Luke's brother admits mum aided evidence

THE brother of Jodi Jones murder accused Luke Mitchell today admitted discussing his police statement with his mother before telling police Luke was in the family’s house on the day the schoolgirl was killed.

In a statement given to police on July 7, 2003, Shane Mitchell said he recalled seeing his brother in the kitchen "mashing tatties".

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that his mother had given a statement the previous day also claiming that Luke was in the kitchen that evening "cooking pies and mashing potatoes". But the jury previously heard that when Shane was questioned by police on April 14 last year he said he had not seen Luke in the house on the evening of June 30, 2003, and that he had been looking at pornography on his computer in his bedroom.

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Advocate depute Alan Turnbull, QC, prosecuting, read sections of Shane’s statement from July 7 to the jury. In his statement he told police that he remembered his mother’s car being in the driveway and the front door being open.

His statement continued: "I went into the hallway and shouted out and then went upstairs to the bathroom to wash my hands. About five minutes later I came straight back down. When I was in the bathroom I left the door open.

"Afterwards I went downstairs into the living-room, then into the kitchen. Luke was standing at the cooker mashing tatties. I could smell burnt steak pies. I did not mention the smell because I did not want to insult him.

"He was pretty happy. I spoke to him, then my mother. That was the first time I had seen my mother that day and I was talking to her about how her day had been." The court heard that Shane then went upstairs to log on to his computer but was called down for dinner by Luke five minutes later.

Mr Turnbull asked Mr Mitchell: "I want to understand how it came to be that you make this reference to police about mashing tatties." Mr Turnbull then read out to the court the section of Mrs Mitchell’s statement given on the previous day to Shane’s. She said in her statement: "When I got home Luke was in the kitchen first of all. Luke then strained the potatoes and mashed them. At that point I think Shane came in and I could smell the pies in the oven and I asked one of them to take them out, commenting that Luke had overdone them."

Mr Turnbull then asked Mr Mitchell: "When you came to give your statement the very next day it includes reference to you saying that Luke was mashing the tatties and there being a burning smell."

Mr Mitchell agreed. Mr Turnbull then asked: "How can it be you gave information to police which was incorrect and then give information about mashing tatties and burnt pies.

"Before you gave that statement did you discuss with anyone what you should say to police?"

Mr Mitchell replied: "In a way."

Mr Turnbull said: "Who".

Mitchell replied: "My mother."

Mr Mitchell then admitted he had been affected by this discussion with his mother. "If it had not been for that discussion with your mother would you have been able to give any of this evidence to police?" Mr Turnbull asked.

"Not really," replied Mr Mitchell.

Asked what his mother had said to him after giving her statement Mr Mitchell replied: "She said to me: ‘You came in and Luke was with us and we had tatties for dinner, then you went back out again.’"

Mr Mitchell told the court that he was "extremely shaken" when he gave his statement to police.

Luke Mitchell denies murdering Jodi on June 30, 2003 at a wooded area near Roan’s Dyke, between the Newbattle and Easthouses areas of Dalkeith. The trial continues