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Hundreds expected at candlelit vigil for Alesha MacPhail

People will line the beach on Bute in memory of the six-year-old, found dead last week.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the beach on the Isle of Bute on Sunday evening to light a candle in memory of Alesha MacPhail.

The six-year-old girl 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.

The vigil will begin at 8pm on Sunday, with a #lightforalesha hashtag set up for those not on the island to light a candle and post a picture of it online.

A crowdfunder to assist Alesha's family with costs has raised nearly £10,000 in just four days after starting with a target of £5000.

Bute vigil organiser Carolashley Dickson told STV News: "It's touched everybody but I don't think anybody can even imagine what the family are going through right now.

"So this is just a gesture from us to say: 'Look, we kind of know you feel and we're there.'"

On Friday, a 16-year-old boy appeared in court accused of raping and murdering the six-year-old.

A legal expert has warned the public against making comments or posts on social media which would substantially risk prejudicing the 16-year-old's trial.

These include actions like posting images of the teenager, identifying him or publishing something about his character, which are all criminal offences under child protection and contempt of court laws.

It comes as Police Scotland confirmed it was investigating a number of reports of social media posts which risk prejudicing future court proceedings.

Media lawyer David McKie told STV News: "Children who are under 18 are completely protected by the law and cannot be identified, usually in newspaper reports or TV reports, but it arguably extends into social media.

"It is a criminal offence to identify anyone under the age of 18 by giving their name, their address, or indeed, what school they go to.

"So, it's a very serious matter and the courts take these issues extremely seriously."

He continued: "Social media is extremely dangerous on some occasions when not used properly.

"I think people think they can post what they like and there will be no repercussions.

Mr McKie added it is also "a criminal offence to publish anything that would substantially risk prejudice to the case", such as posts which might influence jurors or witnesses.

He said: "If you publish something about somebody's character or even their photograph, it could well be a criminal offence.

"If it's a criminal offence that affects a murder trial, the court will come down very heavily on you."

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