A 16-year-old boy has been found guilty of abducting, raping and murdering Alesha MacPhail, six, on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year, following a nine-day trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
The jury took less than four hours to return its verdict.
Alesha’s body was found in woods on Bute, hours after she was reported missing from the house her father shared with his parents on the island, where she was staying for part of the school holidays.
The teenager, who can’t be named, had denied abducting, raping and murdering her.
A charge he faced of attempting to hide evidence was dropped by the Crown on Wednesday.
Island community shattered by horrific killing: Click for full coverage
Directing the jury on Thursday, judge Lord Matthews had said that the burden of proof rested with the Crown.
Lord Matthews said: “Sympathy for the accused, Alesha, members of the family or anyone else must play no part in your deliberations nor any preconceptions about the crime.”
He added: “Your duty is to return a true verdict according to the evidence.”
The accused had lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Toni McLachlan, the partner of Alesha’s father, for the schoolgirl’s death.
Giving evidence last Wednesday, Ms McLachlan denied being responsible for Alesha’s death, saying she “loved” the schoolgirl.
She also denied suggestions by the defence that she had sex with the accused on July 2, then planted his semen on Alesha, before “attacking and brutalising her” and murdering her.