LUKE Mitchell’s legal aid bill is set to rocket again after it was announced he is to launch yet another appeal.
Campaigners backing the killer, who was jailed in 2005 for murdering girlfriend Jodi Jones, claim they have new evidence to present.
His victim was just 14 when her naked and mutilated body was discovered behind a wall in a wooded area near her home.
Judge Lord Nimmo Smith said the photos he saw of her injuries were the worst he had ever seen.
Mitchell, who was 15 at the time, was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in jail but has fought his conviction ever since.
His legal bill has already hit £112,000 but, with the cost to taxpayers of previous appeals ranging from £10,000 to £77,000, that figure could hit £200,000.
In addition to the new evidence, which Mitchell’s supporters are keeping close to their chest, the 23-year-old is also pinning his hopes on a UK Supreme Court ruling which disallows the use of evidence gained by interviewing a suspect with out a lawyer present – the so called “Cadder ruling”.
It is believed Mitchell’s legal team is now compiling a dossier to be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.
They are hopeful that a decision to refer the case of rapist Ryan McCallum, who was interviewed in the absence of a lawyer, could open “a new door” in the appeals process.
In November the UK Supreme Court, who had refused to hear Mitchell’s case, said Mitchell’s appeal against his conviction was closed.
Sandra Lean, a supporter of Mitchell, said: The application to the SCCRC would have happened regardless of their decision in the McCallum case following the Supreme Court’s decision last year not to hear Luke’s case.
“The legal team is still working on aspects of the appeal to the SCCRC.
“Until the application is together and has been submitted we are not in the position to divulge the contents of this appeal. The SCCRC should hear it first. That is likely to take another few months.
“Our position is that there is a great deal of evidence that has never been put before any court. That new evidence will form part of the application.”
Mitchell tried to overturn his conviction following the Cadder ruling in April 2010 but the bid was rejected. The Supreme Court refused to hear his case in November because his previous appeal had been dealt with before the ruling and could not be reopened.
Ms Lean added: “There are several aspects of Luke’s treatment by the police that constitute human rights breaches. But an arbitrary date has been placed on cases that the Supreme Court will look at. What happens to those people whose rights were breached in the same way prior to the Cadder ruling?
“The SCCRC’s decision to refer the McCallum case opens a new door for Luke’s appeal. The SCCRC are obviously looking at the idea that refusing to hear such cases might cause problems with European Human Rights legislation down the line.”