Alesha MacPhail: Teenager denies rape and murder of six-year-old

Forensic officers on Ardbeg Road on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, after officers found the body of Alesha MacPhail was found in woodland on the island on July 2 last year. Picture: Jane Barlow
Forensic officers on Ardbeg Road on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, after officers found the body of Alesha MacPhail was found in woodland on the island on July 2 last year. Picture: Jane Barlow

A teenager has gone on trial accused of the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl on the Isle of Bute.

The body of Alesha MacPhail was discovered in woodland on the island in the Firth of Clyde on July 2 last year.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies taking the schoolgirl from her bed, assaulting and murdering her.

The jury heard her naked body was found in the grounds of the former Kyles Hydropathic Hotel at Port Bannatyne, the cause of death determined as “pressure to neck and face”.

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Lord Matthews told the panel the case, expected to last up to two weeks, was likely to cause “strong emotions”.

He said: “You have to approach this case with a great deal of professional detachment.”

The accused has lodged a special defence, stating the rape and murder was committed by another person.

He also denies attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of clothes and a knife.

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A joint minute of agreed facts was read to the jury before the judge adjourned the case until Tuesday, when evidence will be heard.