ALESHA MacPhail’s father admitted he used to sell cannabis to the teen accused of killing his daughter - who was messaging him asking for drugs in the early hours of the day she was abducted.

Robert MacPhail gave evidence at the murder trial in Glasgow, and told a jury he had split up with Alesha’s mother, Georgina, three months after their daughter was born.

Mr MacPhail said the little girl had been enjoying a summer holiday with her grandparents on Rothesay and had attended a party in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, before returning to the island.

He told the court he knew the 16-year-old accused of killing his daughter, and said he used to sell the accused cannabis - until the lad’s mother asked him not to.

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The teen would message him through Facebook before the handover took place at a bus shelter across the road from the MacPhail family home, the court heard.

A series of messages were sent by the accused to Mr MacPhail at around 1.39am, which the dad said he was not aware of until later in the day.

Evening Times: Robert MacPhail, father of Alesha MacPhail, outside the High Court in Glasgow

Messages from the accused’s Facebook account, and his sister’s, asked for cannabis on the night Alesha was abducted from her grandparents’ flat, where Mr MacPhail also lived, the court heard.

Mr MacPhail said the teen had never been in the house but might have been at the front door of the flat.

He said his daughter had got out of bed during the night, and he had taken her back to bed and told her he would see her in the morning.

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He recalled the moment he realised she was missing and said he had searched the taxi rank and ferry port with his girlfriend, Toni-Louise McLachlan, who he started dating when she was aged 16.

Mr MacPhail’s parents Angela and Callum MacPhail had come into the room where he and his partner were sleeping, asking if Alesha was with them.

His mother posted a message on Facebook asking for information, while Alesha’s dad and his girlfriend went out on foot.

The search came to an end when they saw an ambulance, where Alesha’s grandparents were waiting.

Evening Times:
Robert MacPhail, father of Alesha MacPhail, outside the High Court in Glasgow

Police refused to tell them anything and escorted them to a police station, the grieving dad recalled.

Mr MacPhail said: “He sent messages from his Facebook account and he tried to call me.

“There was messages from him and his sister’s accounts that night.”

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Asked if he received the messages while awake, sent around 1:39am on July 2 last year, Mr MacPhail replied: “No, I wasn’t aware of getting them at that time.”

Mr McSporran said: “Why would he contact you?”

Mr MacPhail said: “He wanted cannabis.”

He admitted having sold cannabis to the accused’s sister, but said he stopped selling drugs to the teenage boy three months earlier after intervention from the lad’s mother.

Under cross-examination, Brian McConnachie QC told the court the pair had split between March and September 2017.

When asked about reports by a neighbour of domestic abuse occurring between him and his girlfriend, Mr MacPhail strongly refuted the claim.

Mr MacPhail, who told the court he met Toni when she was 16 and got back together with her six weeks before his daughter’s death, said: “We were arguing all the time.

“But there wasn’t any abuse.”

He said Alesha was only allowed out by herself to play on a trampoline in the garden.