Paige Doherty murderer granted leave to appeal sentence

15-year-old Paige Doherty was murdered by John Leathem in  a Clydebank shop

15-year-old Paige Doherty was murdered by John Leathem in a Clydebank shop

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The killer who murdered 15-year-old schoolgirl Paige Doherty in a savage knife attack will have his appeal against sentence heard two days before Christmas.

Shop owner John Leathem, 32, stabbed the teenager 61 times and inflicted a total of more than 140 injuries when she stopped at his Delicious Deli in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on 19 March.

He then dumped her body in bushes near Great Western Road two days later.

The married father-of-two last month lodged a notice with the courts of his intention to appeal against his 27-year minimum jail term.

Judges have now granted him leave to pursue that appeal and the case will be heard by a three-strong panel on 23 December.

Campaigners writing on the #JusticeForPaige Facebook page said: “It has been confirmed that Paige’s killer has been accepted to have his appeal heard & this will be heard before the end of the year. We now have less than seven weeks to campaign for #JusticeForPaige.

“There are absolutely no words to describe how Paige’s family, friends & community feel.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said: “John Leathem has been granted leave to appeal against his sentence and the appeal will be heard before three judges on December 23 2016 in Edinburgh.”

First offender Leathem was handed a mandatory life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow in October and told he must spend at least 27 years behind bars.

He admitted Paige’s murder at an earlier court hearing.

A post-mortem examination found the teenager suffered 61 stab wounds, mainly to her head and neck, and 85 further cuts thought to have been sustained as she tried to fight off her attacker.

Sentencing judge Lady Rae described the killing as “truly reprehensible and impossible to comprehend”.

Paige’s mother Pamela Munro said there was “no sentence high enough” for the killer.

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