Boy, 16, to appear in court over death of Alesha MacPhail on Isle of Bute

A 16-year-old boy is due to appear at Greenock Sheriff Court later over the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute.

Alesha was reported missing from her home on the Scottish island of Bute at 6.25am on Monday and her body was found in woodland less than three hours later.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston praised Alesha’s parents for their “incredible bravery” during what he called an “unimaginable ordeal”.

He said: “Officers and staff from across Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority have been involved in what has been a difficult and challenging investigation during which they have worked tirelessly to bring us to where we are today.”

Alesha vanished from a home in Rothesay where she was staying and was reported missing by her grandmother.

Teams of police are searching for evidence on Ardbeg Road
Teams of police have been searching for evidence on Ardbeg Road
Police vans outside the house from where Alesha MacPhail went missing
The house from which Alesha went missing

Her body was discovered by police in the grounds of an abandoned hotel around two-and-a-half hours later.

On Wednesday there was an increase in police activity at the property on Ardbeg Road where Alesha had been before she disappeared.

Several officers entered the garden with long sticks and searched the grounds.

Later, a recovery truck removed a black Dacia car from the rear of the house. It was the second car to be removed.

Officers have carried out house-to-house inquiries and conducted 24-hour high-visibility patrols to support the island’s 7,000-strong community.

Flowers are left outside the house that Alesha went missing from
Alesha was staying with grandparents when she went missing

It is understood that Alesha had been living in North Lanarkshire with her mother Genie Lochrane, who is separated from her father, during term time.

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The home from which she went missing was occupied by her paternal grandparents and Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail.

She was a few days into a three-week break.

Alesha was remembered by a school teacher as as a friendly and happy child.

Wendy Davie, headteacher of Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, where Alesha had just finished her second year, said she was “part of the family” and would be greatly missed by pupils and staff.

“She loved being at school and enjoyed all aspects of literacy, in particular writing,” Ms Davie said.

“She was such a perfectionist in her handwriting and was very proud of her work.

Balloons and a teddy bear are left against a wall
Family and friends have paid tribute to the six-year-old

“Alesha was very friendly and she welcomed everyone first thing in the morning at breakfast club. She was a very considerate child who loved being part of a group and she was popular with all the other children and was a smiley and happy young girl.”

Family and friends of the girl have continued to place flowers and cards outside her home.

Police said the six-year-old’s family was “devastated”.


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