A 16-year-old boy has this afternoon been charged in connection with the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.
The schoolgirl was staying with relatives on the island when she was reported missing in the early hours of Monday. Her body was found in woodland near her grandmother’s home in Rothesay hours later.
The youth remains in custody and is expected to appear at Greenock Sheriff Court tomorrow.
Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Alesha’s family who have shown incredible bravery through what has been an unimaginable ordeal during these past few days.
“I’d also like to thank local people for all their support and assistance during this major investigation on the island. The response to our appeals was significant both from those living here and the wider community of Scotland.
“The people of the Isle of Bute have rallied together since Alesha was first reported missing on Monday morning and I would stress that social media speculation relating to members of the community is both misleading and inaccurate.
“The family has also received considerable support from Alesha’s home town of Airdrie which was reflected in the memorial service held at her school.
“Officers and staff from across Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority have been involved in what has been a difficult and challenging investigation during which they have worked tirelessly to bring us to where we are today.
“As I have said previously, incidents such as this are extremely rare and while the police investigation will continue, I hope that today’s announcement brings some reassurance to everyone in the local community.
“It is understandable that recent events will have shocked communities across Scotland, no more so than on Bute and in Airdrie. Argyll and Bute and North Lanarkshire councils have services available for those who may have been affected.
“We are aware that there may be children, parents and carers who have concerns following the tragic events. Children 1st run ParentLine Scotland, which is available to provide early help, practical and emotional support and information for all families across Scotland. Any adult concerned about a child or young person can call 08000 28 22 33 or visit https://www.children1st.org.uk/help-for-families/parentline-scotland/”