Alesha MacPhail’s killer finally admits guilt as he is jailed for at least 27 years

Aaron Campbell, the teenage boy who killed six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.
Aaron Campbell, the teenage boy who killed six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

The depraved killer of schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail has been jailed for at least 27 years – as it emerged he now admits the crime.

Aaron Campbell was handed a life sentence with the sick 16 year-old confessing he was “satisfied with the murder”.

Jurors heard how Campbell “brutalised” Alesha on the Isle of Bute last July.

The six year-old had been visiting her dad Robert MacPhail and her grandparents during her summer holidays.

Alesha was snatched from the home at knifepoint in the dead of night – before her naked body was later discovered in the grounds of a former hotel.

The poor child suffered a total of 117 injuries – many the worst an experienced pathologist had seen.

Campbell today returned to the High Court in Glasgow having earlier been convicted of abduction, rape and murder.

The killer had pinned the blame on Toni McLachlan (18) – the girlfriend of Alesha’s dad.

Campbell had a huge weight of evidence against him – including his DNA being found on the tiny victim.

But, the sick teenager made a number of Alesha’s traumatised family testify in one of the most harrowing criminal cases heard in a Scots court.

It was today revealed, however, that Campbell confessed to the crime in pre-sentencing reports.

Lord Matthews told how he was “shocked” when he read the “cold blooded and horrific” account given by Campbell.

The judge said the killer had told psychologist Dr Gary MacPherson that he had initially gone to the MacPhail home to steal cannabis.

He had gone armed with a knife to “protect” himself.

Campbell then left, ditched the blade – but returned and went into Alesha’s room.

The killer then described what happened as a “moment of opportunity”.

Campbell told the doctor: “At another time in life, murder would not have been the conclusion.

“If I was a year younger, I don’t think I would have done it. All I thought about was killing her once I saw her.”

A sleepy Alesha was described as “drowsy” and asked where they were going.

Campbell had claimed he was a friend of her dad and that he was “taking her home”.

At that point today, Toni Louise McLachlan fled the court in tears along with Alesha’s angry dad Robert.

The judge continued by stating he would spare the family the exact details of what Campbell then described.

The hearing was told Dr McPherson had even apologised for the “pessimism” in his report.

The court did hear, however, Campbell dumped his blood stained clothes in the sea, had a shower before returning to where Alesha’s remains were.

Lord Matthews: “You said you were totally unconcerned in the days after and mildly amused that the police had not arrested you.

“You stated at points in the trial it took everything to stop you laughing and had to zip your mouth.

“You volunteered that you are quite satisfied with the murder.”

The judge said it was clear Campbell was a “cold, calculated, remorseless and dangerous individual.”

He told an emotionless Campbell: “A lot of work will have to be done to change you. It may be impossible.”

Alesha’s grief-stricken mum Georgina Lochrane screamed at a smirking Campbell as he was lead handcuffed downstairs to the cells.

She yelled: “You dirty vile f****** rat.” Someone else shouted: “Watch your back.”

Campbell’s QC had earlier told the hearing that what was in the reports was “possibly worse than the evidence”.

Brian McConnachie, defending, added: “It is set out in significant detail. I do not propose going into the circumstances described by him whatsoever.

“I do not think it is for public consumption frankly.

“I cannot recall of circumstances where I have been involved in a trial and, in the course of reports, the accused has accepted responsibility.”

Lord Matthews remarked he had never experienced it either.