Alesha MacPhail trial: Accused pins blame on the partner of Alesha’s dad

Toni McLachlan arrives at the High Court. Photo by John Devlin.
Toni McLachlan arrives at the High Court. Photo by John Devlin.

A boy has claimed to be the victim of a “extraordinarily wicked” plan to frame him for the murder and rape of Alesha MacPhail.

The 16-year-old insisted he had never met or even knew the name of the girl before her naked body was found last July.

He yesterday told jurors: “I would never do something like that.”

The teenager pinned the blame on Toni McLachlan - the partner of Alesha’s dad Robert MacPhail.

It is claimed she effectively “planted” evidence to fit-up the teenager.

The boy alleged having sex with Toni on July 2 and that she must have taken a condom he used with her to put his DNA at the murder scene.

But, prosecutors instead stated it was the boy who “brutalised” Alesha.

The 16 year-old yesterday took to the witness box to give evidence for more than two hours.

The boy claimed he met up with Toni in the early hours of that morning after she asked did he want to meet for a cigarette.

He told a packed courtroom he had previously had sex with Toni in late 2017– despite her being in a relationship with Alesha’s dad.

The boy had also previously bought cannabis from the couple.

He claimed the pair started chatting that morning before having sex again in a lock-up garage.

The boy told the trial: “She had a condom with her, so she gave me that.” He said they eventually went their “separate ways” and he headed home.

Alesha was found at 8.54am later that morning in the grounds of the former Kyles Hydro Hotel on Bute.

The boy recalled getting a message from Toni that Robert’s “wee girl” was initially missing.

The court was told again about a selfie-style video that he posted on Snapchat at the time stating: “Found who’s done it”.

His QC Brian McConnachie asked: “Were you letting people know you were responsible?”

He replied: “No, I did not even know at the time that there had been a murder.

“People had been talking about who had done it. One of my friends had said my name and I did not want to take it to heart.”

He also claimed a message in 2017 about “killing for the lifetime experience” was “not serious”.

He told jurors: “It would ruin your life if you killed someone...a stupid thing to do.”

The boy went on to be quizzed about the crime by Mr McConnachie.

The QC asked: “Did you have sex with Alesha?”

The boy: “Absolutely not. I have never met Alesha in person. I did not even know her name.”

He claimed he could “speculate” as to how his DNA could be 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.”

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC went on to brand the boy a “confident liar”.

He asked why Toni would want to implicate him in the murder.

The boy said: “To get away with it. Maybe she is mad at me for something.”

Mr McSporran: “So, she had murder in mind and would fit someone up.

“Someone, you say, she had sex with, someone she got on with.

“If that is right that makes her an extraordinarily wicked person?”

The boy: “I agree.”

The prosecutor suggested that if Toni was innocent that would make the allegation against her equally bad.

The advocate depute: “Just like the murder and rape of Alesha MacPhail...extraordinarily evil and wicked?”

The boy: “Yes.”

Mr McSporran said Toni would have taken a “big risk” to have met him that morning before returning to the home she shared with Robert’s family to get Alesha.

The boy: “I cannot think of how else she would have done it.”

Mr McSporran: “Someone brutalised Alesha MacPhail. It is either you or Toni McLachlan.”

But, he replied: “Not me, absolutely not. I would never do something like that.”

The prosecutor: “You murdered and raped her. The reason your DNA is all over is because you done it?”

The teenager: “No.”

The trial continues.