“I just want to know, why her? Why Alesha? I have questions that I need answered and he is the only one who can answer them.”-Georgina Lochrane
Janette asked him if he knew anything about the missing girl. She asked him:
"Have you seen this little girl? Do you or your friends know anything?"
He said no.
Janette told Aaron that whoever was involved in Alesha's disappearance and murder would have left DNA behind and they would be found out but Aaron did not know anything about DNA. But he said there would be none of his DNA found anywhere anyway as he did not see the girl.
Janette gave the CCTV Footage to police. Police questioned Aaron.
The party ended at midnight, and a friend described Aaron as being "worringly depressed." A short time later, Aaron sent a few text messages to several people to ask if they had any cannabis. He sent a text message to Robert MacPhail and Toni McLachlan as he claimed he bought drugs from them before.
But neither of them responded.
It was the Prosecution's case that when Aaron received no response to his text message about the cannabis, he decided to break into Robert MacPhail's house and take some. They believed that he walked into the house through an unlocked front door and nobody noticed. There was no cannabis inside but when he saw Alesha asleep, it triggered dark urges he had.
People who knew Aaron knew him as a smart teenager, a popular one who had many friends and liked sports but he had a dark side. Some thought he was joking when he said things of a dark nature. Others did not know how to take it.
Aaron was a keen gamer and wanted to be a successful YouTuber. He was obsessed with the meme series Slender Man which sees a tall faceless figure stalking and terrorising children. Friends revealed he had killed and skinned cats in the past and a friend said he told her he may kill one day just for the experience.
Aaron did not know Alesha, he had never met her before. He knew both Robert and Toni. But, it was the Prosecution's case, that even though he didn't know Alesha he lifted her up from her bed and took her outside the house and carried her to the shore area and thence to a wooded area on the site of a former hydropathic hotel where her body was later found.
It was their case that Aaron abducted and raped Alesha and then murdered her.
At 03.44am, a light was turned on in the bathroom inside the house. Just one minute later, the footage showed Aaron leaving the house again wearing shorts and carrying an item. At 4 am, he was seen on footage shining a torch and running off from his home.
Jurors also saw CCTV footage from outside the house of Alexander McLachlan from the early hours of the 2nd of July.
According to Alexander, the footage showed:
"someone walking as if carrying something on the shoreline.I presumed that it was someone carrying a child."
This aligned with the timing from Janette's CCTV footage.
The Pathologist, Dr John Williams, told the Court that Alesha died after suffering "catastrophic" injuries. He said the cause of death was significant pressure being applied to her face and neck. The injuries to Alesha's neck and face were consistent with being gripped, and those to her nose and mouth were consistent with smothering. It was also possible that her windpipe was pushed shut.
The Court heard that Alesha had 117 injuries. Some of the injuries could have been caused by vegetation. There were no injuries on her feet which was consistent with the Prosecution's case that Aaron carried her out of the house to the shore.
The post-mortem report stated:
“External examination showed petechial (pin point) haemorrhages around the eye, within the lining of the eyes, within the mucosal lining of the mouth, and on the tongue .Internal examination has shown multiple foci of bruising to the anterior (ie front) neck structures, including bruising around her larynx and trachea. There was further bruising within the musculature on the back of the neck. There were areas of deep bruising within her face, including around the mouth and over the right cheek. The pattern of injuries to the face and neck is indicative of inflicted trauma, and is consistent with manual gripping of the neck and face with a hand(s) and the injuries around the mouth would be consistent with external covering of the mouth and nose (ie smothering). Examination of the spinal column within the neck revealed haemorrhage involving the intervertebral discs, along with a small amount of haemorrhage over the spinal cord. These findings are consistent with forceful movement of the head and neck, for example through shaking. There were severe injuries to the genitalia, including marked, deep, extensive lacerations (tears) to the vagina and anus, with obliteration of the perineum – the area of skin and tissue between the vagina and anus. These injuries are consistent with severe, forceful, inflicted penetration of the vagina and anus. There was only a thin film of tissue remaining between the vagina and anus and also between the vagina and abdominal cavity.The injuries to the genitalia would be expected to bleed significantly (the presence of associated bruising and haemorrhage confirming at least some of these injuries have been inflicted in life).”
The Prosecution told the Jury that Aaron's DNA had been detected on 14 different parts of Alesha’s body along with a match for his semen which indicated he had raped her. Fibres believed to be from his trousers were also found on Alesha’s clothing.
It was the Defense's case that Toni McLachlan, Robert MacPhail's girlfriend, was the killer. Aaron gave evidence at his Trial. He claimed that he and Toni met for sex earlier that night. He believed Toni killed Alesha because she was jealous of the attention she received from Robert and after she killed her, she planted Aaron's semen at the crime scene. He told the Court that he believed she had his semen from a condom he had used when they had sex.
It took the Jury just three hours to find Aaron guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of Alesha.
After the Trial and before he was sentenced, Aaron was assessed by a Doctor and social worker. He admitted his involvement in interviews they conducted. They prepared reports for his sentencing. One of the reports referred to how Aaron had in the 12 months prior to the murder entertained thoughts of "doing something excessive", including rape. Aaron told Dr Macpherson and a social worker in some detail what he did. Aaron claimed that he had been drinking and wanted cannabis so he decided to break into Robert's house and take some. He said that he took a kitchen knife to protect himself but he disposed of it when he gained access. He returned to the house to take Alesha.
The Knife that was found
Aaron claimed that Alesha was dead before any sexual activity took place but that was wholly contradicted by the post-mortem report. He believed it happened because of "his alcohol misuse and his curiosity and desire to experience how it would feel to kill someone." He drank one and a half bottles of wine between 8pm and 8.30 pm on the night of the 1st of July. Aaron said that he did not feel intoxicated but he told the social worker that he felt the effects of it. He was not under the influence of any illicit substances.
In the report, it recorded Aaron's reaction when he saw Alesha:
"A moment of opportunity.At any other time in life, murder wouldn't have been the conclusion. If I was a year younger I don't think I would have done it.All I thought about was killing her once I saw her."
Aaron told them that when he took Alesha from her bed, she was drowsy but became a bit more awake when he carried her outside. Alesha asked him who he was and he said he was a friend of her father's and told her he was taking her home. Alesha was barefoot and in her pajamas and was cold and Aaron said that he gave her his top. He raped and murdered Alesha and then threw his bloodstained clothing into the sea. He then had a shower and returned again to where Alesha's body was to get his phone.
Aaron told Dr Macpherson that in the days that followed Alesha's murder, he was unconcerned but mildly amused that the police had not arrested him.
He also told him that at points during the Trial it took everything to stop him laughing and he had to zip his mouth shut. He revealed that he was quite satisfied with the murder.
“The nature of these appalling offenses and what I have read in the reports make it clear to me that reintegration and rehabilitation, while these are important considerations, are remote possibilities and neither your best interests nor anyone else's will be served by a speedy return to the community.Nonetheless, the punishment part will not be as long as it would have been had you been an adult.”
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
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