Tranquillity of Bute shattered after Alesha MacPhail's murder

Ian Woods, senior news correspondent

An unusually extended spell of hot sunny weather and the start of the Scottish school holidays should be a perfect combination for the Isle of Bute.

It is a favoured destination for those in the greater Glasgow area, only a 90-minute drive and ferry ride away.

Alesha MacPhail was a regular visitor.

Her father Rab is from the island and having separated from Alesha's mother Genie Lochrane, he regularly brought the little girl to stay with his parents.

Now, the tranquillity of Bute has been shattered.

:: Man arrested over murder of Alesha on Isle of Bute

Alesha's body was found in woodland less than a mile away from her grandmother's home, and less than three hours after her grandmother first raised the alarm with a Facebook post.

Among those who joined the search on Monday were a group of builders who had just arrived on the ferry.

They have been working on a construction project for the past six months and the site foreman asked them to lend a hand.

Peter Frey told Sky News: "When the news spread everybody seemed to get up and start running about. People were waking up and going to work and realising what had happened.

"We wouldn't have known anything at all unless the site manager said 'search the building'. We've got kids as well, so we were all saying, right, let's go find this wee one."

But their search was brief.

Stevie McCowan explained: "A wee bit later we got word the body had been found. We were still hoping for the best and she'd be found alive, and then we found out she was dead.

"It just shocked everybody. It's horrible... disgusting."

This morning the men lay flowers to remember Alesha. Few islanders are willing to talk about the tragedy to the media.

It is a tight-knit community and the MacPhail family are well known and respected.

A representative of the local tourist industry refused to comment.

The island's community radio station played music that seemed to capture the mood. REM's Everybody Hurts, and Arms Of The Angel by Sarah McLachlan were on the morning playlist, accompanied by regular reminders that a local church was open for quiet contemplation.

The minister Owain Jones is Welsh but has lived on Bute for seven years. He tried to articulate the community's sense of shock.

"This is such a safe place and you can take the safety for granted. It's not a remote island. It's an hour-and-a-half to Glasgow but it's probably the safest place in the central belt," he said.

"It's a lovely, lovely place, a good community where people know each other... we have no context for it, we are stunned."

Dozens of extra officers have been sent from the mainland to bolster a small local contingent who have never had to deal with a murder inquiry.

Some are simply patrolling to provide a highly visible reassurance to the community.