The teenager who abducted, raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute has been sentenced to life imprisonment and told he must spend at least 27 years behind bars.

Screaming was heard in the court room as Lord Judge Matthews sentenced Aaron Campbell, telling him he "violated and murdered [Alesha] in the most brutal fashion".

Judge Matthews told how the teenager showed "staggering lack of remorse" and "did not detect a flicker of emotion" during the trial.

The court heard that Campbell, 16, finally admitted to his crimes during the sentencing hearing. 

The teenager denied any involvement in Alesha's death throughout the trial and lodged a special defence blaming the girlfriend of Alesha's father.


QC Brian McConnachie, who defended Campbell, told the court the teenager had "traits on the psychopathy checklist" and that a doctor's report found he “presents a wide range of factors with regard to sexually harmful behaviour”.

Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane, father Robert MacPhail and grandparents Angela King and Callum MacPhail were all at the High Court in Glasgow.


A victim impact statement was read out on behalf of Alesha’s grandparents.

It 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.”

In a rare move, Campbell's sentencing was broadcast live.

Filming has previously been granted for high-profile cases including the murder trials of Alexander Pacteau and serial killer Angus Sinclair.


Six-year-old Alesha, from Airdrie, was just days into a holiday when she was abducted from her bed.

She was reported missing from her grandparents' home in Rothesay after 6.20am on July 2 last year.

Dozens of islanders joined the search for the child but, several hours later, her naked body was discovered in a wooded area.

A post-mortem examination later revealed Alesha suffered 117 separate injuries, described by a pathologist as "catastrophic", and died from "significant and forceful pressure to her neck and face".

Snared by his mother's CCTV

Campbell abducted Alesha, without waking the four adults in the flat, and then carried her to lonely spot where she was raped and murdered.

The teenager, who lived on the same street, was arrested after his own mother contacted police.

CCTV outside their home captured the boy coming and going three times between 1.54am and 4.07am.

His mother initially suspected he may have seen something, but the truth turned out to be far more sinister.

Separate footage from two nearby houses showed an eerie figure walking along the shoreline at about 02:25, appearing to carry something in front of them.

Campbell's DNA was later found on Alesha's body and on the clothes she had worn to bed.

The jury were told the odds of the samples belonging to anyone else were more than one in a billion.

'You have commited some of the wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard...'


Aaron Campbell was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow last month where a jury took just three hours to unanimously find him guilty following a nine-day trial.

Campbell could not be identified during the trial due to his age but following his conviction judge Lord Matthews lifted a ban on revealing his identity.

He told how the teenager had commited some of the "wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard".

Read more: Alesha MacPhail murder: Why Aaron Campbell was named aged 16

After Campbell was jailed, in a statement issued via police, Ms 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."