Alesha MacPhail: Six-year-old’s killer could be publicly named for first time

A teenager facing life behind bars for the holiday isle rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail could be publicly named for the first time today.

A judge at the High Court in Glasgow said he was considering applications from media organisations to lift a legal ban on naming offenders under the age of 18 before sentencing him next month.

Murder victim Alesha MacPhail, 6, whose body was discovered in woodlands near her grandparents home on the Isle of Bute.

Murder victim Alesha MacPhail, 6, whose body was discovered in woodlands near her grandparents home on the Isle of Bute.

READ MORE: ‘I will miss you forever’: Alesha MacPhail’s heartbroken mum pays tribute to daughter

Lord Matthews told the 16-year-old his murder of Alesha, from Lanarkshire, last July was “bestial” after a jury unanimously found him guilty following a nine-day trial.

READ MORE: Alesha MacPhail: Why six-year-old’s killer can’t be named

The teenager took Alesha from the bed in her grandparents’ home near Ardbeg on Isle of Bute and inflicted horrific injuries before dumping her body in woodland at a former sanitorium.

Alesha MacPhail's mother, Georgina Lochrane.

Alesha MacPhail's mother, Georgina Lochrane.

Lord Matthews told the killer that he had committed some of the “wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard”.

He said: “It will be obvious to anyone following this trial that Alesha MacPhail was a sweet, angelic, innocent girl. She came to Rothesay looking forward to spending a few weeks’ holiday with her father, his partner and her grandparents.”

He said that Alesha would, at the end of her trip, have gone home to mother Georgina Lochrane in Airdrie with tales of playing on the beach and finding interesting things in rockpools.

Lord Matthews said: “Instead of that you came into her life, you stole that life and committed some of the wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard.”

He warned the boy, who will be sentenced next month, that “your release may never come”.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC said after the verdict: “The loss of such a young child would be hard to bear in any circumstances, but to have her taken in the bestial manner in which Alesha MacPhail lost her life is unfathomable.”

The trial heard Alesha was days into her summer holiday with father Robert MacPhail, 26, and grandparents Angela King and Calum MacPhail when she was snatched from her bed by the boy, who tried to blame her father’s girlfriend Toni McLachlan, 18, for the crime, claiming she must have planted his DNA on his victim after having sex with him.

In a statement issued by Police Scotland, Ms 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.”