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Dad of Alesha MacPhail 'sold cannabis to murder accused'

A 16-year-old boy denies raping and murdering the six-year-old schoolgirl on Bute.

Alesha MacPhail: Was found dead on Isle of Bute.
Alesha MacPhail: Was found dead on Isle of Bute.

The dad of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail sold cannabis to the teenager accused of murdering her, a court has heard.

The child was found dead near the house where she was staying on the Isle of Bute last summer.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies raping and murdering her on July 2.

Alesha's dad, Robert MacPhail, said he last sold the accused cannabis two months before.

He claimed he had missed calls through Facebook Messenger asking for cannabis on the night Alesha went missing.

Mr MacPhail said he didn't get the messages until he was out looking for his daughter.

The dad recalled how the six year-old "loved" her summer holiday visits to his family home on the Isle of Bute.

Jurors heard Robert, 26, tucked Alesha up in bed last July 1 and left her watching a Peppa Pig DVD.

But, there was "pandemonium" the next morning when it emerged the child was not in the flat.

Death: She was allegedly murdered.
Death: She was allegedly murdered. Facebook

Alesha's family made a desperate search to find the child - before her body was discovered lying in woodland on the island.

Robert told how he lived on Bute with his parents having earlier split from Alesha's mother.

Alesha would stay with her dad every second weekend and during the holidays.

Robert told how his daughter would "love" the visits enjoying trips to the park, swimming or the beach.

He added: "We were never in. We were always doing something."

She was then with Robert and her grandparents last summer.

The dad said: "I was looking forward to having her."

Last July 1, Alesha was taken to a party in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire before returning to Bute.

Robert was later in his room with partner Toni having something to eat when Alesha came in asking for some.

He gave her food before putting her to bed. However, the dad later heard his daughter get back up.

Robert then said: "I put her back to bed. I told her that I would see her in the morning."

He put on a Peppa Pig DVD "for her to fall asleep to".

But, prosecutor Iain McSporran QC said to him: "That was the last time you saw her."

Robert: "Yes." The witness added he believed this was around 10.30pm-11pm.

The next morning, Robert was then wakened by his parents asking where Alesha was.

The child was not in the flat - a hunt was soon sparked to find the girl.

Robert said: "I went straight out to look. Toni came with me. My mum stayed in the house and my dad went out as well.

"I went along the shore road...could not see her. Me and Toni headed into town, went to the ferry terminal, the taxi rank... there was no sign of her."

A Facebook appeal by Alesha's gran lead to locals joining the hunt.

Robert then became of an ambulance in the area with police also on the scene.

Mr McSporran asked: "You and your dad were desperately trying to get information?"

Funeral: Hundreds have paid their respects.
Funeral: Hundreds have paid their respects. STV

Robert replied: "Yes."

The prosecutor then said: "At some point, were you told your daughter had been found?"

He replied: "Yes."

Mr McSporran: "Not un-naturally you reacted badly."

Robert: "Yes."

The advocate also asked: "Do you understand how Alesha could have left the house without you being aware of it?"

He replied: "No."

Robert later told how he knew the boy charged with murdering his daughter.

He admitted: "I used to sell him cannabis."

Robert said he was "not sure" when it started, but that it ended when the boy's mum asked him to stop.

The witness was asked had the boy been at his home.

Robert: "He was never in the house, but had been at the front door."

Jurors were told the boy had apparently got in touch with Robert in the early hours of July 2.

Mr McSporran: "What reason would he have had to contact you that morning?"

Robert: "Wanting cannabis."

Brian McConnachie, defending, later quizzed Robert about the morning of the search.

The QC said: "Was it pandemonium looking in the house then rushing out looking for her."

He replied: "Yes."

The trial, before Lord Matthews, continues.

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