Boy arrested over murder of Alesha on Isle of Bute

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A boy has been arrested on suspicion of murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

The girl was reported missing from her home on the Scottish island of Bute at 6.25am on Monday and her body was found in woodland less than three hours later.

Initially, police did not release any information about the arrested male but they later said he was aged under 18.

Police stand outside the house that Alesha MacPhail went missing from
Image: The house from where Alesha MacPhail went missing

They continued to appeal for information.

The senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, said: “The response to our earlier public appeals has been significant.

“However, despite this evening’s major development, I am still appealing for anyone who was in the Ardbeg Road area of Bute on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday and who may have information about Alesha’s death to contact us.

Flowers are left outside the house that Alesha went missing from
Image: Flowers are left outside the house

“Anyone who has CCTV at their home or business, or indeed any motorists with dashcam footage which might help with our investigation are also urged to get in touch.”

On Tuesday night, Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren warned the community on Bute that they should be “vigilant and look after each other”.

A murder investigation was launched as a result of the findings of a post mortem examination into Alesha’s death.

Forensic officers at the police cordon in Ardbeg Road on the Isle of Bute
Image: Forensic officers at the police cordon

She vanished from a home in Rothesay where she was staying and was reported missing by her grandmother at 6.25am on 2 July.

Alesha’s body was discovered by police in the grounds of an abandoned hotel at around 9am.

On Wednesday there was an increase in police activity at the property on Ardbeg Road where Alesha had been before she disappeared.

A Dacia vehicle is removed from near the scene where Alesha MacPhail went missing
Image: A Dacia vehicle is removed from near the scene

Several officers entered the garden with long sticks and searched the grounds.

Later, a recovery truck removed a black Dacia car from the rear of the house. It was the second car to be removed.

Officers have been carrying out house-to-house inquiries and conducting 24-hour high-visibility patrols to support the island’s 7,000-strong community.

Alesha was remembered by a school teacher on Wednesday as as a friendly and happy child.

A police officer leaves balloons near a house on Ardbeg Road
Image: A police officer leaves balloons

Wendy Davie, headteacher of Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, where Alesha had just finished her second year, said she was “part of the family” and would be greatly missed by pupils and staff.

“She loved being at school and enjoyed all aspects of literacy, in particular writing,” Ms Davie said. “She was such a perfectionist in her handwriting and was very proud of her work.

“Alesha was very friendly and she welcomed everyone first thing in the morning at breakfast club. She was a very considerate child who loved being part of a group and she was popular with all the other children and was a smiley and happy young girl.”

Balloons and a teddy bear are left against a wall
Image: Balloons and a teddy bear are left against a wall

It is understood that Alesha had been living in North Lanarkshire with her mother Genie Lochrane, who is separated from her father, during term time.

The home from which she went missing was occupied by her paternal grandparents and Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail.

She was a few days into a three-week break.

A picture of Alesha MacPhail outside the house from where she went missing
Image: A picture of Alesha MacPhail was among the items left

Family and friends of the murdered girl have continued to place flowers and cards outside her home.

Police said the six-year-old’s family was “devastated”.

From – SkyNews

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