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Friday 19 April 2019

Boy (16) gets life after admitting rape and murder of Alesha (6)

Alesha MacPhail’s mother Georgina. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Alesha MacPhail’s mother Georgina. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The "calculating and remorseless" teenager who raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail has been locked up for at least 27 years after finally admitting the crime.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Campbell snatched Alesha from her bed as she slept at her grand- parents' home on the Isle of Bute last summer.

He was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow last month following a nine-day trial.

Campbell finally admitted the crime in a psychological report prepared ahead of his sentencing yesterday.

Lord Matthews sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered that he spend at least 27 years behind bars before he can apply for parole, but warned he may never be released.

Callous

The judge said social work and psychologist reports "had painted a clear picture of a cold, callous, calculating, remorseless and dangerous individual".

"You went into the house and then her bedroom. You removed her from there and took her to a secluded spot where you violated and murdered her in the most brutal fashion," he said.

"It is difficult to imagine the distress which her family must have suffered."

He said Campbell had shown a "staggering lack of remorse" and told the teenager: "Not once did I detect a flicker of emotion from you."

Alesha's mother, Georgina Lochrane, and other family members were in court for the sentencing and she jumped up from her seat and shouted at Campbell as he was led away.

One woman sobbed and rushed out of the courtroom as Lord Matthews described what happened on the night of the murder.

Campbell had been at a party drinking. He went into the house where Alesha was staying looking for cannabis and entered her bedroom.

Lord Matthews said that according to the psychologist's report: "When you saw Alesha, your reaction, according to you, was as follows, 'A moment of opportunity... At any other time in life, murder wouldn't have been the conclusion. If I was a year younger I don't think I would have done it... All I thought about was killing her once I saw her'.

"You said that Alesha was drowsy and became a bit more awake when you went out. At one point she asked who you were and where you were going.

"You said you were a friend of her father and that you were taking her home."

The court heard that the teenager had said he was "quite satisfied by the murder".

After the sentence was read out, family members shouted "evil" and "beast" as Campbell was led down to the cells.

Campbell inflicted horrific injuries on the little girl before dumping her body in nearby woodland last July 2.

Blame

Pathologist John Williams told the trial Alesha had 117 injuries, and a post-mortem indicated she had died from "significant and forceful pressure to her neck and face".

She was days into her summer holiday with her father, Robert MacPhail (26), and her grandparents when she was snatched by Campbell, who tried to blame her father's girlfriend, Toni McLachlan (18).

Brian McConnachie QC, representing Campbell, said the psychologist's report found he "presents with a range of traits on the psychopathy checklist and has a wide range of factors present in relation to potential sexually harmful behaviour".

He said Campbell's upbringing was "less than ideal", but this was not a mitigating factor.

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