The 16-year-old who abducted and murdered a 6-year-old girl has appealed against the 27-year sentence handed to him by a judge who described him as “cold, callous, and remorseless.”
In one of the most high-profile cases for decades in Scotland, Aaron Campbell was sentenced on March 21 for the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of Alesha MacPhail, 6, on the Isle of Bute last summer.
Having denied his guilt throughout the nine-day trial, Aaron Campbell suddenly confessed to psychologists ahead of sentencing.
Normally minors cannot be named in such cases. After Campbell had been found guilty, however, the judge was granted permission to release his name by parliament, as the overwhelming interest in the case had already pushed his name far into the public domain.
The vast public interest in the case was also underscored by the extremely rare decision to broadcast video of the sentencing—something almost unheard of in the British legal system.
Alesha MacPhail had been staying for a few days with her father and grandparents during the summer holiday.
Her family woke to find her missing from their house on the island in western Scotland on July 2, the court heard, according to media reports. A short while later, her body was found about 15 minutes’ walk away, with catastrophic injuries.
Within a day, Campbell’s mother inadvertently put police onto his trail, when she showed them CCTV footage of him leaving the house in the early hours of the morning, thinking that he might have seen something.
Police discovered more about his movements from other CCTV footage and later found DNA evidence on the body of the victim.
Having tried to shift the blame onto the 18-year-old girlfriend of the victim’s father throughout the trial, Campbell confessed his offenses to a psychologist preparing a report to the court ahead of his sentencing, reported the Daily Record.
Judge Lord Matthews said that the confession painted a picture of Campbell as a “cold, callous, calculating, remorseless, and dangerous individual.”
During sentencing, the judge had warned Campbell that he may never be released for the “vile” crimes which had caused “revulsion and disbelief,” reported the Telegraph.
Campbell had been drinking with friends until just after midnight and then went to the house where the girl was staying with the intention of buying some cannabis from the girl’s father, as he had done in the past.
Finding a key in the lock, he let himself into the house. He saw Alesha sleeping after walking into her room, and led her quietly out of the house.
“All I could think about was killing her once I saw her,” he said in his confession, read out to the court, according to the Daily Record.
According to the BBC, Campbell was “addicted” to video games, and had wanted to be a YouTube star since the age of 12. His videos included clips of the game Slender Man, which revolves around a haunting faceless character who lives in the woods and stalks children.
According to Sky News, Alesha’s mother, Georgina Lochrane, told the court, “Words cannot express how devastated I am to have lost my beautiful, happy, smiley wee girl.”
“I am glad that the boy who did this has finally been brought to justice and that he will not be able to inflict the pain on another family that he has done to mine.”