BBC axes 'biased' Mitchell documentary

THE BBC was forced to scrap a documentary about murderer Luke Mitchell at the last minute after bosses ruled it was "biased", it was claimed yesterday.

According to BBC insiders, TV chiefs were angry when they watched the programme, claiming it was "anti-police" and "blatant propaganda" for the teenage killer.

The decision to pull the half-hour show, titled Luke Mitchell; The Devil's Own?, came last Tuesday, the day before it was due to be broadcast.

Mitchell was convicted of killing his girlfriend Jodi Jones on a quiet lane in Dalkeith, Midlothian, in 2003.

He has always protested his innocence, a view vehemently supported by his mother, Corinne, who provided him with an alibi during his 2004 trial at the High Court in Edinburgh. Mitchell has appealed his conviction and the programme was said to have set out to examine whether or not he could have been a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

But when TV bosses viewed the documentary, made by the flagship Frontline Scotland team, they were appalled and claimed interviews with his mother made Mitchell out to be "a saint". They said it was unfairly critical of the investigating officers and added that the programme lacked impartiality and was unbroadcastable in its current state.

One source said: "They hit the roof. It was not impartial enough and did not given enough right of reply to those it was criticising. It made the mistake of assuming that because he has lodged an appeal that he must be innocent. The truth is that almost every convicted murderer tries to chance their arm by lodging an appeal."

A BBC spokesman said it was not unusual to reschedule programmes and despite the setback, they expected the documentary to be broadcast soon.