This really riled me. In a Times article about a boy convicted of killing his girlfriend, the stereotypes run rife.
The lank-haired, black-clad teenager liked to shock classmates and teachers at St David’s High School, Dalkeith, by scribbling Satanic verses on his jotters and calmly stubbing out lit cigarettes on his arm.
He carved the numbers 666 into his arm using a compass and wrote in an essay: “Once you have shaken hands with the Devil then you have truly experienced life.”
Mitchell’s angst-ridden posturing and the enjoyment he appeared to take in others’ discomfort excluded him from the mainstream at school. He skipped classes to smoke cannabis in a nearby park and hang out in an Edinburgh cemetery with a group of Goths who shared his passion for black clothes, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson and the music of the grunge band Nirvana.
A clever but callous teenager, he boasted that he smoked hundreds of cannabis joints a week, carried knives to school and was allowed to have sex with girlfriends at home despite being under-age.
Classmates described him as arrogant. One recalled him saying: “I can just imagine myself going out and getting stoned and killing somebody and how funny it would be.”
Jodi Jones was one of the few people who claimed to see another side to Mitchell. She wrote in her diary that he was “so sweet” and confided that she had fallen in love.
Friends said she felt they had something in common, both coming from single-parent families. Jodi’s father, Jimmy, committed suicide in 1999. But her devotion meant nothing to Mitchell. He two-timed her with Kimberley Thomson, who bore a striking resemblance to Jodi.
Mitchell was raised in a chaotic household. His parents, Corinne and Philip, separated when he was ten and his mother, a caravan dealer, had little control over her younger son.
She did nothing to discourage his obsession with the occult and seemed not to know or care that he was taking drugs and having under-age sex.
For his 15th birthday Corinne Mitchell, 45, took her son to a tattoo parlour. The Christmas after Jodi Jones was stabbed to death, she bought him a knife.
In the months leading up to Jodi’s death, Mitchell’s nihilistic outpourings went unchecked. “Satan lives,” he scrawled on a school book. “I have tasted the Devil’s green blood,” he wrote on another.
“Evil is the way”, “Depression is only a stage in my life so f*** off and stay out of my mind”, and “the finest day I ever had was when tomorrow never came” — a quote from the Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain — were among slogans that appeared on his book covers.
In an essay denying the existence of God, submitted five months before he killed Jodi, Mitchell wrote: “If you ask me, God is just a futile excuse at most for a bunch of fools to go around annoying others who want nothing to do with him.
“Are these people insane? People like you need Satanic people like me to keep the balance. Once you shake hands with the Devil you then have truly experienced life.
More insights into Mitchell’s life came when police searched the bedroom of his house in Dalkeith. Officers found 20 bottles of urine, several knives, cannabis and a Marilyn Manson DVD about the murder of a Hollywood actress bought days after Jodi’s murder. They also found a knife pouch with the numbers 666 written alongside Jodi’s initials, JJ, and the years of her birth and death.
Despite being the sole suspect in Jodi’s murder and being interviewed numerous times by police, Mitchell’s composure never cracked. He remained dry-eyed when her mutiliated body was discovered and on the day of Jodi’s funeral, after her family had begged him to stay away, he brazenly gave a interview to Sky television.
Asked if he had killed his girlfriend he coolly replied: “No. I never, I wouldn’t.” He was filmed laying flowers at Jodi’s grave. They were later flung back at his front door by distraught members of her family.
Throughout, Mitchell had the support of his mother, who insisted that Luke was at home cooking tea at the time Jodi was murdered. She denied all knowledge of the green jacket Luke wore that neighbours said had been burnt in the Mitchell’s garden on the night Jodi died.