Partner of Alesha MacPhail's dad felt threatened by her, court told
20 February 2019, 12:24
A woman who a teenager accused of murder blames for the death of a six-year-old girl felt "jealous and threatened" by her, a court has heard.
However, the High Court in Glasgow also heard Toni McLachlan was said to "love" Alesha MacPhail and be "really good" to her.
A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies abducting, raping and murdering Alesha.
A charge he faced of attempting to hide evidence was dropped by the Crown on Wednesday.
The schoolgirl's body was found in woods on the Isle of Bute on July 2 last year hours after she was reported missing from the home her father shared with his parents on the island.
The accused has lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Ms McLachlan, the partner of Alesha's father Robert MacPhail.
Witness Lynsey Calderwood, 20, told the court she was good friends with Ms McLachlan when Alesha went missing.
Questioned about Ms McLachlan's relationship with the schoolgirl, Ms Calderwood said: "They were happy, they got on really well. Toni was really good to her and they both liked each other."
A statement she gave to police on July 5 said: "I always felt Toni was jealous and she felt threatened of the time and attention Rab (Robert MacPhail) gave to Alesha."
The witness told the court Ms McLachlan was a "wee bit jealous" but not "really jealous" of Alesha.
She also said that the day after Alesha went missing Toni said something to her along the lines of "she's in a better place", which she thought was odd.
Her police statement had Ms McLachlan saying "something like 'It's for the best'".
Ms Calderwood said her friend had definitely said "she's in a better place".
Giving evidence last Wednesday, Ms McLachlan denied being responsible for Alesha's death, saying she "loved" Alesha.
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 case continues.