THE mother of murdered schoolgirl Paige Doherty has described the killer’s looming appeal as “cruel” as she prepares to spend her first Christmas without her daughter.
Pamela Munro spoke out as she recounted the moment nine months ago when she came face to face with “cold” killer John Leathem during the search to find the 15-year-old schoolgirl.
Shop owner Leathem, 32, stabbed the teenager 61 times and inflicted a total of more than 140 injuries when she stopped for a breakfast roll at his Delicious Deli in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on March 19.
The father-of-two dumped her body in bushes near Great Western Road two days after the savage knife attack.
Leathem’s appeal against his 27-year minimum sentence is due to be heard at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh on Friday.
Ms Munro has been campaigning against any reduction in Leathem’s sentence since news of his appeal plans emerged last month. A petition opposing a cut in his jail term has been signed by around 11,000 people.
Paige’s mother, who has three other children, spoke of the family’s agony over the appeal in an interview with the Sunday Mail.
She said: “Even if he got out at 59, he’d still have a life, so 27 years isn’t long enough. He’s totally deluded. This appeal is cruel.”
She added: “With the appeal being on December 23, there is no way that our first Christmas without Paige can be a normal one - as much as we might try to make it that way for the kids.”
Ms Munro also described how Leathem appeared emotionless when she went to his shop to talk to him about putting up posters to help to find Paige.
“Looking back, he was so cold,” she told the newspaper.
“There was no emotion in his voice or his face. He never showed signs of knowing anything but I’d never have guessed.”
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 for the “savage and frenzied” murder.
He admitted the killing 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”.