Alesha MacPhail murder trial latest – Boy, 16, found GUILTY of raping and killing tragic six-year-old who died with ‘catastrophic’ injuriesFebruary 21, 2019
Little Alesha was discovered dead in woodland on July 2 on the Isle of Bute where she had been spending a summer break with her dad and grandparents.
Her 16-year-old killer, who legally can't be named, callously tried pinning the brutal murder on Toni McLachlan – the girlfriend of Alesha's dad Robert.
He fed jurors a "pack of lies" during his trial – including that Toni had framed him by "planting" his DNA on the youngster using a condom discarded after they apparently had sex.
But the panel saw through him and the teenager was today convicted after just four hours at Glasgow's High Court of abducting, raping and murdering Alesha on July 2 last year.
Robert yelled "you f**ing scumbag" at his daughter's murderer, who remained emotionless as the verdict was returned.
Alesha's devastated mum Georgina Lochrane wept as the verdict was returned as later she said she was glad he "will not be able to inflict the pain on another family" she has suffered.
A joint statement from the MacPhail family said they hope the teen is caged "for a long time".
Judge Lord Matthews who presided over the case told the 16-year-old rapist the case was "one of the wickedest and most evil crimes in the history of this court".
He went on to describe his acts as "despicable" and "evil" and as he slammed the "ridiculous" suggestion Toni was guilty.
GRUESOME LAST MOMENTS
Little Alesha had been staying with her dad and grandparents on the Isle of Bute for the summer holidays when she fell asleep watching a Peppa Pig DVD.
A relatively crime-free area, Alesha's grandmother had left keys in the door to her home.
Alesha had been tucked in by dad Robert, who told her he’d “see her in the morning” as he left her room.
But tragically, he never saw his daughter alive again after the teen "stole her life".
In the early hours of the morning, the killer – drunk from a house party – took a knife from his mum's kitchen and entered the home where he swiped Alesha from her bed.
A "shadowy figure" was later captured on CCTV carrying a mystery object – believed to be Alesha – across the shoreline at Rothesay on the night she vanished.
Once at the site of a former hotel, the twisted killer removed the girl's clothes and shook her "violently" as he covered her nose, mouth and neck with his hands.
'My wee pal' – Alesha's mum Georgina Lochrane pays tribute
"Words cannot express just how devastated I am to have lost my beautiful, happy, smiley wee girl.
"I am glad that the boy who did this has finally been brought to justice and that he will not be able to inflict the pain on another family that he has done to mine.
"Alesha, I love you so much, my wee pal. I will miss you forever."
Alesha, who was just 3ft 9ins tall, suffered 117 injuries and died from "forceful pressure to her neck and face".
Horrifically, she suffered “catastrophic” sexual injuries both before and after her death.
"Billion-to-one" DNA samples matching the boy were found on 14 different parts of Alesha’s body – including intimate areas and her neck, face and ankles.
DNA was also discovered on Alesha’s shorts, pants and vest, with forensic scientist Stuart Bailey saying “traces of semen attributable to the accused" were present.
A fibre from boxing shorts later found on Rothesay beach was also discovered on Alesha’s pants, as well as fibres from jogging bottoms also ditched by the killer.
Alesha's mutilated and naked body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute hours later after her devastated family woke up to find she was missing.
KILLER'S CHILLING MESSAGES
The day after the grisly discovery was made, the killer's iPhone was used to Google "how do police find DNA".
In a chilling Snapchat video sent to pals on the same day, the teen recorded himself in the mirror saying: "Found the guy who's done it".
He also sent an eerie Facebook messages over a year before the horror – telling friends: "Might kill 1day for the lifetime experience".
The brazen murderer then concocted his evil plan to lodge a special defence blaming Toni for Alesha's gruesome death.
TWISTED ATTEMPT TO SHIFT BLAME
During evidence, he told jurors he had a "friends with benefits" relationship with Toni – causing Alesha's dad Robert to storm out of the courtroom.
The teen said he was having sex with Toni "once or twice a week" near the end of 2017 and claimed on the night Alesha vanished, they romped in a garage.
He said: "Toni and me began seeing each other, not in a going out sort of way but more a friends with benefits.
"One day I went to buy weed and I offered if she wanted to smoke with me, because we were both drunk.
"It was a fairly frequent thing – once or twice a week.
"She complained about her relationship to me – Rab was abusing her verbally and physically."
On the night Alesha is said to have been abducted from her bed, the teen told jurors he had sex with Toni and the used condom was "chucked" on the floor.
The monster claimed Toni then used this to "plant" his semen and implicate him for the horrific crime – which she denied.
'PACK OF LIES'
Witnesses claimed Toni was "jealous and threatened" by the attention Robert showed to Alesha and claimed she said she was "in a better place" after she was found raped and murdered.
They also told the jury they heard domestic abuse between Toni and Robert around a year before Alesha was killed.
Avil Lax, 67, said she could hear Toni getting "beaten up" over a "good few months" – and claimed she once heard her screaming "help, someone help".
She reported the abuse to Alesha's grandparents, but alleges they told her they "didn't hear anything".
The MacPhail family statement today
“We can’t believe that we will never see our wee angel Alesha again. We miss her so much.
“We hope that the boy who took her from us is jailed for a long time because of what he has done to our family.
“Alesha may be gone from our lives but she will always be in our hearts.”
Ms Lax added: "They didn't want to blacken Robert's name, there was a court case coming up over custody of Alesha."
Giving evidence, Toni sobbed as she told the court she "loved Alesha to pieces" as she was forced to deny having anything to do with her murder.
Iain McSporran, prosecuting, branded the boy's defence a "pack of lies" as he yesterday urged jurors to convict him based on the "mountain of evidence".
Alesha was reported missing at 6.25am on July 2 and was discovered by a member of the public around 2km away in woodland on the site of a former hotel.
Her devastated mum Georgina Lochrane begged for information about her missing daughter after grandmother Angela issued a desperate plea to find the youngster on social media.
Alongside an adorable photo of the girl, Angela wrote: "Alesha has gone missing from our house please help look for her."
Georgina then commented on the post, saying: "Someone tell me what's happened, that's my daughter."
She then made the heartbreaking discovery Alesha had been found dead after other users posted links to news reports of the tragedy.
Tributes flooded in for the youngster as stunned locals on the island, which has a tiny community of around 7,500 people, created a makeshift shrine outside the home she was snatched from.
Hundreds of mourners also attended Alesha's funeral as she was laid to rest in a pink coffin decorated with bows and unicorns.
'SENSELESS AND BARBARIC'
Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, Senior Investigating Officer, branded Alesha's murder “senseless and barbaric murder" outside court.
He added: "Investigating any murder is challenging for all the police officers and staff involved. To be faced with the death of a little girl in such a cold and cruel way was extremely difficult for everyone.
"Crimes such as this are extremely rare and I am glad that we have been able to get justice for Alesha and her family.”
Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, Divisional Commander for Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division, added: "She was such a beautiful wee girl who was vibrant, funny and much loved. Her family have shown incredible bravery through what has been an unimaginable ordeal.
"Alesha’s murder has affected everyone and will continue to do so for a very long time. However the resilience and unity of this community will help it recover in time.”
The boy will be sentenced on March 21 pending a psychological report regarding his mental state.
A decision over whether to lift his anonymity will be made at the High Court in Glasgow tomorrow. His name will be put on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
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