SIX-year-old Alesha MacPhail went missing from her home on the Isle of Bute and was found dead hours later in woodland on July 2, 2018.
Aaron Campbell, 16, was found guilty of the little girl’s kidnapping, rape and murder in February 2019 but he has now been granted an appeal.
What happened to Alesha MacPhail?
Alesha MacPhail was reported missing from her home in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, at 6.25pm on Monday, July 2, 2018.
She was discovered dead in woodland about three hours after being reported missing.
Little Alesha had been staying with her dad and grandparents on the island when she feel asleep watching a Peppa Pig DVD.
The boy – drunk from a house party – stole a knife from his mum’s kitchen and swiped Alesha from her bed.
A “shadowy figure” was later captured on CCTV carrying a mystery object – believed to be Alesha – across the shoreline at Rothesay on the night she vanished.
Once at the site of former Kyles of Bute Hotel, the twisted killer removed the girl’s clothes and shook her “violently” as he covered her nose, mouth and neck with his hands.
Alesha suffered 117 injuries on her little body and died from “forceful pressure to her neck and face”.
Horrifically, she suffered “catastrophic” sexual injuries both before and after her death.
“Billion-to-one” DNA samples matching the boy were found on 14 different parts of Alesha’s body – including intimate areas and her neck, face and ankles.
DNA was also discovered on Alesha’s shorts, pants and vest, with forensic scientist Stuart Bailey saying “traces of semen attributable to the accused” were present.
Her mutilated body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute hours after her devastated family woke up to find she was missing.
Was Aaron Campbell jailed over Alesha’s death?
On March 21, 2019, Aaron Campbell was jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years behind bars.
He finally admitted to kidnapping, raping and murdering the little girl telling a psychologist “all I thought about was killing her” when he walked in on Alesha sleeping after breaking into her home.
The 16-year-old gamer, who has been described as a serial killer in the making, carried out the depraved and senseless crime in July 2018.
He callously tried pinning the brutal murder on Toni McLachlan – the girlfriend of Alesha’s dad Robert.
Campbell fed jurors a “pack of lies” during his trial – including that Toni had framed him by “planting” his DNA on the youngster using a condom discarded after they apparently had sex.
But the panel saw through him and the teenager was convicted, after just four hours at Glasgow’s High Court, of abducting, raping and murdering Alesha on July 2, 2018.
It emerged during the trial that the teen was obsessed with the internet meme Slender Man, and may have even carried out the murder in a manner based upon the creepy online idol.
Former friends of the killer have revealed how he was obsessed with violent video games and even killed and skinned cats.
It has also emerged he allegedly sexually abused a teenage girl and showed off explicit pictures to his friends before the murder.
The sicko is understood to have tortured two cats on Bute three years ago before burying them in his back garden.
Locals also claim he held another little girl’s head under the water at a local swimming pool so long she feared she would drown.
Insiders close to the case said the lad has no remorse for his depraved crime.
The Sun revealed how the lad had a twisted fascination with Slender Man, a faceless film monster that abducts kids.
His defence lawyer said that Campbell had a history of self harm, depression and anxiety.
Campbell was granted an appeal against his life sentence on May 14. His hearing was set for August 7 at Edinburgh’s High Court.
On September 10, top judges slashed his sentence by three years.
But his lawyers claimed that the sentence was “excessive” – with an appeal against the jail term heard at a court in Edinburgh last month.
Top judges have now ruled that the minimum term the killer will serve before being considered for parole will be reduced to 24 years.
What has Alesha MacPhail’s mum said?
The Daily Record today reported the mum penned a heartbreaking message to her daughter online, writing: “We had the hardest two weeks of our lives, being dragged through a trial, having to listen to what was said.
“That boy will never hurt anyone ever again or have the chance to inflict what he did to you on any other child.
“You’re mummy’s strong, beautiful, bubbly little princess.
“I made you a promise that I won’t give up until you see justice done and I hope we did it right, angel. You are unconditionally loved and missed Alesha and now you can be at peace my girl.”
Upon hearing Campbell will repeal his sentence, Georgina Lochrane said he shouldn’t be allowed to appeal.
Speaking with Good Morning Britain on May 30, she said: “I’m disgusted by it – it’s not fair.
“He gets to appeal, where does Alesha fit in?
“She didn’t get to appeal against being murdered.”
The 24-year-old mum added: “They shouldn’t be allowed to do it.
“They’re allowed to cause more pain, and that’s not fair.”
What has Aaron Campbell’s family said?
Alesha MacPhail’s murderer has been disowned by his sickened family as he rots behind bars for raping and murdering the six-year-old.
Aaron Campbell’s dad Chris, 41, shunned the monster after his arrest and mum Janette, 54, is now too scared to visit him at Polmont prison in Falkirk, Scotland.
Campbell, 16, is serving at least 27 years for the horrific attack in Rothesay, Bute, in July, 2018.
A source said: “He’ll have no visitors at all now.”
Janette went to see her son while he was on remand for raping and murdering the young child as no one knew who he was.
But a landmark ruling that he could be identified following his conviction has left her terrified that sickened cons or visitors will target her.
Campbell, currently at Polmont young offenders prison near Falkirk, now faces life behind bars without any visitors as his dad Chris has cut him adrift.
A source said: “Janette visited him on remand but that was before anyone knew what he or she looked like.
“After his anonymity was lifted they are now known and she’s a well-to-do woman who sticks out like a sore thumb on visits. She’s terrified she’ll get battered because she’s his mum.
“And Chris has shunned him completely. He’s had nothing to do with him for months and has washed his hands of him.”
When was Alesha’s funeral?
Alesha’s funeral was held on July 21, 2018, in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
Hundreds of mourners turned up and lined the street as her coffin was carried to Coltswood Cemetery, many wearing pink as the family had requested for the funeral.
At the ceremony her father and her uncle Calum MacPhail were among those who carried her coffin to its final resting place.
Calum also spoke at the funeral and said: “Alesha would rather hurt than you, she had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone.
“Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.
“She was the brightest thing.”
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Where is the Isle of Bute?
The Isle of Bute is an island situated in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.
According to figures from 2011, around 6,500 people live on the island.
The only town on Bute is Rothesay – where Alesha was staying – and it is linked to the Scottish mainland by ferry.
The north of the island is home to the coastal village of Port Bannatyne and hamlets on the island include Ascog, Kilchattan Bay, Kerrycroy and Kingarth.
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