A POLICE officer admitted he threw away a black Nike hoodie after thinking it was not relevant to the Alesha MacPhail murder investigation, a court has heard.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies raping and murdering the girl, as well as charges of child abduction and defeating the ends of justice.

Alesha was reported missing by her grandmother, Angela King, at 6.23am on July 2, and the child’s body was found at the site of an abandoned hotel on the Isle of Bute just before 9am that day.

She was found naked, face down with her legs spread, in an area of woodland.

READ MORE: Alesha MacPhail - Mum of 16-year-old accused of raping and killing girl refuses to watch his trial continue

Witness Zareya MacGillivray, 42, discovered a dark Nike jumper, size XL, when she was walking her dog.

She said it was a ‘youth size’ and told the court: “It looked out of place.”

She contacted police fearing it was significant as she knew a 16-year-old had been arrested, but claimed she was told by an officer he ‘didn’t think it was relevant to the case’ but would bag it anyway.

Sergeant Anthony Hannah was called to give evidence, and told the court that the black hoodie was found in a rock pool.

After attending the scene, he took the item back to Rothesay Police Station and “discarded of the item in a nearby skip” as a suspect had been arrested.

He had attended the ‘priority one’ call when Alesha was first reported missing.

READ MORE: Glasgow pathologist who examined Alesha MacPhail's body said she had 117 injuries on her body

Sgt Hannah was asked by defence brief Brian McConnaghie if it was “reckless” to dispose of the hoodie, but denied that it was.

He claimed he had no information of clothing being of “outstanding” significance regarding the case and that the two sets of officers on the island had “separate protocols”.

Witness Peter Morrison, 39, a volunteer for the Coastguard, told of finding a knife on the shoreline across the road from the MacPhail family home.

On the morning of July 2, the day Alesha was reported missing, Mr Morrison found a kitchen knife on the beach after 7.30am.

He said it was not rusted, and shortly after the discovery the search was called off.

Dogwalker Glyn Williams, 59, was out with his pet when the dog picked up items of “compacted clothing”.

READ MORE: Alesha MacPhail - Father’s girlfriend denies having sex with accused on night of murder

Mr Williams said: “We were walking along the beach and as we were walking, the dog was picking up an item.

“It was very tightly compacted clothes and it was on the beach with seaweed all around it.

“On the Wednesday when we were walking along the water had opened it up a bit and it became more noticeable to be clothing.”

He tipped off police at the MacPhail’s home, and told the court: “It looked like boxer shorts with a name on the band - something like Bawbags.”

The trial at the High Court in Glasgow continues.

Read more of today's top Glasgow stories