Boy who raped and killed Alesha MacPhail, 6, continues to have depraved thoughts

The teenager who raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail continues to have depraved thoughts in prison.

Disturbing details into Aaron Campbell's mindset have been revealed as part of his appeal against his sentence.

Campbell abducted Alesha from her bedroom at her grandparents home on the Isle of Bute in July last year before raping and suffocating her.

The 17-year-old's sentence has been reduced from a minimum of 27 years to 24 years after a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh in August.

Disturbing details emerged, including Campbell telling a forensic psychologist that he continued to think about paedophilia and necrophilia.

Information published in the judgement included details from an interview Campbell did with psychologist Dr Gary Macpherson.

It said: "He reported that he continued to experience thoughts of killing and having sex with children and having sex with dead bodies.

"He wished to point out that he was not fantasising about this, but 'acting on his thoughts.'

"In the deceased’s home, 'once I realised she was a child, I started having thoughts about raping her, about killing her.'

"He said 'Four questions – murder, rape, necrophilia and paedophilia. All I thought about was killing her once I saw her.'

"He appeared irritated by the medical evidence that the child was alive at the time of the sexual assault as this would not have fulfilled his desire for necrophilia."

Mr McConnachie told Lady Dorrian, Lord Menzies and Lord Drummond Young at the start of the appeal: "It was clearly an appalling and heinous crime.

"The outcome of this appeal will not determine when, or indeed if, the appellant is allowed release."

Despite the crimes being described in the judgement as “extremely brutal sexual assaults of the utmost degeneracy, committed whilst the child was alive, and causing very significant injury and pain”, the sentence was reduced.

It was said, "we do not think that it is possible entirely to rule out any residual capacity for change in such a young individual, notwithstanding the atrocious nature of his crime".

The combination of a future risk Campbell posed was assessed, as well as "the appalling nature of the crime and the bleak prospects for change, led the trial judge to make inadequate allowance for the mitigatory effect of youth, even in such a shocking offence as the present", it added.

The judgement said: "The trial judge may have been unduly influenced by the pessimism in the report he had as to the prospects for change, thus incorrectly reflecting the element of future risk in the sentence which he selected.

"Future risk is a matter for the Parole Board, not for the sentencing judge in selection of the punishment part."

It added: “Against the cases to which we have made reference, a punishment part in excess of 20 years was plainly merited.

“We have concluded that a punishment part of 24 years would be appropriate to reflect the appellant’s youth.

“We will accordingly allow the appeal to the extent of substituting that period for the sentence imposed.

“As with all punishment parts, this is not an indication of the date when the appellant will be released.

“It specifies rather the period which must pass before the appellant may even apply for parole.

“As the trial judge had observed, and as was recognised by counsel for the appellant (see para 12 above), “whether [the appellant] will ever be released will be for others to determine but as matters stand a lot of work will have to be done to change [the appellant] before that could be considered.

“It may even be impossible.”

During the nine-day trial in March, 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 to those assessing him ahead of the sentencing, saying he was "quite satisfied by the murder".

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