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School pays tribute to ‘smiley’ Alesha, six, after body find on Bute

Alesha MacPhail was reported missing from Rothesay on Monday morning and a body was found hours later.

A six-year-old girl whose body is believed to have been found in island woodland will be “greatly missed” by everyone at her school, her head teacher has said.

Alesha MacPhail was reported missing from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute at 6.25am on Monday.

The body of a young girl was found in woodland on the site of a former hotel in Ardbeg Road by a member of the public at about 9am.

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Police are treating the death as unexplained and have launched a major investigation (Jane Barlow/PA)

Formal identification is yet to take place but it is believed to be that of the six-year-old.

Alesha was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Head teacher Wendy Davie said: “Alesha started with us at Chapelside Primary in August 2016 and had just finished primary two.

“She loved being at school and enjoyed all aspects of literacy, in particular writing. She was such a perfectionist in her handwriting and was very proud of her work.

“Alesha was very friendly and she welcomed everyone first thing in the morning at breakfast club.

“She was a very considerate child who loved being part of a group and she was popular with all the other children, and was a smiley and happy young girl.

“She was part of the family of Chapelside Primary and she will be greatly missed by everyone at the school.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and Chapelside Primary community at this very sad time.”

Police are treating the death as unexplained and have launched a major investigation.

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Floral tributes near a house on Ardbeg Road (Jane Barlow/PA)

The death was said to have had an impact on all those living in the “tight-knit community”.

Councillor Len Scoullar said: “Everyone is very shocked, very sympathetic and concerned.

“We will all be offering our very sincere condolences to the family.

“We are a very small island community, people are genuinely grieving for the family.”

Extra officers including forensics specialists have been sent to the island to help with the investigation.

High Road in Ardbeg, near Rothesay, was shut by a police cordon and a floral tribute had been laid near police accident signs.

A separate cordon was set up outside houses on Ardbeg Road and police tape set up at the seafront on the opposite side of the street.

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A police cordon outside a house on Ardbeg Road on the Isle of Bute (Jane Barlow/PA)

Tributes continued to be left outside the house on Ardbeg Road.

Flowers, teddies and balloons have been left on the pavement with messages attached reading “sleep tight little angel” and “good night little angel”.

A Cinderella toy had a hand-written note which said: “Sleep tight little princess, you’ll never be forgotten.”

Part of the beach front and a shelter opposite the house also remains cordoned off with police tape, while cars are being diverted from the end of Ardbeg Road.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, from Police Scotland’s major investigation teams, said on Monday: “This death of a six-year-old child has shocked the tight-knit community of Rothesay and it is imperative that we find out what has happened.

“I understand that there are real concerns in the community, however please be assured that a team of detectives are working on this investigation to ascertain the circumstances leading up to the death of this young child.

“Specially-trained officers are supporting the family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Anyone with information is asked to call officers at the major investigations teams via 101, quoting incident no 0695 of 2 July 2018.

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