The 16-year-old boy who abducted, raped and murdered schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail in a "bestial" attack can be finally unmasked.
Evil Aaron Campbell snatched six-year-old Alesha from her bed as she visited her dad and grandparents on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, last July.
He brutally attacked the 3ft 9ins youngster, causing "catastrophic" injuries, before dumping her body in woodland on the island.
Alesha, a "smiley" little girl who was adored by her family, was later discovered facedown and naked at the site by a member of the public.
A court heard she had 117 separate injuries.
Campbell, who lived on the scenic and sparsely populated island, was yesterday found guilty of her abduction, rape and murder by jurors.
Judge Lord Matthews told the teenager he had committed some of the "wickedest, most evil crimes" Glasgow’s High Court had ever heard.
It has since been claimed Campbell almost drowned a different young girl at a leisure centre pool years before the July 2, 2018, killing.
He was just six or seven when he held the youngster’s head under the water for so long she feared she would drown, Bute locals claim.
During his nine-day trial for Alesha’s murder, the teenager could not be identified for legal reasons because he is aged under 18.
But today, he can be identified for the first time after the judge lifted the court order following an application from the media, including Reach Plc.
The judge said: "I can’t think of a case in recent times that has attracted such revulsion.
"I intend to grant the application. The press may name the accused and publish images of him."
Campbell had moved to Bute with his family as a child – living with his mum, dad and younger sister in a traditional stone-built home.
He had been born on the mainland, but his family had brought him to the island believing it would give him a secure upbringing.
His mum told the Daily Mail: "I wanted him to grow up in a safe place, a peaceful environment, and get a good education."
She added that her "very normal" son was doing an engineering course one day a week and had plans to go to university.
‘He wasn’t a violent boy," said the mother, adding: "He smoked cannabis, but it’s rife among kids on this island."
But one neighbour claimed Campbell had become a local nuisance on Bute and was once caught trying to set fire to buildings.
None of the stories, including the ‘near-drowning’, have been corroborated, but they have been making the rounds on the island.
Known to pals as a harmless joker with a "dark sense of humour", the teenager had started regularly buying cannabis at the age of 14.
He would drink at weekends with friends, and reportedly had a younger girlfriend in the months before he murdered Alesha.
He also liked to practice parkour, which involves moving rapidly through areas and jumping from buildings, the Daily Record reports.
And he was a fitness fan who enjoyed boxing and lifting weights.
Video footage of Campbell, uploaded to his YouTube channel just a year before Alesha’s murder, shows him doing flips on a trampoline.
He brags he recently "went from doing front flip 360s to front flip 900".
The footage then cuts to various clips of him jumping up and down and performing flips on the trampoline – on occasion, bare-chested.
On the day of the attack seven months ago, Campbell took Alesha from the bed where she was sleeping before inflicting the horrific injuries.
The "angelic" youngster had been staying at the home her father, Robert MacPhail, shared with her grandparents on a three-week summer break.
The night before the murder, she was put to bed with a Peppa Pig DVD by Mr MacPhail, who told her he would "see her in the morning".
But the father wouldn’t see his daughter alive again. On the morning of July 2, he awoke to find she’d disappeared from the property.
Alesha was reported missing "from her bed" at 6.25am, with Police Scotland launching a large-scale search to find her.
Taking to Facebook at the time, Alesha’s worried gran pleaded: "Alesha has gone missing from our house please help look for her".
The girl’s mum, Georgina Lochrane, living in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, also begged for information after seeing the online appeal.
“Someone tell me what’s happened. That’s my daughter," she posted.
But at around 9am, Alesha’s naked body was found in an area of woodland on the grounds of the island’s former Kyles Hydropathic Hotel.
A post-mortem found she died from "pressure to neck and face".
Her cousin Lisamarie later said: "She was a lovely girl."
Lisamarie’s partner, Alan McGuire, added: “Alesha would go to Bute quite often to visit her gran and this was just a regular visit. We are devastated about what has happened because she was a lovely wee girl."
The court heard graphic details of Alesha’s injuries, with a pathologist saying: "It’s extremely difficult to give an accurate time of death."
When asked if the injuries observed "were something he had witnessed before" in his years of forensic experience, Dr John Williams replied: "No".
Within days of Alesha’s death, Campbell had been arrested and charged.
After police were led to the monster by his own mum, he told various lies about what he did on the night the schoolgirl vanished.
Sickeningly, he even tried to blame Mr MacPhail’s innocent partner, Toni McLachlan, for the crime and claimed he’d had an affair with her.
On the first day of his trial, Campbell lodged a special defence of incrimination, naming Ms McLachlan as the person responsible for the killing.
But this week, justice was finally served as the boy was unanimously convicted of the three charges after three hours of jury deliberations.
Another charge against him – defeating the ends of justice – had been dropped by the prosecution on the eighth day of proceedings.
The killer had denied all charges.
The jury had heard DNA matching Campbell was "pretty well all over" Alesha’s body and clothes, and that he had told police "a pack of lies".
They were also told he had ‘chipped in’ with rumours and speculation about what may have happened to Alesha on a Snapchat group chat.
He even sent a video of himself to pals on the group and said: "Found the guy who’s done it" – something a friend thought was a "bad joke".
And he told a pal he might “kill one day for the lifetime experience”.
Speaking to the Daily Record, a source close to the case claimed the teenager was a "serial killer caught on his first murder".
Giving evidence in court himself, Campbell told jurors he’d "never do something like that" and that he "never met Alesha MacPhail in person".
Asked if he "brutalised" the girl, he said: "It’s not me, absolutely not.
"I would never do something like that."
The teenager, described as an ‘adrenaline junkie’, also told the court he and Ms McLachlan had met up and had sex early on July 2.
He claimed he did not want to tell police this as he feared it would get back to Mr MacPhail and he would "hurt" Ms McLachlan.
But addressing the jury on Wednesday, advocate depute Iain McSporran QC, prosecuting, said the teenager was telling "a pack of lies then [to the police] and a pack of lies in the witness box".
During his closing speech, Mr McSporran put it to jurors that they had heard no evidence implicating Ms McLachlan in the crime but a "mountain of evidence" linking the accused to it.
He also said a claim by Campbell – that Ms McLachlan had taken the condom the two allegedly used on July 2, gone back to the house where she had been staying with her partner, Alesha and the girl’s grandparents, abducted the schoolgirl, carried her to the woods, smothered her to death and then planted the accused’s semen inside her – was a "preposterous story".
However, the teenager’s defence lawyer, Brian McConnachie QC, urged the jury to acquit his client, questioning why he would abduct, rape and murder the youngster having "never met her in his life".
After Campbell was found guilty, Alesha’s loved ones released emotional statements, describing how much they miss the schoolgirl.
In a statement issued by Police Scotland, Ms Lochrane, who is separated from Mr MacPhail, 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.”
The MacPhail family also released a statement, saying: "We can’t believe that we will never see our wee angel Alesha again. We miss her so much.
“We hope that the boy who took her from us is jailed for a long time because of what he has done to our family.
“Alesha may be gone from our lives but she will always be in our hearts.”
Campbell, who now faces a life term, will be sentenced next month.
Source: Read Full Article