Alesha MacPhail was found naked lying face down in woodland near an abandoned hotel – as police hunted for her the murder suspect sent a selfie to friends and joked: ‘Found the guy who’s done it’
The teenager accused of raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail had joked that he might kill ‘for the lifetime experience’, a court heard today.
The Scottish schoolgirl was found naked and face down in an area of woodland on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year with 117 separate injuries.
Today the trial of the 16-year-old accused of abusing and killing her heard that the boy joked about her death in a social media post to 25 friends.
Giving evidence, a 16-year-old girl who was good friends with the accused, said Alesha MacPhail going missing was discussed in a Snapchat group chat of around 25 friends on the day she was found dead.
She said the accused sent a video of himself filmed in a mirror showing his top half but not his face to the group, followed by the message ‘found the guy who’s done it’.
The witness said she thought it was a ‘bad joke’ but she later told the police when it emerged he had been arrested.
The court heard that the girl alerted officers about a chat she had 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 the lifetime experience.’
Jurors were shown the message.
Alesha’s mother Georgina Lochrane (centre) arrives at Glasgow High Court for the trial of her daughter’s alleged killer
Another read: ‘I’d only kill you for reason so I’d probs go in your room anyways tryna get something and cover my tracks while I am at.’
The 16 year-old girl was in touch with him via Snapchat on the day Alesha had initially been reported missing.
She recalled: ‘During the conversation, he started to get anxious and said police were going to blame it on him
‘One thing I knew about him was that he got panic attacks.
‘He said police were always blaming for stuff that happened in the area. I tried to calm him down.
‘I told him to think logically and that only if had done something would he be arrested.’
The boy was later held by police and police went on to speak to teenagers in the area.
Today the Glasgow High Court heard a police officer admitted he threw away a black Nike hoodie after thinking it was not relevant to the Alesha MacPhail murder investigation.
Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail (pictured) has also attended every day of the rape and murder trial
The 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies raping and murdering the girl, as well as charges of child abduction and defeating the ends of justice.
A boy who attended an end of exams party held by the suspect said the teenager was ‘suicidal’ on the night of the abduction.
The school friend requested that screens were removed so he could see the boy in the dock.
The witness, also aged 16, told the court he believed it was an ‘unlucky coincidence’ that the accused was out of the house the night of the murder.
And he attended the boozy party held by the accused, which ended in a row between the boy and his mother .
The child witness said the accused confided in him that he was worried about his mother’s drinking.
The witness recalled: ‘He was face down on his bed.’
‘He said he was depressed and was thinking about doing things to himself – harming himself.’
Around 15 teens had attended the party, which finished before 12.30am, the witness told the court.
He said the accused was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, ‘Hype’ jogging bottoms, and that he put on a black Nike zip-up hoodie after saying he was going out to buy drugs.
When shown a picture of the black Nike hoodie found in a rock pool by a dogwalker, the witness agreed it looked similar.
The witness said he had seen the video showing the accused in a bathroom, where he said ‘I know where the murderer’s been hiding’.
The friend said: ‘At the time I thought it was just a joke, he had a dark sense of humour.’
He recalled that when the youth was first arrested, ‘a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon’.
But he told the court he believed the arrest was just an unlucky ‘coincidence’ of him ‘being out buying weed at a dodgy time’.
Defence brief Brian McConnachie QC showed Snapchat messages to the court.
The accused had written in one message ‘Aye a wee autopsy and they will know exactly what happened’.
When asked whether he thought the accused’s mother had a drinking problem, the witness said: ‘I don’t know – I don’t have an opinion on that.’
Another 16-year-old denied selling the accused cannabis on the night of the murder.
Alesha (left) with Mr MacPhail (centre) and his girlfriend Toni Louise McLachlan (right)
When asked by Iain McSporran QC if he had sold the accused cannabis in the early hours of July 2 at his house, the witness replied: ‘No’.
Mr McSporran asked him about the accused’s physique and if he lifted weights, and the boy said: ‘Yeah he’s in good shape.’
Alesha was reported missing by her grandmother, Angela King, at 6.23am on July 2, and the child’s body was found at the site of an abandoned hotel on the Isle of Bute just before 9am that day.
She was found naked, face down with her legs spread, in an area of woodland.
Witness Zareya MacGillivray, 42, discovered a dark Nike jumper, size XL, when she was walking her dog.
She said it was a ‘youth size’ and told the court: ‘It looked out of place.’
She contacted police fearing it was significant as she knew a 16-year-old had been arrested, but claimed she was told by an officer he ‘didn’t think it was relevant to the case’ but would bag it anyway.
Sergeant Anthony Hannah was called to give evidence, and told the court that the black hoodie was found in a rock pool.
After attending the scene, he took the item back to Rothesay Police Station and ‘discarded of the item in a nearby skip’ as a suspect had been arrested.
He had attended the ‘priority one’ call when Alesha was first reported missing.
Sgt Hannah was asked by defence brief Brian McConnaghie if it was ‘reckless’ to dispose of the hoodie, but denied that it was.
He claimed he had no information of clothing being of ‘outstanding’ significance regarding the case and that the two sets of officers on the island had ‘separate protocols’.
Witness Peter Morrison, 39, a volunteer for the Coastguard, told of finding a knife on the shoreline across the road from the MacPhail family home.
Clothing including men’s boxer shorts and jogging bottoms were also found near the sceneon the Isle of Bute in Scotland, pictured last July – but a police officer admitted he had discarded a hoodie found in the area
On the morning of July 2, the day Alesha was reported missing, Mr Morrison found a kitchen knife on the beach after 7.30am.
He said it was not rusted, and shortly after the discovery the search was called off.
Dogwalker Glyn Williams, 59, was out with his pet when the dog picked up items of ‘compacted clothing’.
Mr Williams said: ‘We were walking along the beach and as we were walking, the dog was picking up an item.
‘It was very tightly compacted clothes and it was on the beach with seaweed all around it.
‘On the Wednesday when we were walking along the water had opened it up a bit and it became more noticeable to be clothing.’
He tipped off police at the MacPhail’s home, and told the court: ‘It looked like boxer shorts with a name on the band – something like Bawbags.’
The trial at the High Court in Glasgow continues.
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