The 16-year-old boy who abducted, raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail has been locked up for at least 27 years.
Alesha’s body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year, hours after she was reported missing from the house her father shared with his parents and partner on the island.
Aaron Campbell was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow last month where a jury found him guilty unanimously following a nine-day trial.
Lord Matthews sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered him to spend at least 27 years behind bars when he appeared at the court on Thursday.
During the hearing, it emerged that Campbell now admits the crimes.
Alesha’s mother Georgina Lochrane and other family members were in court for the sentencing and she jumped up from her seat and shouted at Campbell as he was led away.
Lord Matthews said he was a cold and calculated individual who had shown “not a flicker of remorse” during the trial.
He said: “You went into the house and then her bedroom, you removed her from there and took her to a secluded spot where you raped and murdered her in the most brutal fashion.
“It’s difficult to imagine the distress her family must have suffered.”
He warned the killer he may never be released from custody.
The judge said social work and psychologist reports “had painted a clear picture of a cold, callous, calculating, remorseless and dangerous individual”.
He said Campbell had shown a “staggering lack of remorse” and told the teenager: “Not once did I detect a flicker of emotion from you”.
Lord Matthews said no sentence he could pass would alleviate the anguish of Alesha’s family.
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.
The teenager took Alesha from her bed as she slept and inflicted horrific injuries before dumping her body in nearby woodland.
Pathologist John Williams told the trial Alesha had 117 separate injuries, and a post-mortem examination indicated she had died from “significant and forceful pressure to her neck and face”.
Alesha was days into her summer holiday with father Robert MacPhail, 26, and grandparents Angela King and Calum MacPhail when she was snatched by Campbell, who tried to blame her father’s girlfriend Toni McLachlan, 18, for the crime.
Prosecutor Iain McSporran has said he hoped the guilty verdict would remove any doubt that she could have been involved.
Lord Matthews said that according to the reports, on the night of the murder Campbell had been at a party drinking and went into Alesha’s house looking for cannabis, and entered her bedroom.
He said: “When you saw Alesha your reaction was ‘a moment of opportunity’. You said ‘all I thought about was killing her when I saw her’.
“You said that Alesha was drowsy and became a bit more awake when you went out. At one point she asked who you were and where you were going.
“You said you were a friend of her father and that you were taking her home.”
The judge said that over the next few days Campbell was unconcerned about what had happened and slightly amused that the police had not caught him.
The court heard that the teenager had said he was “quite satisfied by the murder”.
CCTV footage from Campbell’s mother’s own security system provided evidence which helped detectives catch the killer.
His mother had contacted police herself, hoping the footage would eliminate her son from the investigation.
Campbell was captured coming and going from his home several times in the early hours of July 2, removing items of clothing and retrieving a torch.
A psychological evaluation carried out on July 9 and 10 last year highlighted no issues to suggest he was not of sound mind when he murdered Alesha.
At a hearing after the trial ended it emerged the teenager had a history of self harm, anxiety and depression, and has been tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.