Aaron Campbell: teenager who killed six year old Alesha MacPhail has sentence cut by three years

10 September 2019, 15:08 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 10:21

Aaron Campbell abducted, raped and murdered Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute
Aaron Campbell abducted, raped and murdered Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute. Picture: PA
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

A teenager who abducted, raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute has had his prison sentence reduced by three years.

Aaron Campbell took the six-year-old from her bed at her grandparents' home on July 2 last year.

Alesha, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, had been staying with her family during the summer holidays.

Earlier this year, the teenager, now 17, was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow and handed a life sentence with a minimum of 27 years.

On Tuesday, three judges ruled the sentence should be reduced to 24 years on account of his age at the time of the murder - he was 16.

In an interview with ITV News, Alesha's uncle Calum MacPhail said he was losing any faith in the justice system to protect people.

He said: "It's very frustrating and hard to put into words how angry, upset and disappointed I am in the current justice system, one that would allow someone like him to have an appeal and then to grant that appeal and then grant him three years less that what he was already given.

Six-year-old Alesha MacPhail was abducted, raped and murdered.
Six-year-old Alesha MacPhail was abducted, raped and murdered. Picture: Police Scotland

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr called it "a quite disgraceful outcome".

He said: "This is one of the most vile criminals in Scotland and he should not be enjoying having time shaved off his sentence.

The ruling from Lord Drummond Young, Lord Menzies and Lord Justice Clerk said: "Against the cases to which we have made reference, a punishment part in excess of 20 years was plainly merited.

Georgina Lochrane, the mother of schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail arrived at the High Court in Edinburgh where Aaron Campbell appealed against the 27-year minimum sentence he was given for her rape and murder.
Georgina Lochrane, the mother of schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail arrived at the High Court in Edinburgh where Aaron Campbell appealed against the 27-year minimum sentence he was given for her rape and murder. Picture: PA

"We have concluded that a punishment part of 24 years would be appropriate to reflect the appellant's youth.

"We will accordingly allow the appeal to the extent of substituting that period for the sentence imposed."

They added: "As with all punishment parts, this is not an indication of the date when the appellant will be released.

Alesha MacPhail died on the Isle of Bute
Alesha MacPhail died on the Isle of Bute. Picture: pa

The appeal was first heard in August at the Criminal Appeal Court in Edinburgh, with Alesha's parents Robert MacPhail and Georgina Lochrane in the gallery.

Mr Campbell was linked into the courtroom via video, showing no emotion during the hearing.

He later confessed the crime to those assessing him ahead of the sentencing, saying he was "quite satisfied by the murder".

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