A teenage killer has been convicted of the horrific murder and rape of Alesha MacPhail.
The 16 year-old was found guilty as a judge told him he had taken the life of a “sweet, angelic little girl”.
He was armed with a blade last July 2 when he snatched the six year-old from her grandparents home in the dead of night.
The teenager then “brutalised” the child before leaving her naked body in woods on the Isle of Bute.
He denied the crime which has shocked the nation.
The boy instead pinned the blame on innocent Toni McLachlan (18) – the girlfriend of Alesha’s dad Robert MacPhail.
He claimed she had “planted” his DNA with a condom he had used after apparently having sex with her earlier that morning.
But, the boy faces life behind bars after he was convicted of abduction, rape and murder following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
He will return to the dock next month.
Alesha had arrived excitedly on Bute to spend part of her school holidays with dad Robert MacPhail.
She was tucked up in bed around 11pm on July 1 with a kiss goodnight.
By 8.54am the next morning, Alesha was found dead.
Her remains were discovered in the grounds of a former hotel - an initial missing person hunt ending tragically.
The poor child suffered 117 injuries - many of which the worst an experienced pathologist had ever seen.
She was brutally slain by the teenage stranger, who once spoke of killing for “the lifetime experience”.
His only link to the MacPhail family was having previously bought cannabis from Alesha’s dad.
He was snared following a huge police probe - with his own mum alerting police after learning he had not been home when Alesha vanished.
Prosecutors revealed a “mountain of evidence” against the boy including his DNA being “all over” the child.
The sick teenager, however, forced Alesha’s family to recall the grim events of last summer at a harrowing trial.
He even pinned the blame on Robert’s innocent girlfriend Toni McLachlan (18).
The boy whined he was the victim of an “evil and wicked” plot to frame him.
He lied he had sex with Toni the night Alesha was killed.
She then apparently “planted” evidence with a condom he had used to put his DNA at the murder scene.
Denying his guilt, he coolly claimed: “I would never do something like that.”
Alesha had gone to Bute to spend three weeks with dad Robert, who had split from her mum Georgina Lochrane years earlier.
Robert told how his daughter loved her trips to the island to see him and her grandparents.
The child would spend days on the beach, at the park or swimming.
Robert recalled: “We were never in. We were always doing something.”
On July 1 - the day before she vanished - Alesha was taken by her grandfather Calum MacPhail to a party in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire before returning to Bute.
Calum told how Alesha jokingly kept hitting him with a balloon as they headed back.
The child was eventually home at the MacPhails’ attic flat on the island.
Like most children off school, she was in no hurry to go to bed.
She even sneaked a late snack from her dad and his girlfriend Toni, who often stayed with family.
Alesha was finally put to bed around 1030-11pm - tucked up with a Peppa Pig DVD to nod off to.
Moments earlier, she cuddled into Calum’s arms and told him: “Goodnight, Grandpa.”
Her dad Robert said to his daughter as he walked out her room: “See you in the morning.”
Toni then went on to give her a kiss before switching off the now sleeping girl’s DVD.
It was the last time Alesha was seen alive.
The boy meanwhile was at home fuelled by wine and Mad Dog 20/20 having celebrated the end of the school year with friends.
A blazing row with his mum - about his young sister being out late at night - apparently left him “suicidal”.
What then drove him to drunkenly hit the streets in the dead of night is unclear.
Prosecutors quizzed was it to rob Robert MacPhail of cannabis - or something more sinister.
Whatever, he left his home at 1.54am on July 2 armed with a kitchen knife.
Minutes later, he was in the MacPhails flat, having climbed stairs and silently sneaked in.
The family kept a key in the door believing Bute to be a place free of danger.
He was then able to carry Alesha out of the flat without the family knowing.
It is not known whether the girl was sleeping or frozen by fear.
Around 2.30am, CCTV clocked a suspicious, shadowy figure on the nearby beach.
Alexander McLachlan - whose cameras caught the footage - said: “I presumed it was someone carrying a child.”
The boy was described as “strong” and often boasted to friends of the weights he could lift.
Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC said “a wee girl of 22kg” would have been “no bother” for the killer to carry Alesha to her ultimate death.
He ended up in the desolate grounds of the former Kyles Hydro Hotel on Bute.
It was there Alesha was violently shaken, sexually assaulted in the most horrific way and smothered using “significant” force.
Pathologist John Williams confirmed the girl had a total of 117 injuries.
Asked about some of the injuries, Mr McSporran put to him: “You have carried out many post mortems on crime victims including children.
“Have you ever seen anything of this sort?”
Dr Williams: “No.” He went on to agree the injuries were “catastrophic”.
