In Brief

What happened to murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail?

Aaron Campbell sentenced to minimum of 27 years in prison after finally confessing

The 16-year-old boy who abducted, raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail has been given a life sentence after he finally admitted his crimes.

Aaron Campbell must serve at least 27 years in prison for the brutal killing of Alesha while she was on holiday on the Isle of Bute.

During his trial, he repeatedly denied being involved her death, instead attempting to pin the blame on Toni McLachlan, the girlfriend of the victim’s father.

But while Campbell “has never explained the reason for the shocking killing”, his lawyer Brian McConnachie QC told the High Court in Glasgow the teenager had finally admitted responsibility to a clinical psychologist for the rape and murder, reports the London Evening Standard.

There were “emotional scenes in the courtroom”, as the judge, Lord Matthews, read out details from the reports of a forensic clinical psychologist and a criminal justice social worker, says The Guardian. They revealed Campbell’s “breathtakingly callous” attitude to his crimes, later described as “shattering” by supporters of Alesha’s family, reports the newspaper.

During sentencing, the judge detailed the contents of the clinical psychologist’s report, in which Campbell said: “All I thought about was killing her once I saw her.”

The teenager apparently told the psychologist that at points during the trial it took “everything to stop laughing” and he had to “zip his mouth”.

Lord Matthews said the reports concluded that Campbell was not suffering from a mental health disorder but showed a total lack of victim empathy.

In a victim impact statement, the six-year-old’s paternal grandparents, Angela King and Calum MacPhail, said the death of Alesha had left them “utterly devastated and heartbroken”.

“She was a beautiful, kind and thoughtful child who they miss every day,” said prosecutor Iain McSporran QC. “They are tortured and tormented by the circumstances of her murder. I think overwhelmed is an understatement. They do not see how they can live a normal life. Her future was taken and so was theirs.”

Campbell abducted Alesha from her grandparents’ home in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, where she was on holiday with her father on 2 July last year.

Alesha, who lived with her mother in Airdrie, was reported missing when her family woke up and found she wasn’t in bed.

The search came to an end when her body was found in woodland near a former hotel. A post-mortem examination later revealed she had suffered 117 injuries and died from significant pressure being applied to her face and neck.

After the sentence was read out family members shouted “evil” and “beast” as Campbell was led away.

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