Boy, 16, admits to the rape and murder of Alesha MacPhail

A teenager has been jailed for life for admitting to the rape and murder ofsix-year-old Alesha MacPhail. 

Aaron Campbell, 16, finally confessed to taking the sleeping girl from her bed and then inflicting ‘catastophic’ injuries on her.

Her body was found dumped in woodland on the Isle of Bute just hours after she was reported missing from her father’s house.

The confession came at the start of the sentencing of Campbell.

His barrister said his crimes could be ‘even worse than the evidence’ heard during the trial.

Connor Gillies added that the rapist and killer presented a number of factors on the psychopath checklist.

The court heard that Alesha was days into her summer holiday with father Robert MacPhail, 26, and grandparents Angela King and Calum MacPhail when she was snatched by Campbell last July.

He initially denied all responsibility and tried to blame her father’s girlfriend for the crime.

The little girl had suffered 117 injuries to her body and a post mortem found she died from‘significant and forceful pressure to her neck and face’.

Pathologist John Williams said that injuries to the little girl’s private parts were ‘catastrophic’ and the most severe he had ever seen.

Some were inflicted while she was still alive.

A forensic expert told the court that DNA matching Campbell’s was found on Alesha’s body and clothes, with some samples at odds of a billion-to-one of being his.

Campbell had claimed he had ‘never met Alesha MacPhail in person’ and denied abducting, raping and murdering her.

Asked if he ‘brutalised’ her, he said: ‘It’s not me, absolutely not. I would never do something like that.’

When questioned if his ‘DNA is all over her’ because he murdered and raped her, he said: ‘No’.

Campbell lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Toni McLachlan for Alesha’s death.

The court heard the couple used to sell cannabis to him.

But Ms Lachlan denied being responsible for the schoolgirl’s death, and said she ‘loved’ her.

A jury at Glasgow High Court did not believe Campbell’s claims of innocence and took just three hours to find him unanimously guilty following a nine-day trial last month.

Judge Lord Matthews told Campbell: ‘I have no idea what made you do this but I do know that the evidence you did it was overwhelming.’

He lifted reporting restrictions allowing Campbell’s name to be published, saying the case had caused so much ‘revulsion’ it would be ‘naive’ to think his identity was not already known.

Her mother, Georgina Lochrane, said: ‘Words cannot express just 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.

‘Alesha, I love you so much, my wee pal. I will miss you forever.’

A victim impact statement was read out on behalf of Alesha’s grandparents, which said: ‘We are utterly devastated.

‘Alesha was a beautiful, smart, funny and kind girl. We are traumatised. We do not see how we can live a normal life. Her future was taken and so was ours.’