A SCOTS criminologist is gaining support in her campaign for an independent review to be launched into the conviction of murderer Luke Mitchell.
Crime expert Dr Sandra Lean launched a petition yesterday calling for a “fully independent inquiry” after Mitchell was convicted in 2005 of killing his girlfriend Jodi Jones.
The Change.org petition follows her appearance on this week’s controversial Channel Five documentary, Murder in a Small Town.
So far, the petition has attracted over 5,000 signatures in 24 hours from supporters who believe Mitchell was wrongly convicted.
Dr Lean shared her petition onto her Twitter account yesterday, captioning her post: “The case of Luke Mitchell requires a full, independent review – Sign the Petition!”
Dr Lean posted on the petition saying: “The 2005 conviction of Luke Mitchell for the murder of Jodi Jones in 2003 requires and urgent and fully independent inquiry.
“There are far too many unanswered questions to consider this conviction safe.
“In the spirit of true justice and transparency, we, the undersigned, demand that all evidence and information be released to an independent panel (not the SCCRC) for scrutiny, comment and recommendations.
“The people are willing to raise funds to contribute to the cost of such an inquiry.”
Mitchell, who found Jodi’s body, was quickly accused of her murder and was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh, aged 16.
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.
Speaking today, Dr Lean spoke of her hope that Luke’s case would go to an inquiry.
She said: “The justice system does not allow a full review of the case – but a full independent inquiry would be fair.
“Somebody needs to listen, look at the evidence and look at how it is unfair. This has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
When asked about Luke’s treatment at the hands of the police, she said: “They did everything in their power to manipulate him.
“It was beyond disgusting.
“If you put a 14-year-old in a room with fully grown men he is going to be intimidated.
“We cannot do justice like that.”
Dr Lean also spoke of Luke’s mother’s joy at the recent surge in support for her son.
She said: “[Corrine] is delighted that finally the story is being told and happy with the swell of support for her and her son.”
Dr Lean has backed Luke Mitchell since he was found guilty of murder in 2005 and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars.
She has worked closely with legal teams to help Mitchell appeal his case over the years and dedicated her career to it.
Mitchell’s attempts to appeal the decision were rejected and he’s been serving his sentence since, with the earliest chance of release being 2025.
The documentary, Murder in a Small Town aired on Wednesday night, with the second installment hitting television screens last night.
Dr Lean and mother Corrine play a vital part in the two part documentary which has explored different aspects of the case including additional suspects.
The show told how another suspect, Mark Kane, was apparently lurking in the same woods, taking drugs on the night that Jodi was killed.
A friend of his claimed Kane appeared at his house in Leith, Edinburgh the following day with deep scratches on his face.
However, Kane is said to have died last year so can not be questioned further about these claims.
The documentary questions the conviction of Mitchell and a fresh investigation currently being carried out by two private investigators.
In recent times there has been criticism over the police investigation at the time.
Throughout his trial and subsequent imprisonment, Luke has professed his innocence as has his mother Corrine.
Since Dr Lean started her petition yesterday the petition has attracted an influx of support.
Paul Fisher said: “Luke is innocent and should be released asap.”
Liz Blyth commented: “The guy is clearly innocent.”
Shirley McLean posted: “This young man is innocent and the murderer walks free. Retrial 100%.”