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The body of Alesha MacPhail was discovered in the grounds of a former hotel on 2 July last year

A woman named by a murder accused as the person who killed six-year-old Alesha MacPhail has denied being involved in her death.

Toni McLachlan was giving evidence during the trial of a 16-year-old boy, who denies abducting, raping and murdering Alesha last July.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, has claimed it was Ms McLachlan who killed Alesha.

But Ms McLachlan told the court that she loved the little girl “to pieces”.

Alesha’s naked body was found in the grounds of a former hotel in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute on the morning of 2 July last year.

Giving evidence from behind a screen at the High Court in Glasgow, 18-year-old Ms McLachlan said she had been dating Alesha’s father Robert MacPhail for about two years.

At the time of the murder she was living with Mr MacPhail’s parents in a three-bedroom flat on Ardbeg Road, Rothesay.

Alesha was only days into a three-week summer break on the island when she was killed.

Ms McLachlan said she only learned on Monday, on the opening day of the trial, that she had been implicated by the accused.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC asked the witness: “Did you have anything to do with the murder of Alesha MacPhail?”

She replied: “No.”

Ms McLachlan also told the court she dealt cannabis with Mr MacPhail and had supplied the drug to the accused and his sister.

The trial continues.

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