Woman denies killing six-year-old Alesha MacPhail

A woman who a murder accused blames for killing a six-year-old girl has told a court she had nothing to do with the crime.

Toni McLachlan, 18, was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow at the trial of a 16-year-old boy accused of raping and murdering schoolgirl Alesha MacPhail.

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies the charges and has lodged a special defence blaming Ms McLachlan, Alesha's father's girlfriend.

Asked if she had anything to do with Alesha's murder, Ms McLachlan replied: "No."

She told the court: "I loved her to pieces."

Schoolgirl Alesha was spending the start of her summer break with her father and grandparents in the house they shared on the Isle of Bute.

The court heard Ms McLachlan and her partner would deal cannabis to the accused, who phoned them in the early hours of the day Alesha was allegedly taken from her bed at her grandparent's house, where the couple also stayed.

Her body was found in woodland on the island hours after she was reported missing last July.

Ms McLachlan said she returned the accused's call when she was woken up to search for Alesha at around half six.

Call logs showed he messaged around 9am that day saying "sorry doesn't matter" with two laughing crying emojis.

The court heard Ms McLachlan asked him to keep an eye out for Alesha since she had gone missing and he replied: "Oh damn am sure she's not went too far."

The accused denies raping and murdering her, and attempting to hide evidence.

The case continues.