What happened to Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute and what's the latest in the case?February 21, 2019
The youngster’s body was found in woodland on the site of an abandoned hotel, and today a teen has been found GUILTY of raping and strangling her. Here's the latest.
What happened to Alesha MacPhail?
Alesha MacPhail was reported missing from her home in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, at 6.25pm on Monday, July 2, 2018.
She 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.
Little Alesha had been staying with her dad and grandparents on the Isle of Bute when she feel asleep watching a Peppa Pig DVD.
The boy – drunk from a house party – stole a knife from his mum's kitchen and 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.
Alesha suffered 117 injuries on her little body 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.
Her mutilated body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute hours later after her devastated family woke up to find she was missing.
Has anyone been charged over Alesha's death?
A 16-year-old boy has today been found guilty of raping and strangling Alesha MacPhail after snatching the six-year-old from her bed.
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".
Who was she with when she disappeared?
It is understood the six-year-old was staying with her dad Robert and grandparents Calum and Angela MacPhail on the island.
Robert was seen hunting for his daughter "white as a sheet" and calling out her name.
Members of Angela's family claimed the grandparents, who had been looking after Alesha for part of the summer holidays, had tried to make contact with her mum.
It has also been reported that Alesha’s mum only found out her daughter was missing and, later, about her death via Facebook.
Mum Georgina Lochrane, 23, saw a post by the child’s grandmother which said: “Alesha has gone missing from our house please help look for her.”
Georgina then commented on the post asking: “Someone tell me what’s happened that's my daughter.”
After making the heart-breaking discovery that Alesha had been found dead, she wrote: “That’s my f***** daughter.”
Where was Alesha’s body found?
Alesha's body was discovered in woodland on the site of the abandoned Kyles of Bute Hydropathic Hotel.
The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and is only around a 20 minute walk from where she vanished.
When is Alesha's funeral being held?
Alesha's funeral was held on July 21 in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.
Hundreds of mourner turned up and lined the street as her coffin was carried to Coltswood Cemetery, many wearing pink as the family had requested for the funeral.
At the ceremony her father and her uncle Calum MacPhail were among those who carried her coffin to it's final resting place.
Calum also spoke at the funeral and said: "Alesha would rather hurt than you, she had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone.
“Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.
“She was the brightest thing.”
What has her family said?
Alesha's mum Georgina Lochrane said: "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.”
Her uncle Calum MacPhail gave an emotional speech, saying: "Alesha would rather hurt than you, she had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone.
"Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.
"She was the brightest thing."
Where is the Isle of Bute?
The Isle of Bute is an island situated in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.
According to figures from 2011, around 6,500 people live on the island.
The only town on Bute is Rothesay – where Alesha lived – and it is linked to the Scottish mainland by ferry.
The north of the island is home to the coastal village of Port Bannatyne and hamlets on the island include Ascog, Kilchattan Bay, Kerrycroy and Kingarth.
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