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Sixteen-year-old boy charged over death of Alesha MacPhail

Alesha was reported missing while staying with her dad and grandparents in Rothesay.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged over the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

Alesha was reported missing on Monday morning while staying with her father and grandparents in Rothesay on Bute.

Her body was found less than three hours later in woods by a member of the public.

Officers have now charged a 16-year-old boy in connection with her death.

He is due to appear at Greenock Sheriff Court on Friday.

Alesha MacPhail: She was staying with dad and grandparents.
Alesha MacPhail: She was staying with dad and grandparents. Facebook

Detective superintendent Stuart Houston said: "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.

"I'd also like to thank local people for all their support and assistance during this major investigation on the island.

"The response to our appeals was significant both from those living here and the wider community of Scotland.

"The people of the Isle of Bute have rallied together since Alesha was first reported missing on Monday morning and I would stress that social media speculation relating to members of the community is both misleading and inaccurate."

Death: Alesha's mum paid tribute to her daughter.
Death: Alesha's mum paid tribute to her daughter. STV

He added: "The family has also received considerable support from Alesha's home town of Airdrie which was reflected in the memorial service held at her school.

"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."

Police: Officers have charged a 16-year-old boy.
Police: Officers have charged a 16-year-old boy. STV

He continued: "As I have said previously, incidents such as this are extremely rare and while the police investigation will continue, I hope that today's announcement brings some reassurance to everyone in the local community.

"It is understandable that recent events will have shocked communities across Scotland, no more so than on Bute and in Airdrie.

"Argyll and Bute and North Lanarkshire councils have services available for those who may have been affected."

In a post on social media, her uncle Calum said: "Me and my family would like to thank you for your ongoing support.

"I would also like to let yous see what sort of lovely wee girl my niece was.

"I am never going to be able to have this much fun with Alesha again but at least I have this memory of her."

Cordon: Several officers have been drafted in.
Cordon: Several officers have been drafted in. PA

He added: "There's a lot more I want to say but I just can't word it at this time.

"Rest in peace Alesha, I love you so much. Love uncle Calum."

Police have been searching Rothesay beach as the investigations continues.

A car was seized on Wednesday afternoon as part of a forensic investigation of the house where Alesha was staying.

Beach: Police have been searching the coastline.
Beach: Police have been searching the coastline.

Rev Owain Jones said people had been "stunned" by the death and murder investigation.

He has opened his United Church of Bute in Rothesay to allow people to visit at any time.

He said: "We're all absolutely staggered, we have no words for this and it's beyond any power of words to express.

"We're all just really sitting in a kind of shared stunned silence just trying to uphold each other.

"Bute is one of these places that is incredibly safe, you take all sorts of things for granted here and don't panic if you forget to lock the house or whatever."

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