A 16-year old boy has been found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of 6-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was on trial at the High Court in Glasgow where he denied the charges.

Judge Lord Matthews told the boy he had committed some of the "wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard".

He deferred sentence until March 21.

As the accused was led downstairs, a man in the public gallery shouted "evil" and another said "fu**ing scumbag".

In a statement issued via police, Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane said: "Words cannot express just how devastated I am to have lost my beautiful, happy, smiley wee girl.

"I am glad that the boy who did this has finally been brought to justice and that he will not be able to inflict the pain on another family that he has done to mine.

"Alesha, I love you so much, my wee pal. I will miss you forever."

The MacPhail family said: "We can't believe that we will never see our wee angel Alesha again. We miss her so much.

"We hope that the boy who took her from us is jailed for a long time because of what he has done to our family.

"Alesha may be gone from our lives but she will always be in our hearts."

Advocate Depute Iain McSporran, who led the prosecution, said that to have a child taken in the "bestial manner" in which Alesha lost her life was "infathomable".

He read excerpts from a victim impact statement which said her mother suffered nightmares about what had been done to her daughter and her father had experienced "insufferable pain".

Members of the jury were offered a counselling service and were told they did not have to sit on a case again in future if they did not wish to.

Alesha MacPhail's body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year, hours after she was reported missing from the house her father shared with his parents on the island, where she was staying for part of the school holidays.

The accused denied abducting, raping and murdering Alesha.

A charge he faced of attempting to hide evidence was dropped by the Crown on Wednesday.

Directing the jury on Thursday, judge Lord Matthews said that the burden of proof rests with the Crown.

Lord Matthews said: "Sympathy for the accused, Alesha, members of the family or anyone else must play no part in your deliberations nor any preconceptions about the crime."

He added: "Your duty is to return a true verdict according to the evidence."

The accused has lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Toni McLachlan, the partner of Alesha's father, for the schoolgirl's death.

Giving evidence last Wednesday, McLachlan denied being responsible for Alesha's death, saying she "loved" the schoolgirl.

She also denied suggestions by the defence that she had sex with the accused on July 2, then planted his semen on Alesha, before "attacking and brutalising her" and murdering her.

The jury retired to consider its verdict on Thursday morning, the ninth day of the trial.

More to follow.