A 16-year-old male has been charged for the rape and murder of 6-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the small Scottish island of Bute.
The accused teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, made no plea or declaration when he appeared before Greenock Sheriff Court in private, The Sun reports.
He has been remanded in custody and is expected to appear before the court again next week.
The girl’s body was found in woodland a few miles from the house she had been staying in with her father and grandparents in Port Bannatyne by a member of the public shortly after she was reported missing, with the killing leaving islanders in shock.
“Everyone is numb,” commented one relative, who wished to remain anonymous.
“My neighbour is so concerned because he has two children and they are terrified… It’s the holidays and there wasn’t a child playing last night.”
It was not known that Alesha had been raped until the charge was read out in court on Friday.
Bute: Neighbours Say Teen Arrested for Murder of Six-Year-Old Girl ‘Lived Locally’ https://t.co/CHF3jr6tTk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 5, 2018
The horrific murder of six-year-old Alesha is not the only thing to have put Bute in the headlines recently.
Since 2016, a sizeable contingent of Syrian migrants has been settled on the small island, which has a population of only a little over 6,000 and relatively high unemployment, with some migrants complaining the island is “full of old people waiting to die” and boredom has made them depressed — but there is no suggestion that Alesha’s killing is linked to the migrant community; reports only state the suspect lived locally and was known to the girl’s grandparents.
While crime is relatively low on the small island, it has known paedophile killers before, including Charles O’Neill and lover William Lauchlan, who abused a number of boys in Scotland and possibly Spain, and murdered a woman who found out about their crimes and threatened to expose them.