Aaron Campbell: Teenager unmasked as evil child killer

When child killer and rapist Aaron Campbell complained of a sore back while giving evidence in his murder trial, he was never going to get any sympathy.

The 16-year-old snatched "sweet, angelic" Alesha MacPhail from her bed and carried her into the woods before launching a horrific sexual attack and dumping her body.

While her devastated family had to live out their heartbreak in the public eye, and innocent Toni McLachlan endured suspicion, Campbell himself remained anonymous.

A judge has now ruled the teenager responsible for one of the "wickedest and most evil crimes" tried at court in recent times can be identified.

Aaron Campbell
Aaron Campbell

According to his housekeeper mother, the fifth-year Rothesay Academy pupil was "clever at maths", "well-liked" and had lots of friends.

Around 15 of these friends were at a party at his house on the night of July 1, before Alesha was killed.

As well as drinking – he told the court he consumed a bottle of Mad Dog fortified wine and most of a bottle of Echo Falls wine that night – the trial heard he also used cannabis.

He had had a girlfriend for around a year while in his third year at school but was single in July last year.

Campbell told the trial he lifted weights and played computer games with his friends in his spare time. His father worked in the oil industry and was regularly away from home.

According to the Scottish Sun, the teenager was fascinated by fictional horror character Slender Man, a faceless figure who stalks and abducts children.

The paper reported Slender Man searches were found on his phone.

Alesha MacPhail
Alesha MacPhail

A friend showed detectives messages Campbell sent her in 2017, saying he "might kill 1 day for the lifetime experience".

Despite his macabre interests, Campbell has a clean-cut appearance and appeared in the dock impeccably dressed in a grey suit and tie, with a smart haircut.

Composed, confident and well-spoken, he gave evidence on his own behalf – something the accused in a trial does not often do.

He told the jury lies about how he would "never do something like that" when asked if he had killed Alesha.

Campbell also tried to convince the jury he had had sex with Ms McLachlan, the girlfriend of Alesha's father, the night of the six-year-old's murder.

After carrying out the atrocity, he even exchanged messages with Ms McLachlan, who he later tried to blame for the murder, saying of the missing girl: "Oh damn am sure she's not went too far."

Following the discovery of Alesha's body, it was Campbell's mother who called police, ostensibly to eliminate her son from their inquiries.

Toni McLachlan
Toni McLachlan

"Obviously I really didn't think he had anything to do with it whatsoever," she said.

She had looked through her own CCTV camera footage and saw her son coming and going from the home they shared in the early hours of July 2.

He lied to his mother, saying he might have been looking for his mobile phone.

Later that day he sent a video of himself to friends on Snapchat with the message "found the guy who's done it".

But for someone that appeared so calm in the aftermath of the crime, he was clearly shaken by the mention of DNA by a family friend, later using his phone to Google "how do police find DNA".

Campbell will be sentenced on March 21, when the court may hear more about his background and mental health.

A psychological evaluation carried out on July 9 and 10 last year highlighted no issues to suggest he was not of sound mind when he murdered Alesha.

But at Friday's hearing at the High Court in Glasgow it emerged the teenager had a history of self harm, anxiety and depression, and has been tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.