A murder trial has heard a knife was found on the shore opposite the home where the six-year-old victim was allegedly taken from.
Alesha MacPhail had been staying in the house her father shared with her grandparents on the Isle of Bute when she was reported missing shortly after 6am on July 2 last year.
Her body was found hours later in a wooded area on the island.
Coastguard volunteer Peter Morrison, 39, from Rothesay, told the High Court in Glasgow he was called out to carry out a shoreline search at 6.55am.
Opposite the house where Alesha had been staying, he found “what looked like a kitchen knife”.
Mr Morrison said he did not touch the knife – which he believed had been in the sea and left onshore by the receding tide – but noted its location before continuing to search for Alesha.
He later told police who cordoned off the area.
The court also heard from Police Sergeant Anthony Hannah, who said he arranged for photos to be taken and for the recovery of the knife.
He also said he threw a separate item of evidence in a skip believing it was not relevant to the murder inquiry.
Mr Hannah said the black hooded top, found by a dog walker on the beach, was later retrieved on the instruction of detectives.
A 16-year old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies abducting the schoolgirl from the home her grandparents shared with her father on the Isle of Bute, raping and murdering her and attempting to hide evidence.
The teenager has lodged a special defence blaming Toni McLachlan – the girlfriend of Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail – for the killing.
The trial, before judge Lord Matthews, continues.