Alesha MacPhail killer ‘will think he’s beaten system after sentence cut’

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.

Lady Dorrian, Lord Menzies and Lord Drummond reduced the killer's life term to a minimum of 24 years for last year's rape and murder on the Isle of Bute.

Glasgow-based forensic psychologist Dr Ashcroft told the Daily Record that Campbell manipulated the justice system with his appeal.

He said: “Campbell would even think it creates doubts in some people’s minds over his conviction.

"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.

“Campbell clearly enjoys the attention and notoriety. He is the type of criminal, sadly, who will end up getting mailbags of letters from jail groupies and he will love it.”

Three international criminologists all expressed major concerns to the Daily Record last week over the decision to cut Campbell’s sentence.

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.

“To reduce the sentence is risky and I think also it sends the wrong message to the community in terms of general deterrence.”

Campbell’s legal team had claimed the original sentence imposed on him this year was excessive, given he was just 16 when he murdered Alesha.

They used the case of  Luke Mitchell from Midlothian, who murdered his girlfriend Jodi Jones in 2003 when he was 14, to back up their bid.

Former FBI agent and criminal profiler Mark Safarik added: “His level of future dangerousness is only exacerbated by the reduction in his sentence and early release.”

Liverpool University psychologist Professor David Canter – who has contributed to more than 150 police investigations and 40 court cases – said: “The fact that the sentence has been reduced will reinforce his idea of himself as having done something significant and out of the ordinary.”

All four men spoke to the Daily Record in March after Campbell had been found guilty of Alesha’s murder and sentenced to life with a minimum of 27 years.

After reviewing details of the case, they described him as a dangerous psychopath with a high risk of reoffending if he was ever freed from prison.

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