A 16-year-old boy has been found guilty of abducting, raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.
A jury at the High Court in Glasgow took three hours to find the teenager, who cannot be named due to his age, guilty unanimously, following a nine-day trial.
Alesha’s body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year, hours after she was reported missing from the house her father shared with his parents and partner on the island, where the schoolgirl was staying for part of the school holidays.
Judge Lord Matthews told the boy he had committed some of the “wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard”.
He deferred sentence until March 21.
As the accused was led downstairs a man in the public gallery shouted “evil” and another said “f***ing scumbag”.
In a statement issued by Police Scotland following the verdict, Alesha’s family said: “We can’t believe that we will never see our wee angel Alesha again. We miss her so much.
“We hope that the boy who took her from us is jailed for a long time because of what he has done to our family.
“Alesha may be gone from our lives but she will always be in our hearts.”
Her mother, Georgina Lochrane, said: “Words cannot express just how devastated I am to have lost my beautiful, happy, smiley wee girl.
“I am glad that the boy who did this has finally been brought to justice and that he will not be able to inflict the pain on another family that he has done to mine.
“Alesha, I love you so much, my wee pal. I will miss you forever.”
Pathologist John Williams told the court Alesha had 117 separate injuries, and a post-mortem examination he conducted indicated she had died from “significant and forceful pressure to her neck and face”.
He agreed the injuries to her private parts were “catastrophic” – more severe than any he had ever seen before – and were at least partially inflicted while she was still alive.
Giving evidence, the accused said he had “never met Alesha MacPhail in person” and denied abducting, raping and murdering her.
Asked if he “brutalised” her, he said: “It’s not me, absolutely not. I would never do something like that.”
Questioned if his “DNA is all over her” because he murdered and raped her, he said: “No.”
A forensic scientist told the court DNA matching the accused was found on Alesha’s body and clothes, with some samples at odds of a billion to one of being his.
The teenager had lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Toni McLachlan, the partner of Alesha’s father Robert, or Rab, MacPhail for Alesha’s death.
The court heard the couple used to sell cannabis to the accused.
Giving evidence earlier, Ms McLachlan denied being responsible for the schoolgirl’s death, saying she “loved” her.