Teen Denies Murdering Alesha MacPhail

10 December 2018, 10:58 | Updated: 10 December 2018, 11:00

Alesha MacPhail Bute Murder

A teenager will go on trial next year charged with the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Scottish island of Bute.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is accused of abducting, raping and murdering Alesha.

She was at the start of a three-week break visiting family on Bute in the Firth of Clyde, west of Glasgow, when she was reported missing in the early hours of July 2. Her body was found a few hours later.

Police Scotland launched a major investigation and arrested a 16-year-old male.

It is also alleged that he disposed of a knife and clothing on the shore at Rothesay.

The 16-year-old appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday, where he denies the charges of rape and murder.

Judge Lady Rae set February 4 next year as the start of his trial, which is expected to last two weeks.

Brian McConnachie QC, representing the accused, told the court: "He pleads not guilty to both charges on this indictment."

Alesha was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, where she had just finished P2.

She was visiting her father Robert MacPhail and his family in Rothesay on Bute when she died.

At her funeral in July, her uncle Calum MacPhail said: "She had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone. She was the brightest thing."