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Shop owner who murdered Paige Doherty has sentence cut





Shop owner who murdered Paige Doherty has sentence cut Shop owner who murdered Paige Doherty has sentence cut
  • Schoolgirl was stabbed repeatedly by a deli-owner in West Dumbartonshire
  • John Leathem inflicted 61 stab wounds and 85 slashes to face, head and arms
  • Her killer appealed the 27-year minimum-term life sentence he was given
  • Judges cut four years off because it was not pre-meditated and he said sorry 

The family of murdered schoolgirl Paige Doherty are heartbroken after the shop owner who left her with fist-sized stab wounds had his sentence cut by four years today.

John Leathem, 33,  admitted killing the 15-year-old when she stopped for a breakfast roll at his Delicious Deli in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on March 19 last year.

Paige suffered 61 stab wounds and 85 slashes to her face, head and arms in the 'savage and frenzied' murder.

Last year he was given a life sentence after he admitted murdering the 15-year-old and told he must serve at least 27 years in jail.

But today judges agreed his sentence should be cut by four years because the killing was not pre-meditated and he had shown contrition.

 John Leathem admitted killing 15-year-old  Paige Doherty when she stopped for a breakfast roll at his Delicious Deli in Clydebank on March 19 last year and was jailed for 27 years 

Killer: John Leathem admitted killing 15-year-old  Paige Doherty when she stopped for a breakfast roll at his Delicious Deli in Clydebank on March 19 last year and was jailed for 27 years

 Bereft: Her family say they are heartbroken after his jail term was cut by 4 years today because the killing was not pre-meditated

Bereft: Her family say they are heartbroken after his jail term was cut by 4 years today because the killing was not pre-meditated

 Campaign: Pamela Munro, the mother of Paige Doherty leaves the High Court in Glasgow alongside her husband Andy Munro , after the shop owner was jailed for at least 27 years for the murder of the teenager last year

Campaign: Pamela Munro, the mother of Paige Doherty leaves the High Court in Glasgow alongside her husband Andy Munro , after the shop owner was jailed for at least 27 years for the murder of the teenager last year

Her family say they are 'heartbroken' by the decision and expressed their disbelief that Leathem will now be walking the streets earlier.

 Victim: Paige suffered 61 stab wounds and 85 slashes to her face, head and arms in the 'savage and frenzied' murder

Victim: Paige suffered 61 stab wounds and 85 slashes to her face, head and arms in the 'savage and frenzied' murder

On their Justice for Paige Facebook page they said: 'The verdict is out. The man who brutally murdered a 15 year old defenceless child has been given more time off his sentence. He will only have to serve 23 years. 

'There is no words to describe how we feel. It's heartbreaking and serves no justice to Paige and her family. She had her whole life ahead of her and it's been ripped apart. In 23 years her killer will walk the streets.

'Thank you for your continued support. It will never be forgotten'. 

He was given a mandatory life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow in October and ordered to spend at least 27 years behind bars, but launched an appeal against the minimum jail term later that month.

Senior judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh have now quashed the original punishment and imposed a 23-year sentence. 

The judges reduced the sentences because he had since shown remorse and had not pre-planned her murder.  

After killing Paige in March last year, Leathem stored her body in a shed at his nearby home before dumping her remains in bushes two days later on March 21.

He was jailed last year as her family screamed 'rot in hell' and 'monster' from the public gallery.

In January this year he launched an appeal against the length of his sentence. 

In January her mother Pamela Munro said: 'Paige had a hole the size of a man's fist created by a further continuous uncountable amount of stab wounds.'

Ms Munro wrote: 'As Paige's mum, I take no pleasure in disclosing these details and do not wish anyone to be upset, it breaks my heart to say it out loud as I picture her wee face and how bad she looked.

'But I feel that for as much support and help as we need then people need to know the true facts.

'This "man" is now being protected to the highest level in HMP Dumfries, a prison where you can invite you family in to cook them a meal, where you can get a personal trainer, access to a skills centre possibly gaining a degree, a parenting system for dad's to rebuild relationships with their kids. 

'Apparently this is his "human rights". Where was Paige's human rights when he overpowered her?'

 CCTV footage shows schoolgirl Paige's final moments as she walked towards the deli last year - Leatham then killed her 

CCTV footage shows schoolgirl Paige's final moments as she walked towards the deli last year - Leatham then killed her 

 Leathem, 33, was given a life sentence after he admitted to stabbing the teenager 61 times in a 'savage and frenzied' attack at his deli in Clydebank, pictured

Leathem, 33, was given a life sentence after he admitted to stabbing the teenager 61 times in a 'savage and frenzied' attack at his deli in Clydebank, pictured

After killing Paige in March last year, Leathem stored her body in a shed at his nearby home before dumping her remains in bushes two days later on March 21.

Passing sentence, judge Lady Rae told the court the killing was 'truly reprehensible and impossible to comprehend'.

But three judges in Edinburgh have now decided that the 27 year term was too long. 

The opinion of the court, delivered by Lord Turnbull, reiterated that Leathem had committed a 'most appalling murder' but said other circumstances needed to be given 'proper weight'.

At a hearing in December, Leathem's lawyer Iain Duguid QC said the punishment part of his client's sentence was higher than other child murder cases and 'represents a significant increase in the tariff' for such offences.

He compared the sentence handed down in other cases such as the 23 years given to Alexander Pacteau for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley.

Ruling on Leathem's appeal, the judges said: 'The appellant was a family man of previous good character who had not offended before and who had expressed remorse.

'The murder was not premeditated. The extent of his efforts to defeat the ends of justice can be measured against certain of the conduct which took place in some of the other cases referred to above.

'When these circumstances are all taken account of, we think it can be said that the length of the punishment part selected in this case was inconsistent with current sentencing practice and was excessive.'

The opinion ended: 'For the reasons which we have set out above, we shall quash the punishment part imposed in this case and substitute therefor a period of 23 years.' 


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Larry Whyte
Larry Whyte

He is a leading authority on business trends including ‘big data’, self-employment and the social media revolution. He’s the author of the award-winning book, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has spoken about global mega trends, big data and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world .

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