Memorial to murdered girl Alesha MacPhail unveiled on Bute
A memorial to a six-year-old girl murdered after being taken from her grandparents’ home has been unveiled on the island where she died.
Organisers said Alesha MacPhail’s family members attended the unveiling of the memorial bench at an area known as children’s corner at the beach in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute.
They hope the pink bench – Alesha’s favourite colour – will give her family and others somewhere to remember her at a place where she liked to play.
The primary pupil had recently arrived for a summer holiday stay with her grandparents and father in Rothesay last July when she was snatched from her bed by teenager Aaron Campbell, who raped and murdered her.
The Isle of Bute Resilience Team raised almost £2,000 for the specially-commissioned bench, which features Alesha’s name, two unicorns and a memorial plaque reading “donated by caring people far and wide”.
A ceremony was held on Saturday morning, with bubble machines, balloons and a piper to mark installation of the memorial.
Fiona Gillespie, secretary and trustee of the resilience team, said they were called out to help on the morning when Alesha was reported missing.
“It’s very close to our hearts,” she said. “Alesha liked unicorns and sparkle, and that’s all we wanted for the bench.”
She added: “We wanted somewhere nice for the family to go and remember her. It was a happy place.
“Her gran told me she used to love going her bike down there and loved the children’s area. She was a lovely girl. She had a beautiful wee affectionate smile.”
Campbell, 17, was handed a life sentence with a minimum of 27 years following a nine-day trial at the High Court in Glasgow earlier this year.
He has been granted leave to appeal against the length of the minimum punishment part.
During the case, judge Lord Matthews described Campbell as “calculating and remorseless”, and warned he may never be released from prison.