Alesha Macphail – Boy 16, Charged Over ‘murder’ Of Six-year-old On Isle Of Bute
A TEENAGE boy has been charged over the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail today.
The schoolgirl was found dead in woodland just hours after vanishing from her grandparents’ home in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on Monday.
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow Georgina, from Airdrie, was comforted by partner George Horn
The teen, understood to be known to the family, was arrested yesterday evening after a huge police appeal for information.
Police Scotland tweeted this afternoon: “We can confirm that a 16 year-old male has, this afternoon, been charged in connection with the death of six year-old Alesha MacPhail, whose body was discovered on Monday on the Isle of Bute.
“He is due to appear at Greenock Sheriff Court tomorrow.”
Alesha was reported missing from the house in Port Bannatyne, where she was staying with her grandparents and dad, Rab MacPhail, 25.
Getty Images – Getty Alesha’s heartbroken dad Rab MacPhail leaves flowers for his daughter
Wullie Marr Around a dozen officers combed the stretch of shoreline in front of the house belonging to her grandparents
Her body was found by a member of the public less than three hours later around a mile away in woodland on the site of a former hotel.
A heartbroken relative, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s the worst possible scenario we could have imagined.
“Everyone is numb.
“My neighbour is so concerned because he has two children and they are terrified. The eldest would sleep in his own room.
“It’s the holidays and there wasn’t a child playing last night. And walking around the streets it’s disturbing to think it could have been that person walking past you.”
Heartbreaking footage of murdered six year-old Alesha MacPhail giggling with her uncle
Tragic Alesha, six, was found dead hours after being reported missing
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow Forensic officers remove a cat from the home
Getty Images – Getty Cops today removed a dark-coloured Dacia car from the house
Alesha’s mum Georgina Lochrane, 23, was on the mainland at the time.
She broke down as she placed a picture of her daughter at a makeshift shrine on the garden wall of her grandparents’ house yesterday.
Det Supt Stuart Houston said: “The response to our earlier public appeals has been significant.
“However, despite this evening’s major development, I am still appealing for anyone who was in the Ardbeg Road area of Bute on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday and who may have information about Alesha’s death to contact us.
“Anyone who has CCTV at their home or business, or indeed any motorists with dashcam footage which might help with our investigation are also urged to get in touch.”
PA:Press Association Cops stood guard throughout the operation
Wullie Marr Other personal items were removed from the gran’s house Forensic teams swoop on home where Alesha MacPhail was staying before murder
Speaking yesterday, Det Supt Houston, who is the senior investigating officer, said: “Alesha’s family is utterly devastated and we are continuing to provide them with the support they require at this incredibly distressing time.
“Alesha had lots of friends who will no doubt find it very difficult to comprehend why they will never see their friend again.
“Like any other six-year-old, Alesha was looking forward to enjoying her holidays from primary school and was only a few days into a three week summer break visiting relatives on the island.
“For such a young girl to have her life taken away is incomprehensible.”
Georgina, from Airdrie, was comforted by partner George Horn as she tenderly placed a photo of Alesha in her school uniform in among the many floral tributes yesterday.
The bereft parent – also mum to a four-year-old girl – paused for a brief moment to read some of the kind-words left by locals touched by the harrowing loss. She then left sobbing in a police car.
The shrine sits at the home of grandparents Angela King and Calum MacPhail – where Alesha’s dad Robert, also know as Rab, also lives.
Getty Images – Getty Rab was supported by his girlfriend after looking at the tributes
Her heartbroken dad also wept as he left flowers for his daughter as murder cops arrived on the Scottish island.
Rab had to be supported by his girlfriend Toni McLachlan as he looked as dozens of tributes left to the tragic youngster.
Chief Supt Hazel Hendren, Divisional Commander of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire, said: “Every available resource from across Police Scotland is being made available to this major investigation.
“Our absolute priority is catching the person responsible for this horrendous act as quickly as possible.
Alesha had vanished while staying at her grandparent’s house and was later discovered nearby
“I understand that there will be a high level of concern among people living in this close knit community but I want to reassure people that everything possible is being done.
“Incidents such as this are extremely rare but we are still in the early stages of this investigation and we would ask people to be vigilant about their children and also their household security.
“The island community needs to pull together at times like this and we need their help – anyone with any information, please come forward. We are working with a number of partner agencies during this inquiry including local authorities and health boards.”
