A 16-year-old boy has been found guilty of abducting, raping and murdering a six-year-old girl.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted following a nine-day trial at the High Court in Glasgow. The jury took three hours to find him unanimously guilty.
Schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail had arrived at the home her grandparents shared with her father, Robert or Rab MacPhail, on the Isle of Bute for the school holidays shortly before she went missing on 2 July last year.
Her body was found in woods on the island hours later.
The teen had blamed Toni McLachlan - the partner of Alesha’s father - for the killing, who denied the allegations, saying she “loved” the schoolgirl.
She also denied suggestions by the defence that she had sex with the accused on 2 July, then planted his semen on Alesha, before “attacking and brutalising her” and murdering her.
Lord Matthews told the teenager: “I have no idea what made you do this but I do know that the evidence you did it was overwhelming.”
The judge will on Friday consider an application from media outlets to lift a ban on identifying the boy.
In a statement issued via police, Alesha’s mother Georgina Lochrane said: “Words cannot express just how devastated I am to have lost my beautiful, happy, smiley wee girl.
“I am glad that the boy who did this has finally been brought to justice and that he will not be able to inflict the pain on another family that he has done to mine.
“Alesha, I love you so much, my wee pal. I will miss you forever.”
The MacPhail family said: “We can’t believe that we will never see our wee angel Alesha again. We miss her so much.
“We hope that the boy who took her from us is jailed for a long time because of what he has done to our family.
“Alesha may be gone from our lives but she will always be in our hearts.”
Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, senior investigating officer in the case for Police Scotland, said: “I welcome today’s verdict and hope that it will bring some comfort to the family and friends of little Alesha MacPhail who have been through the most horrific ordeal.
“Throughout the police investigation and this trial, Alesha’s family have shown incredible bravery in the face of the most appalling circumstances.
“Alesha’s senseless and barbaric murder shocked the small community on Bute and people across Scotland. The effects of her death are still being felt today.”