Man who admitted he wanted to commit mass murder 'may never be released'

Jordan Mitchell took a knife into Forth Valley Royal Hospital and told staff he wanted to commit a 'spree murder'.

Man who told Forth Valley hospital staff he wanted to commit mass murder ‘may never be released’ SNS Group

A man who fantasised about committing ‘mass murder’ has been given a life sentence by appeal judges who fear it “may never be safe to release” him from custody. 

Jordan Mitchell, 27, was given an order for lifelong restriction following hearings at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh. 

He was given the sentence over the behaviour he displayed during and after a hospital visit in which he boasted he had “killed and mutilated animals on a number of occasions,

Mitchell, of Denny, Stirlingshire, had a lock knife with him when he made the remarks, at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, near Falkirk.

He went on to say that he “intended to murder members of the public in future”.

A sheriff sitting at Falkirk Sheriff Court sent Mitchell to be sentenced at the High Court. A judge there gave him a four year jail term and ordered him to be supervised by the authorities for ten years following his release from custody. 

However, Mitchell made a number of disclosures during interviews with court appointed social workers which alarmed them.  

He spoke of “plans to kill people” and how he “in some respects” identified with Incel ideology – described by appeal judges as a belief held by celibate men who are angered by the sexual activities of others and “particularly women”. He said he had been researching Incel killer Elliot Rodger who shot dead six people in a misogynistic terror attacks in California in 2014. 

Mitchell also gave a “disturbing history of torturing, mutilating and killing animals” and told hospital staff that the knife he brought to the medical facility had been purchased because he had a “long standing” plan to go on a “spree murder” attack in Falkirk.  

Spree murder is the term given by experts to a situation where killers murder people in different locations on different days.

Lawyers for Mitchell went to the Court of Criminal Appeal to argue that the sentence imposed on him by the high court judge was “excessive”. 

But appeal judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Pentland and Lord Matthews refused to grant the appeal. 

In a written judgment issued by the court on Wednesday, Lord Pentland, who delivered the opinion, said that Mitchell should be given an order for lifelong restriction. 

Making reference to reports about Mitchell which had been provided to the court, Lord Pentland wrote: “It is clear from the comprehensive risk assessments carried out by Dr John Marshall and Dr Claire MacNab (and from the other detailed and extensive information furnished to the court) that the appellant presents a particularly high risk to public safety.

“Numerous risk factors have been identified.

“There are very few protective factors. He has been assessed as presenting a high risk of carrying out a killing spree or mass murder and of acting as a lone terrorist. 

“There is evidence that he took serious steps to prepare for committing such an attack. He has used violence in the past. 

“He has fantasised over many years about committing mass murder. There is evidence that he should not be considered a fantasist and, on at least one occasion, might have been close to realising his aim. 

“There is no prospect of his being managed safely in the community at the present time. The risk is such that it will not be materially mitigated by an extended sentence, particularly given that the appellant has limited capacity or motivation to comply with appropriate management. 

“He will require close management, supervision and treatment in prison for the foreseeable future. It may never be safe to release him. 

“The court is entirely satisfied that the risk criteria are met and that an order for lifelong restriction must be made. That sentence constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period”

Mitchell originally appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court in June 2022. He pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour.

He also admitted having the knife in the hospital A&E department without lawful excuse.

The incident happened on October 5, 2021.

He also admitted assaulting a fellow patient at the hospital – not causing any actual injury – by kicking him, in a separate incident ten days later.

Mitchell told staff there that he planned to keep killing until being arrested. He said he had been researching murder and mass murderers online and also on how to avoid being detected on committing murder. 

In his judgement, Lord Pentland wrote that the risk assessment of Mitchell had “highlighted the presence of a significant and highly relevant number of risk factors that were known predictors of both general violence and lone actor terrorism.” 

He added: “Within the general violence risk assessment all 20 risk factors were present and of relevance to the appellant’s risk of future offending and risk management. 

“The threat assessment highlighted a number of risk factors that were present during his time in the community, and which together suggested that the appellant was on a trajectory towards, if not ready to act upon, a plan to commit a major spree killing attack in Falkirk.”

Lord Pentland also wrote of another admission that Mitchell made to Dr Marshall. 

He wrote: “The appellant told Dr Marshall in detail how he had always felt a “nobody” and had chronically fantasized about being a “somebody” – by killing people in order to gain notoriety.

“While he had not carried out an attack or been apprehended attempting to carry out a spree killing attack, he was swithering over whether to do so, and with no pro-social coping skills he was likely to fall back into that mind-set quickly. 

“Importantly, he was now demonstrating to himself that he had the capacity and willingness to act violently. Recently, in prison, he had assaulted prison officers for instrumental gain.”

The judges decided that Mitchell should be given an order for lifelong restriction for the offences he pleaded guilty to at Falkirk Sheriff Court. 

Lord Pentland concluded that the punishment part that should be given to Mitchell should be two years. 

However, Lord Pentland said that this did not mean he would be automatically released into the community once he had completed the term. 

He added: “We would emphasise that the punishment part is certainly not to be taken as reflecting or implying the court’s view as to the period which the appellant should actually serve in custody. 

“It is merely the statutory minimum period which he must serve before he can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland for release on licence.

“Whether and on what conditions the appellant might eventually be released after the minimum period of his sentence are matters for the Parole Board to determine.”

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