At 8.20am on March 19 2016, 15-year-old Paige Doherty stopped by a deli for breakfast on her way to work. She didn't walk out alive.

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Deli owner John Leathem, 32, stabbed schoolgirl Paige 61 times in his back office, and inflicted a further 85 knife wounds.

She also suffered 43 blows to her neck and head – some were “fatal lacerations”.

Her minor injuries suggest she tried to fight off her attacker by scratching him, but failed.

Despite causing the 4ft 8in tall, six stone heavy student 140 injuries – the child killer will walk free four years early.

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Vital CCTV

Of previous good character, Leathem was sentenced to 27 years in Dumfries prison by Glasgow High Court on 12 October 2016.

Claimed to be in “a panic,” Leathem cleaned up the mess he made and dumped her body a mile away in bushes.

But, in vital CCTV footage shown to the court, he was caught on camera which damned his defence.

Paige was seen walking into Delicious Deli in Clydebank, Scotland, but never walked out.

Dumps her in shed

Over the course of the day, Leathem was seen running frantically backwards and forwards to shops and his car for cleaning materials.

The footage shows Leathem taking her body to his car at 10am, where he dumps it in his shed.

And he even stops to serve customers hours later, knowing he had destroyed a family’s life forever.

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Frenzied

Leathem was contacted by a staff member on behalf of Paige’s mum, Pamela Munro.

Ms Munro was worried after she failed to turn up for her part-time hairdressing job.

But twisted Leathem denied knowing Paige.

He told Police he was positive they wouldn’t find any blood or sign of her in his shop or car.

Paige’s odd disappearance triggered Police activity around the area she was last seen.

Two days later, her battered body was found with the results of a frenzied knife attack.

Blood was then found in “numerous locations” relating to Leathem and there were “obvious efforts to clean up” by the killer.

Wife and baby

Just 24 hours after the attack, Leathem is said to have taken his wife and baby to Balmaha, Scotland, for the day.

At 6am on March 21, Leathem’s car was spotted near the site where Paige’s body was found.

Three days later, he is arrested on suspicion of murdering the 15-year-old.

On September 5 he pleaded guilty to murder, and was sentenced for 27 years the following month.

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Genuine remorse

Leathem’s defence lawyers claimed that he had shown genuine remorse.

His original sentence of 27 years was an automatic fix due to the killing’s brutality, and the fact the body was hidden.

But, it is claimed that he left the body where it could easily be discovered – instead of trying to dispose of it.

He was compared to the murder of student Karen Buckley by Alexander Pacteau who disposed of her body in acid.

Pacteau was also sentenced to 27 years.

Thus Leathem’s sentence was slashed by four years.

Killer will walk the streets

A statement posted on the Justice For Paige Facebook page said: “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.”

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No motive

In Glasgow High Court, the only motive suggested was Leathem’s claim he was “frightened”.

There was an apparent perceived threat by Paige that she would claim he “touched her inappropriately” if he didn’t give her a job.

But Judge Lady Rae said it was not backed up by any evidence.

Paige’s mum, Ms Munro, said “it never happened”.

She told STV: “I’m disgusted that he could do something so horrific to a wee girl who was honestly the most respectful wee girl you would ever meet.

“She would never do anything to provoke anyone.”

Rumours

Her mum also claimed that Police told her there were rumours of the pair having a relationship.

A post-mortem showed no signs of pregnancy and Ms Munro has rubbished the claims.

“No, she was an innocent 15-year-old,” she said.

“She walked into a shop to buy a roll, trusted the person and he’s attacked her.”

Ms Munro has claimed that she will meet Paige’s killer in prison and ask him why.

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Life brutally cut short

Detective Superintendent Duncan Sloan said: “Paige’s whole future lay ahead of her and her life has been brutally cut short by the vicious actions of one man.

“These type of incidents are very rare in Scotland and Paige’s untimely death shocked a community to its core, particularly as the man responsible was one of them.”