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Teenage murder suspect questioned over Alesha MacPhail death

Police Scotland arrested a youth on Wednesday after the six-year-old’s body was found on the Isle of Bute.

A teenage boy faces further police questioning after his arrest on suspicion of the murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute.

The schoolgirl was staying with relatives on the island when she was reported missing in the early hours of Monday. Her body was found in woodland near her grandparents’ home by Rothesay hours later.

Police Scotland said on Wednesday evening a male under the age of 18 had been arrested but repeated a call for information as officers continue their investigation into the death which has stunned the small community.

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Floral tributes left outside a house on Ardbeg Road (John Linton/PA)

Officers launched a murder probe following the results of a post-mortem examination on Tuesday. They have not specified how the pupil at Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, died.

The arrest followed a day of police activity at the house on Ardbeg Road where Alesha had been staying.

A team combed the grounds of the property and a black Dacia car was removed on Wednesday afternoon.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston said: “I am still appealing for anyone who was in the Ardbeg Road area of Bute on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday and who may have information about Alesha’s death to contact us.

“Anyone who has CCTV at their home or business, or indeed any motorists with dashcam footage which might help with our investigation, are also urged to get in touch.”

Alesha was a few days into a three-week summer break on the island in the Firth of Clyde, west of Glasgow, when her body was found by a member of the public in a wooded area at around 9am on Monday.

She had earlier been reported missing from the house where she was staying with her grandparents.

Islanders were warned to be vigilant about the safety of their children and the security of their homes after the discovery.

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(PA Graphics)

Local minister the Rev Owain Jones said: “We’re all absolutely staggered, we have no words for this and it’s beyond any power of words to express.

“We’re all just really sitting in a kind of shared stunned silence just trying to uphold each other.

“Bute is one of these places that is incredibly safe, you take all sorts of things for granted here and don’t panic if you forget to lock the house or whatever.

“It’s not a remote island in the classic sense – it’s only 90 minutes to Glasgow – but even so it is an island and we all know each other at least by sight, and it’s an extremely safe place and there is no context for this.”

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