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Alesha MacPhail killer will believe ‘he’s beaten justice system’ after having sentence cut

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Alesha MacPhail's killer Aaron Campbell has had his sentence reduced by three years (Picture: PA/Facebook/Centre For Forensic Neuroscience)
Alesha MacPhail’s killer Aaron Campbell has had his sentence reduced by three years (Picture: PA/Facebook/Centre For Forensic Neuroscience)

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.

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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.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by Police Scotland of Aaron Campbell, 17, who was convicted of raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail. Scottish Tories are calling for more transparency in the justice system after child rapist and murderer Aaron Campbell had his sentence reduced. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday September 15, 2019. The 17-year-old was sentenced to life with a minimum of 27 years for killing six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute. See PA story SCOTLAND Justice. Photo credit should read: Police Scotland/PA Wire
Aaron Campbell, 17, who was convicted of raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail (Picture: PA)
Alesha MacPhail, six, from Airdrie, whose body was found on the Scottish island of Bute where she was visiting her grandmother in Port Bannatyne. A teenager has been arrested.
Alesha MacPhail, six, from Airdrie, whose body was found on the Scottish island of Bute where she was visiting her grandmother in Port Bannatyne (Picture: Facebook)

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.

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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’.

The teenager who raped and killed schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail will believe he has 'beaten the system' after his sentence was cut, a criminologist claims. Dr Keith Ashcroft believes the decision by top judges will also put Aaron Campbell further in denial of his crimes. Provider: Centre For Forensic Neuroscience
Dr Keith Ashcroft believes the decision by top judges will also put Aaron Campbell further in denial of his crimes (Picture; Centre For Forensic Neuroscience)

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’.

File photo dated 04/07/18 of a picture among tributes of Alesha MacPhail, as the teenager who abducted, raped and murdered her will appeal against his 27-year sentence later on Wednesday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 7, 2019. Aaron Campbell took the six-year-old from her bed at her grandparents??? home on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year. See PA story COURTS Bute. Photo credit should read: John Linton/PA Wire
Tributes to Alesha MacPhail after her shocking murder (Picture: PA)

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.

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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.’

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