Aaron Campbell – who was found guilty of abducting, raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail – has had his prison sentence reduced by three years.
The teenager took the little girl from her bed at her grandparents’ home on the Isle of Bute on 2 July 2018.
The 17-year-old was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow and jailed for at least 27 years – but on Tuesday, three judges ruled the sentence should be cut to 24 years.
They claimed the term should be reduced on account of his age at the time of the murder, when he was 16.
The appeal was first heard in August at the Criminal Appeal Court in Edinburgh, where Alesha’s parents, Robert MacPhail and Georgina Lochrane, looked on from the gallery.
Campbell showed no emotion when he appeared via video in the courtroom.
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 Alesha was killed.
He later admitted what he had done to those assessing him before being sentenced, claiming he was “quite satisfied by the murder”.
Alesha, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, had been staying with her family on Bute during the summer holidays when she was attacked and killed by Campbell.
Explaining their ruling, the three judges said: “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.”
They added: “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 – ‘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’.”