Alesha MacPhail: 16-year-old boy charged over death of six-year-old on Isle of Bute

Detective hopes announcement 'brings some reassurance to everyone'

Harriet Agerholm
Thursday 05 July 2018 17:47
The case became a murder inquiry on Tuesday evening after a post-mortem examination on the six-year-old
The case became a murder inquiry on Tuesday evening after a post-mortem examination on the six-year-old

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute, police have said.

The teenager will remain in custody and is expected to appear at Greenock Sheriff Court on Friday.

Alesha, who was from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, was staying with her grandparents on a summer break when she was reported missing at 6.45am Monday. Her body was found in woodland near the house hours later.

A murder probe was launched following the results of a post-mortem examination, but officers have not said how the child died.

Speaking to journalists outside the island’s Rothesay police station, Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston said the teenager was arrested on Wednesday night and had now been been charged.

He praised Alesha’s parents for their “incredible bravery” during what he called an “unimaginable ordeal”.

He continued: “The people of the Isle of Bute have rallied together since Alesha was first reported missing on Monday morning and I would stress that social media speculation relating to members of the community is both misleading and inaccurate.

“The family has also received considerable support from Alesha’s home town of Airdrie, which was reflected in the memorial service held at her school.

He said such incidents were “extremely rare” and he hoped news of the charge “brings some reassurance to everyone in the local community”.

“It is understandable that recent events will have shocked communities across Scotland, no more so than on Bute and in Airdrie. Argyll and Buteand North Lanarkshire councils have services available for those who may have been affected,” he said.

The senior detective said children, parents and carers who were concerned following the incident should contact ParentLine Scotland.

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