Alesha’s devastated mum begged for information about her missing daughter after gran Angela issued a desperate plea to find the youngster.
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 asking what had happened to her daughter, saying: “Someone tell me whats 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.
Facebook Alesha had been staying with her dad and grandparents in Bute
Facebook She was discovered in woodland at around 9am yesterday by police
Facebook Tributes have flooded in for the tragic six-year-old
She heart-wrenchingly posted: “That’s my f***ing daughter”.
A potential line of inquiry is that Alesha may have had a problem with sleepwalking.
A local bus driver, who gave his name only as Peter, told The Times: “They are a nice family and very well known on the island.
“It’s really not clear what happened, but I know wee Alesha was known to sleepwalk.”
Robert was seen hunting for his daughter “white as a sheet” and calling out her name.
Facebook Alesha was staying with her dad Rab, pictured, and her grandparents
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow Tributes have been left outside Alesha’s grandparents’ house
SWNS:South West News Service The community has been left reeling from the tragedy
SWNS:South West News Service Flowers have also been left at the woodland where her body was discovered
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.
A huge search was launched when they raised the alarm with cops and locals scouring the area as a police helicopter hovered overhead.
The family’s flat, which is close to the seafront, was taped off as forensics teams swooped.
Murder cops are helping the investigation
A cordon was also thrown around a bus stop opposite and run all the way down to the water.
Police stopped traffic entering a winding track leading up to a hill at the rear of the house, while investigators combed an expanse of nearby forest.
But Police Scotland confirmed Alesha’s body was discovered by a member of the public in woodland on the site of the abandoned Kyles of Bute Hydropathic Hotel, which was demolished in the 1970s.
The area where her body was found is heavily overgrown and the woodland is around a 20 minute walk away.
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Police disembark a boat at the harbour as investigations into Alesha’s mysterious death continue
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Murder cops are helping the probe into the ‘unexplained’ death Forensic officers search back garden of house near where Alesha MacPhail’s body was found
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Police at the home in Rothesay where Alesha vanished
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow She had been staying with her dad and grandmother
Tributes have flooded in for Alesha from devastated friends and family – including her uncle who said she was “taken from us far too soon”.
CJ MacPhail wrote: “I have been up all night thinking of how to word this as I have received many messages in the last 20 hours or so.
“As some of yous already may know i was informed yesterday that my beautiful neice was taken from us far to soon.
“I would like to thank everyone for their kind messages thought really dont know what to say as i cant quite process it all at this time though.
“Alesha was the most wonderful niece i could have asked for she always brought happiness to my day and anyone she was around.”
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Murder cops are helping out with the investigation
Stunned locals on the island, which has a tiny community of around 7,500 people, have also paid tribute to the tragic youngster.
One resident said: “The whole of the Island of Bute is in complete shock.
“Alesha’s father Robert is just a brilliant guy and worshipped the ground she walked on. They were happy together. This doesn’t happen here.
“The whole community will stand together I know that. That is what the island is like.”
SWNS:South West News Service Forensic officers hunt for clues at the woodland where Alesha was discovered
SWNS:South West News Service Investigations are continuing into her death today
Another neighbour added: “I knew Alesha. She would never leave the house on her own. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She was very bright, very intelligent, funny — a nice wee girl.
“She couldn’t have been a nicer child and so beautiful. She couldn’t have been kinder. I was always glad to meet her when she was with her grandma.
“She was lovely — a wee doll. She used to go to the wee tea parties in town with another girl.”
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Alesha was discovered close to her grandparent’s home in Bute
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow Floral tributes line a wall outside the home where Alesha vanished
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow A pink teddy is among the tributes left for tragic Alesha
Alan MacGregor Ewing – The Sun Glasgow Alesha has been described as a ‘happy, smiley’ girl
The headteacher of Alesha’s school, Chapelside Primary in Airdrie, has released an emotional statement paying tribute.
Wendy Davie, said: “Alesha started with us in August 2016 and had just finished Primary 2.
A crime-free spot
THE Isle of Bute may be just 90 minutes from Glasgow but it feels like a world away.
Accessible only by boat, the small island boasts a road sign telling visitors that one way is Rothesay – and the other way is Rothesay.
Just 6,500 people live there, joined recently by 15 Syrian refugee families.
The mostly crime-free island is also home to the magnificent Mount Stuart estate, where Stella McCartney got married. However, it also features in Scotland’s top 15 per cent of deprived areas.