activity; whether it be activity, abuse, or sexual homicide. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   This burning of clothes keeps getting mentioned and there is also the subject of a missing knife, is that your missing knife?

LUKE:   No.  The burning clothes that wasn’t us.  They just stated that a female relative of the suspect admitted to burning clothes.

Not, "that wasn't me" but "us", which is plural.  Guilty parties often feel more secure sharing guilt with others. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   Was that you or anyone connected to you?
LUKE:   No, not that we know of. 

The weakness continues. 

JAMES MATTHEWS:   Finally, do you miss Jodi?

LUKE:   A lot.  It’s just, everything I do seems to remind me, her views and everything come up everywhere.  Everywhere you look, going about the streets, there are posters.  It’s just, I can’t believe … it still feels like a nightmare.

Everything the subject does seems to remind him of her; but everywhere "you" look, there are posters.  

Broken sentences contain missing information.  

Even in this short interview, Luke Mitchell is unable to issue a reliable denial and shows very high sensitivity. 



John Mc Gowan said...

Hi Peter,

I find i can pick out the words and sentences that show sensitivity..

The explanation for the sensitivities
i can explain in my head,however i'm finding it for the most part, difficult to put it down in writing.So frustrating,can you give any tips to help with this?


Anonymous said...

Admittedly, according to SA he sounds guilty in his choice of words and lack of. But then, there've been others who sounded (looked and acted) guilty that weren't; I bring to mind Sierra LaMar's mother.

S + K Mum said...

Luke's Poem to Jodi

"Goodbye Jodi. Please can you say what happened,

Please tell us who it was, who took your life so cruelly

For no apparent cause.

You had so much to give us, you lived life your own way,

Whoever did this to you, should just be put away.

You didn’t see bad in others, you didn’t like to judge,

We’re sorry Jodi, truly, but we’ll always hold a grudge.

You were taken from us so cruelly,

Please don’t ask us to forgive,

We cannot get this from our hearts however long we live.

You’ve been laid to rest, but not in peace,

We know that just can’t be,

But we’ll say goodbye and forever hope

That justice we will see."

S + K Mum said...

I think Mitchell's mum was supposedly the one who burned his clothes, might be remembering that wrong though.

Mitchell helped Jodi's family search for her and was the one who found her body behind a high wall in a wooded area. She had been killed in a savage knife attack.

John Mc Gowan said...

Whoever did THIS to you, should JUST be put away.



Why would he put himself close to her murder?


Why would you want the killers sentence to be minimised.

"WE'RE SORRY Jodi, TRULY, but WE'LL always hold a grudge".

Who is the WE?

BUT= negates the the apology

Sometimes killers apologise in there statements for what they have done,especially in 911 calls.

TRULY weakens the apology.

Who are THEY holding a grudge against?

S + K Mum said...

'Us' and 'we' instead of 'I' jumped out straight away.

I find this line weird -
'you didn't see bad in others'
Perhaps if she did, she wouldn't have left her home to meet Luke?

S + K Mum said...

There are videos on Youtube of Luke Mitchell allegedly passing a lie detector test. I haven't watched any of the videos and don't know who issued the test(s)but the videos might be interesting to watch and listen to.

John Mc Gowan said...

S + K Mum,

Ive watch that,his Mum also took one and passed..

Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable..

S + K Mum said...


I know relatives of Jodi's so I am very keen to read S.A. of the case.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

S + K,

if they have anything they'd like me to look at, I would be glad to help them.


John Mc Gowan said...

Jodi Jones: Killer Speaks To Sky

Mitchell explained that on the night of the killing he had arranged to meet Jodi, but was not too concerned when she didn't show up.

"I was planning to meet her earlier. She didn't turn up. I just expected she'd met someone or changed plans without telling me. It didn't really come to my mind that something bad had happened, it wasn't something you'd expect," he said.

"I was waiting for Jodi. She never appeared and I just thought she'd met someone along the way and decided to talk to them and lost track of time or something.

"I met up with a few other pals and I lost track of time myself. I didn't bother to phone Jodi at home, I just thought I'd see her at school the next day."

Mitchell said the first point at which he thought anything might be wrong was when Jodi's mother contacted him looking for her.

"I got a text message from her mother asking for Jodi but she wasn't with me, so I phoned back and said I hadn't seen her. Her mother was like, oh she came down to meet you, are you sure she didn't meet you?

"I said no, and she decided to contact people around her area, see if they'd seen her and nobody had.

"I got a phone call back saying nobody had seen her, and her mum was in tears when she called so I said I would go out and look for Jodi - the route she would have come.

"I left the house and went up to the Roman Dyke path with the dog, we were walking up the path and we didn't notice anything. I got up to the top of the path where we met her sister, her sister's fiancé and her gran and we decided to look back down.

John Mc Gowan said...


"At this point I had managed to get the dog tracking - she's a trained tracker - and she must have picked up Jodi's scent and led us down the path and over the wall to where Jodi was.

"At that point I left the rest of the search party on the path to go over the wall to check. I just had a feeling, I could just tell it was Jodi, I just had this gut instinct."

Mitchell said that as soon as he was charged with the killing, he felt the media had already decided he was guilty.

"It is trial by media," he said. "They haven't actually come out and totally accused me, apart from in interviews, the police have accused me but I feel it has been left to trial by media to see what the public decide, who's guilty and who's not.

"The way the police are handling it, they have searched other houses and they have other suspects but I seem to be really the only person they are mentioning by name in specific detail."

Asked the crucial question, did you kill Jodi Jones?, he insisted: "No, never, I wouldn't think of it. All the time we were going out we never had one argument at all, never. We never fell out or anything."

