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Evil Alesha killer Aaron Campbell 'left Shrewsbury for Bute to live in safe place'

Shrewsbury | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

The teenage killer and rapist of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail lived in Shrewsbury before moving to Bute, according to reports.

Aaron Campbell abducted, raped and murdered Alesha MacPhail

Aaron Campbell, 16, was named as the man responsible for Alesha's brutal murder after a judge lifted a ban on revealing his identity on Friday.

He could not previously be identified because he is under 18, but judge Lord Matthews ruled he can be named after considering an application from media outlets.

Alesha was abducted, raped and murdered just days into her summer holiday on Bute

The judge said: "I think it would be naive to think that publishing his name would make any difference to how he is treated in custody.

"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."

'Move to a safe place'

According to the Daily Mail, Campbell spent the first years of his life living in Shropshire with mother Janette and father Christopher.

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Born in May 2002, Campbell lived with his family in Shrewsbury until, when he was aged five, his parents decided to move to Bute, where Christopher would continue his career in the oil industry.

WATCH: CCTV shows Aaron Campbell

With Bute's 7,000 population just 10 per cent of the size of Shrewsbury's, Mrs Campbell said she and her husband chose the west Scottish isle so their son could "live in a safe place, a peaceful environment".

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But it was Aaron Campbell himself who would savagely break this peace just ten years later.

The 16-year-old snatched "sweet, angelic" Alesha from her bed and carried her into the woods before launching a horrific sexual attack and dumping her body in the summer of 2018.

While her devastated family had to live out their heartbreak in the public eye, and innocent Toni McLachlan endured suspicion, Campbell himself remained anonymous - until yesterday.

'Well-liked'

According to his housekeeper mother, the fifth-year Rothesay Academy pupil was "clever at maths", "well-liked" and had lots of friends.

Around 15 of these friends were at a party at his house on the night of July 1, before Alesha was killed.

Forensic officers on Ardbeg Road in Bute after Alesha's body was found in 2018

As well as drinking - he told the court he consumed a bottle of Mad Dog fortified wine and most of a bottle of Echo Falls wine that night - the trial heard he also used cannabis.

He had had a girlfriend for around a year while in his third year at school but was single in July last year.

Campbell told the trial he lifted weights and played computer games with his friends in his spare time.

Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane leaves the High Court in Glasgow

According to the Scottish Sun, the teenager was fascinated by fictional horror character Slender Man, a faceless figure who stalks and abducts children.

A friend showed detectives messages Campbell sent her in 2017, saying he "might kill 1 day for the lifetime experience".

Lies to the jury

Despite his macabre interests, Campbell has a clean-cut appearance and appeared in the dock impeccably dressed in a grey suit and tie, with a smart haircut.

Composed, confident and well-spoken, he gave evidence on his own behalf - something the accused in a trial does not often do.

Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail

He told the jury lies about how he would "never do something like that" when asked if he had killed Alesha.

Campbell also tried to convince the jury he had had sex with Ms McLachlan, the girlfriend of Alesha's father, the night of the six-year-old's murder.

After carrying out the atrocity, he even exchanged messages with Ms McLachlan, who he later tried to blame for the murder, saying of the missing girl: "Oh damn am sure she's not went too far."

CCTV

Following the discovery of Alesha's body, it was Campbell's mother who called police, ostensibly to eliminate her son from their inquiries.

"Obviously I really didn't think he had anything to do with it whatsoever," she said.

She had looked through her own CCTV camera footage and saw her son coming and going from the home they shared in the early hours of July 2.

A still from CCTV shown in court of Aaron Campbell, right, arriving back home

He lied to his mother, saying he might have been looking for his mobile phone.

Later that day he sent a video of himself to friends on Snapchat with the message "found the guy who's done it".

But for someone that appeared so calm in the aftermath of the crime, he was clearly shaken by the mention of DNA by a family friend, later using his phone to Google "how do police find DNA".

Toni McLachlan, the partner of Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail, was wrongly implicated by Campbell in the killing

Campbell will be sentenced on March 21, when the court may hear more about his background and mental health.

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.

But at Friday's hearing at the High Court in Glasgow it emerged the teenager had a history of self harm, anxiety and depression, and has been tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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