The twisted teenager who raped and killed six-year-old schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail will believe he has ‘beaten the justice system’ after his sentence was reduced.
Two top criminologists fear Aaron Campbell, 17, will be empowered by the decision to slash his jail term.
Campbell murdered Alesha after snatching her from her grandparents’ home on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year.
Earlier this year, the teenager was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow and handed a life sentence with a minimum of 27 years.
But last week three judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled the sentence should be reduced to 24 years on account of his age.
The judges said it could be ‘possible’ to rehabilitate the sadistic killer, but stressed the 24-year term was the minimum period before he could apply for parole.
Their decision sparked uproar from family members and politicians.
Dr Keith Ashcroft told the Daily Record that Campbell will believe it ‘creates doubt’ over his conviction.
Dr Ashcroft said: ‘Though he is very young, he is quite mature in his ability to think through the court system and to manipulate that as much as he possibly can.’
The Glasgow-based forensic psychologist said Campbell enjoys the ‘attention and notoriety’ and will love ‘getting mailbags of letters from groupies’.
Australian expert Tim Watson-Munro added: ‘I believe Campbell will have become emboldened by the decision to cut his sentence by three years and this may make it harder to rehabilitate him in future
‘With great respect to the judge and the court, speaking as a clinician with 41 years’ experience, this man is simply evil.
“It is a big ask to believe that this person as he is today will be fit to return to society in 27 years, never mind 24.’
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 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.
She had suffered 117 injuries when her body was found the same morning.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr hit out at the sentence reduction, saying: ‘This is one of the most vile criminals in Scotland and he should not be enjoying having time shaved off his sentence.
‘It will cause massive upset to the victim’s family.’