"I would just say (to people who think he killed Jodi) they are being naïve and not to believe everything you read in the papers. As folk know from what they've said and what's turned out in the papers, they do change what people have said, not the whole truth is published in papers. It is basically what the people want to hear is what printed.

Mitchell said he thought he had been accused simply because he could not provide police with precise times of where he was on the day Jodi was killed.

"The police seem to expect people to pin down every minute of their life, to expect us to know when we do small insignificant things like doing the dishes, expect us to have a time for that. It's not as though you look at your watch every time you go to the toilet or something," he said.

"They've wasted their time with actually getting out and searching, they've concentrated too much on people close to Jodi. They have seemed to have lost vital clues. I mean on the Tuesday morning they allowed the bins to be emptied, all the bins near her to be emptied, which was a major problem which they only made public and admitted just a couple of weeks ago.

"They seem to have missed a lot of stuff. A lot of people we know who are either police or ex-police are saying they have gone about the enquiry wrongly and their actions towards me and towards other people and towards information they're getting have been taken wrong."

Mitchell said the worst thing about the whole situation is that Jodi is gone, and he still missed her every day.

"Everything I do seems to remind me, her views and everything come up everywhere.

Everywhere you go, going about the streets, there are posters. It still feels like a nightmare," he said.

Anonymous said...

Mitchell might not have used all the so-called "right" words we are looking for and chose to disect one by one, however, I do not believe he killed Jodi.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know what evidence they had against him presented at the trial?

S + K Mum said...

Thank you Peter. I will let you know if there is.

S + K Mum said...

Bonnie Blue,

I think it was circumstantial evidence against Mitchell.

Luke finding the body in poor conditions, his brother contradicting his statement of where he was at the time of the murder, his clothes may have been burned as neighbours could smell something from his garden.

There was no DNA evidence as far as I can remember.

Anonymous said...

There was DNA evidence, just none belonged to Luke. Blood from the sisters boyfriend on her shirt, and a condom within 50 yards of the body with another males DNA. A male who was reported to have scratches on his face, but was not investigated for nearly 3 years?? There is plenty of doubt in this case, too much to rely on s/a of a single article and a poem. Also changed statements from the victims family on how the body was found.

j said...

Anonymous said...
Mitchell might not have used all the so-called "right" words we are looking for and chose to disect one by one, however, I do not believe he killed Jodi.

April 1, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Anon, which statement has he made to make you base your beliefs that he didn't kill Jodie? Which *right words* are we dissecting to make you uncomfortable with our analysis?

Juliette said...

oooops j said, anonymous, I didn't post this last comment at 2:07 properly, it should be from Juliette!! :)

~mj said...

I plan on reading up on this one. In the mean time, something seems to stand out to me: I wonder if a juvenile's statement would show more sensitivity markers straight out the gate, due to the authority scrutiny? Sort of like the principals office dread expounded? I don't know, I'm just wondering if there is consideration for age.

John Mc Gowan said...

What do you make of this..


A knife pouch was also found in Mitchell's possession on which he had marked "JJ 1989 - 2003" and "The finest day I ever had was when tomorrow never came". This was also considered evidence on the basis that it would be unlikely for anyone but the killer to remember someone killed with a knife in this way.

~mj said...

John, something to be noted: that was found in April of 2004. I don't know what difference, if at all, it makes, but in other sources they make it sound like they found that right away. Which is not the case.

Rose said...

The kid is innocent, seriously.

A condom with semen of a known serial rapist was found near the body. Blood from her would be brother in law was found on her clothes, and though it was her sisters shirt, tests showed the shirt had been washed when Jodie left.

The victims family changed their testimony constantly, and Luke's mother claimed the victims family knew who it was. Sounds to me like they're the ones hiding the killer.

There was no parka/ poncho until AFTER the murder, which is why the police didn't find it.

Teenagers placed Luke in a COMPLETELY different place at the time of murder. but police never followed this.

The knife was found after the trial. So it could not be submitted as evidence, at least, not if this were a trial in the states.

last, on the 23 last month a senior detective/cop reviewed the case and said it never should have happened. Evidence was tampered with, as was the crime scene, and the police did things that they technically were not allowed to do.

It was a faulty case. and even my best friends dad, a defense attorney, says it smelt like a set up.

all points of view said...

I find it bizarre that everyone seemed to have forgotten that this boy was a child, a teenager. and Scottish. The language is how teenagers talk, especially many scottish teenagers. A teenager not unlike many thousands of teenagers.

I don't know if he did kill is girlfriend, but I do know law and the verdict should have been "not proven" an oddly scottish verdict as all the evidence was circumstantial. There did not appear to be any solid factual evidence. He wasn't given a fair trial due to various factors - media coverage, the place the trial was held ( and so the jury was picked locally). All in all it just wasn't right. No one would wish such a trail on anyone regardless of guilt. But for a child to to be tried in such a way, shame on the judicial system

Habundia said...


Chris Halkides said...

"Not, "that wasn't me" but "us", which is plural. Guilty parties often feel more secure sharing guilt with others." Given that it has been alleged that his mother helped him burn clothes, Luke's use of the word "us" is entirely appropriate and accurate. However, Luke did not own a parka at the time of the murder; therefore, there was no parka to be burned in the first place.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


excellent comment. Thank you for the additional info.


Jennifer said...

In the headline of this article from 2018, we have a confession by pronoun, although it is not directly quoted in the article.

"I would rather stay behind bars than admit my guilt for murder of Jodi Jones.