Alesha MacPhail’s killer has prison sentence reduced
The prison sentence for the teenager who abducted, raped and murdered Alesha MacPhail has been reduced by three years.
Aaron Campbell took the six-year-old from her bed at her grandparents’ home on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year.
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.
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.
“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.
“It specifies rather the period which must pass before the appellant may even apply for parole.
“As the trial judge had observed … ‘whether (the appellant) will ever be released will be for others to determine but as matters stand a lot of work will have to be done to change (the appellant) before that could be considered – it may even be impossible’.”
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.
Campbell was linked into the courtroom via video, showing no emotion during the hearing.
During the nine-day trial in March, Campbell tried to convince the jury he had sex with Toni McLachlan, the girlfriend of Mr MacPhail, on the night of the murder.
He later confessed the crime to those assessing him ahead of the sentencing, saying he was “quite satisfied by the murder”.
Alesha, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, had been staying with her family on Bute during the summer holidays.