Alesha MacPhail: Timeline of events surrounding six-year-old’s murder

Here is a timeline of events surrounding the murder of Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute, where she was spending the summer holiday with her father and grandparents.

July 1, 2018

10.30pm - Alesha is put to bed for a final time by her father. Her grandmother is the last of the family to go to bed around two hours later.

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Alesha MacPhail: Boy, 16, guilty of raping and murdering six-year-old
Alesha MacPhail (6).

July 2

1.40am - Around this time Robert MacPhail receives missed calls from the phone of the accused, to whom the court heard he had previously dealt cannabis.

6am - Alesha’s grandfather gets up and realises she is not in her room. A search of the house begins.

6.23am - Alesha’s grandmother calls police to report her missing.

8.54am - Alesha’s body is found in the grounds of the former Kyles Hydropathic Hotel.

9.23am - The six-year-old is pronounced dead, the cause later established as “pressure to neck and face”.

Later that day - The 16-year-old accused sends a video of the top half of his body to friends in a Snapchat group with the message “found the guy who’s done it”.

July 3

12.32am - A phone belonging to the accused was used to google “how do police find DNA” and a minute later the internet history showed a page on collecting DNA evidence.

July 4

Police arrest a local teenager in connection with Alesha’s death. He is charged the following day.

July 6

The accused appears at Greenock Sheriff Court charged with the child’s rape and murder. He makes no plea during the private appearance.

July 8

A vigil is held on Bute where locals gather to light candles for the six-year-old in Rothesay’s Guildford Square.

July 13

The accused appears at Greenock Sheriff Court for a second time.

July 21

Alesha’s funeral is held at Coats Funeral Home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. Most mourners wear pink as requested by the family. Bows are tied to the building’s railings and cuddly toys are placed outside. Mourners hear tributes from people close to Alesha including her uncle Calum MacPhail.

July 24

The little girl’s family release a video of her to “make her dream come true” of becoming a YouTube star.

December 10

The accused appears at the High Court in Glasgow and a trial date is set.

February 11, 2019

The accused goes on trial at the High Court in Glasgow. It emerges he has lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Robert MacPhail’s partner Toni McLachlan for the crime.

February 21, 2019

The 16-year-old accused is found guilty of abducting, raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha.