Alesha Macphail: pathologist ‘never seen anything like’ injuries found on six-year-old

A six-year-old schoolgirl who was raped and murdered suffered “catastrophic” injuries, a jury has been told.

Alesha MacPhail.
Alesha MacPhail.

Pathologist John Williams told the Alesha MacPhail murder trial the youngster had suffered more severe injuries to parts of her body than he had ever seen before.

The High Court in Glasgow was shown graphic images of the injuries, which judge Lord Matthews warned were “distressing”.

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A 16-year old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies abducting the schoolgirl from the home her grandparents shared with her dad on the Isle of Bute, raping and murdering her and attempting to hide evidence.

Her body was found in a wooded area on the island on July 2 last year.

Dr Williams said the girl had been smothered to death.

He told how he carried out a post-mortem examination of her body and the cause of death was “pressure to the neck and face”.

He said the injuries to her neck and face were consistent with being gripped, and those to her nose and mouth were consistent with “smothering”.

He added it was also possible her was windpipe pushed shut.

The 16-year-old accused has lodged a special defence blaming Toni McLachlan - the girlfriend of Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail - for the killing.

During her evidence to the court on Wednesday she insisted she had nothing to do with the girl’s death, telling jurors: “I loved her to pieces.”

The accused also denies attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of clothing and a knife.

The trial continues.