NEWS
06/07/2018 15:50 BST | Updated 06/07/2018 16:32 BST

Alesha MacPhail Death: Boy, 16, Charged With Rape And Murder

He has been remanded in custody ahead of a second court appearance later in July.

PA Wire/PA Images
A teenager has been charged with the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

A 16-year-old boy has appeared at court charged with the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail, who was found dead on the Isle of Bute.

The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, made no plea during a private appearance at Greenock Sheriff Court on Friday, the Crown Office said.

Alesha was staying with relatives on the island when she was reported missing in the early hours of Monday.

The schoolgirl’s body was found in woodland near her grandparents’ home by Rothesay hours later.

The teenager was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with murder on Thursday.

PA Wire/PA Images
A 16 year old male leaves Greenock Sheriff Court after being charged with the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute.

On Friday, he appeared in front of Sheriff McIntyre in Greenock charged with murder and an offence under section 18 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, which covers the rape of a young child.

He was remanded in custody ahead of a second court appearance later in July.

He arrived in a security van that reversed in the back door of Greenock Sheriff Court, the Press Association reported.

On Thursday, Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston praised Alesha’s parents for their “incredible bravery” during what has been an “unimaginable ordeal”.

Houston said on Thursday: “Officers and staff from across Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority have been involved in what has been a difficult and challenging investigation during which they have worked tirelessly to bring us to where we are today.”

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Alesha’s family who have shown incredible bravery through what has been an unimaginable ordeal during these past few days.”