A YOUTH accused of murdering schoolgirl Jodi Jones can be identified today as her boyfriend, Luke Mitchell.
The teenager is scheduled to stand trial on 6 August, and a preliminary hearing has been arranged for Monday at the High Court in Edinburgh to check that preparations for the case have been completed.
Mitchell was arrested in April and appeared in a private hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, charged with murdering Jodi in the summer of last year and an offence under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.
Because he was still 15 at that stage and classed by the law as a child, the media was banned from revealing his identity in reports of the hearing.
However, he turns 16 today, the age at which it is possible to name him.
Jodi, 14, of Parkhead Place, Easthouses, Dalkeith, Midlothian, went missing on 30 June last year after leaving her home to visit a friend.
When she failed to return later that evening, her mother became concerned and started a search with family and friends.
A short time later, Jodi’s mutilated body was found in a secluded woodland path a few hundred yards from her front door.
More than 40 police officers took part in the murder inquiry and spoke to about 3,000 people.
After Mitchell’s court appearance in April, he was remanded in custody to await trial.
In Scots law, anyone detained under solemn procedure, which applies to murder cases, has to be taken to trial within 110 days.
If more time is needed for preparation, a judge can grant an extension of the time limit. Alternatively, an accused may be released and a trial can be held within a year.
In Mitchell’s case, the 110-day limit expires on Monday, 9 August.
To remain within the time limit but also to give as long as possible for preparation, it was arranged that his trial would start, unusually, on a Friday.