The alarm was raised around 6.30am when Alesha’s grandparents realised she was not in bed.
Jurors heard of the “pandemonium” as her family began the frantic hunt.
Her dad Robert recalled: “I went straight out to look. Toni came with me. My mum stayed in the house and my dad went out as well.
“I could not see her. Me and Toni headed into town, went to the ferry terminal, the taxi rank...there was no sign of her.”
Alesha’s gran Angela King set up a Facebook appeal as locals joined the search.
Toni actually contacted the killer as the hunt was on – unaware of what he had done.
She messaged: “Want to keep an eye out for Rab’s wee girl please.”
He replied: “Yh how – what’s happened.”
Toni: “She’s went missing from house. Police are looking for her and helicopter is out.”
The boy: “Oh damn. Am sure she’s not went too far x”
The family got the first hint events had taken a tragic turn as police cordoned off a path heading to the former hotel.
Hysterical Robert and Calum begged an officer for information.
But, they were told to head to Rothesay police office for an update.
Callum broke down in the witness box as he recalled the moment they were told Alesha was dead.
He said: “We were put into room. Five minutes later, a police officer said: ‘We have found her, but she has passed...’.”
It was Bute resident Jorge Williams who made the grim discovery at 8.54am that morning.
He had joined the search hoping to find the girl alive.
But, he told jurors: “I was 10 paces from the top of steps – it was against a tree that I found Alesha.
“I approached her, crouched down and put my fingers on her neck to try and find a pulse.”
Alesha was dead – her vest, pants and shorts dumped beside her.
Word quickly spread on Bute. A massive police probe was launched to catch the killer.
As islanders reeled from the news, the boy and his friends started “gossiping” on their Snapchat group.
Just hours after he killed Alesha, the teenager then posted a sick selfie-style video.
A friend told the trial: “It was him going into the bathroom and showing himself in the mirror.
“It was his face, not his body. There was then a message: ‘Found the guy who’s done it’.”
He then went on to Google: “How do police find DNA”.
Shortly after - in the early hours of July 3 – police first met the boy after his own mum called them.
She was suspicious after watching back her home CCTV and noticing her son had been out when Alesha was taken.
The 54 year-old told the trial: “Obviously I did not think he had anything to do with it whatsoever.
“It was just to help the police. Maybe he had saw something that he would not tell me.
“It was to eliminate him from their enquiries basically.”
He was clocked leaving the house at different times between 1.54am and 4.07am.
The boy was wearing only shorts at one stage having taken a shower.
Prosecutors believe he had also been out to dump the hoodie, jogging bottoms and boxers worn during the killing.
The garments along with his knife were later found washed up on the shore.
The mum confronted her son about his movements.
She recalled: “I went into his room and said ‘you went out again that night’.
“He was just like : ‘I don’t know...I think I might have been looking for my phone.
“I explained they had found the little girl. I said: ‘Are you sure that you don’t know anything about this?’ He said ‘no’.”
The young killer was arrested at his home on July 4 – but kept silent.
His friends were quizzed during the investigation.
A girl told of a chat with the boy on Facebook Messenger in January 2017.
She recalled: “It was a conversation about crime documentaries or TV shows.
“I remember he said that he would kill for lifetime experience.”
His DNA then pinned him at the scene – it was found on at least 14 places on Alesha’s body.
Fibres from the dumped jogging bottoms were also discovered on his tiny victim’s clothes.
Despite the overwhelming case against him, the boy refused to accept his guilt.
Sources have claimed he would enjoy getting “a kick” from the widespread publicity a trial would generate.
Members of Alesha’s family, at various times, left the courtroom due the distressing nature of the evidence.
Mr McSporran previously lead the prosecution in a string of harrowing cases including the murder of Clydebank teenager Paige Doherty.
But, even he told jurors: “This must have been one of the worst cases to have come into as a jury to hear. Something terrible was done to that girl.”
The boy showed no remorse during the trial.
He often eye-balled witnesses from the dock – and smirked as he was lead back to the cells after a day’s grim evidence.
The boy sank even further by pinning the blame on Toni McLachlan.
He claimed she effectively “planted” evidence to fit-up the teenager.
Toni vehemently denied during the trial any involvement insisting she “loved” Alesha.
The boy alleged having sex with Toni on July 2 in a lock-up garage
He claimed he could “speculate” as to how his DNA was then at the murder scene.
The boy said: “I cannot think of any other way that it could get on Alesha...that Toni took the condom when I left and just went and killed Alesha.”
But, Mr McSporran branded the boy a “confident liar” calling his claims “preposterous”.