Alesha MacPhail murder accused, aged 16, blames woman

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The body of Alesha MacPhail was discovered in the grounds of a former hotel on 2 July last year

A boy accused of abducting, raping and murdering a six year-old girl is blaming someone else for the crime.

The 16-year-old went on trial charged with killing Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute in July last year.

The teenager - who cannot be named because of his age - pleaded not guilty when he appeared in court.

Brian McConnachie QC lodged a special defence on behalf of his client claiming the crime was committed by a woman called Toni Louise McLachlan.

At a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, prosecutors allege the boy accused was armed with a knife when he took Alesha from her bed at a house in Ardbeg Road in Rothesay, Bute.

It is claimed he then carried the schoolgirl to the site of the former Kyles Hydropathic Hotel on the island.

The indictment states he took off Alesha's clothes, shook her violently before placing his hands over her nose, mouth and around her neck.

'Conceal evidence'

The boy is said to have "applied pressure" to her face, inflicted injuries by "means unknown" with prosecutors alleging he went on to rape and murder Alesha.

The teenager faces a separate charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

It is alleged he went to another house in Ardbeg Road before disposing of the clothes he had worn and then taking a shower to remove blood from his body.

This is said to have been done in a bid to "destroy or conceal evidence".

No evidence was heard on Monday.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC instead read out two joint minutes of evidence agreed between the Crown and the boy's lawyers.

Jurors were told Alesha's naked body was found by a man at 08:54 on 2 July in the grounds of the former Kyles Hydropathic Hotel.

The child was pronounced dead around 30 minutes later at 09:23.

Mr McSporran said: "She had been murdered. Following a post mortem examination of her remains, the cause of death was established as 'pressure to neck and face'."

The court also heard it was Alesha's gran Angela King who had reported the girl missing at 06:23 on 2 July.

Lord Matthews told jurors the case was likely to "arouse strong emotion" but that they were to adopt a "professional detachment" to the evidence.

The trial continues.