A murder inquiry has been launched following the death of six-year-old schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute, police have confirmed.
The six-year-old, from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, was reported missing on Monday and her body was found in woodland on the site of a former hotel in Ardbeg Road by a member of the public at around 9am the next day.
Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, from Police Scotland, said following the results of a post-mortem examination: “We are treating her death as a murder investigation.”
He added: “Alesha’s family is utterly devastated by what has happened and the news we’ve had to give them.”
Tributes have been paid to the little girl, who was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.
Head teacher Wendy Davie said: “Alesha started with us at Chapelside Primary in August 2016 and had just finished primary two.
“She loved being at school and enjoyed all aspects of literacy, in particular writing. She was such a perfectionist in her handwriting and was very proud of her work.
“Alesha was very friendly and she welcomed everyone first thing in the morning at breakfast club.
“She was a very considerate child who loved being part of a group and she was popular with all the other children, and was a smiley and happy young girl.”
High Road in Ardbeg, near Rothesay, was shut by a police cordon and a floral tribute had been laid near police accident signs.
A separate cordon was set up outside houses on Ardbeg Road and police tape set up at the seafront on the opposite side of the street.
Flowers, teddies and balloons have been left on the pavement with messages attached reading “sleep tight little angel” and “good night little angel”.
A Cinderella toy had a hand-written note which said: “Sleep tight little princess, you’ll never be forgotten.”
Part of the beach front and a shelter opposite the house also remains cordoned off with police tape while cars are being diverted from the end of Ardbeg Road.
A forensic team arrived at the property on Ardbeg Road on Tuesday afternoon.
Four officers in white overalls entered the back garden of the house while another took photographs of the property which is thought to be made up of three flats.
Earlier, locals continued to leave tributes at the scene, including two coastguard officers who laid flowers outside the property.
Anyone with information is asked to call officers at the major investigations teams via 101, quoting incident no 0695 of 2 July 2018.