April Jones murder accused appears in court
The former lifeguard accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones wept as he appeared in court yesterday.
Mark Bridger cried as he confirmed his name, age and address, and that he understood the charges.
Bridger is accused of abducting and murdering April, and of unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.
There were angry scenes outside Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court as the police van carrying Bridger was punched and kicked while members of the crowd shouted “Scum” and “F****** kill him”.
During the four-minute hearing, Bridger was remanded in custody to appear at Caernarfon Crown Court tomorrow.
The unshaven 46-year-old did not make eye contact with anyone, but answered “yes” when asked if he had understood each charge.
He also confirmed his date of birth as 6 November, 1965, and his Mount Pleasant farmhouse address in the village of Ceinws.
Neither district crown prosecutor Iwan Jenkins, or John Hedgecoe, defending Bridger, were called on to speak during the brief hearing.
April was last seen near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the mid-Wales town of Machynlleth on 1 October. Bridger was arrested the following day, but the search for April’s body goes on.
Superintendent Ian John, who was in court for the hearing, paid tribute to mountain rescue volunteers “who have worked themselves to a standstill in the search for April”.
Mr John, who has led the search for the missing schoolgirl, said: “We are upping our numbers to 18 teams which will be over 100 officers.”
The five-year-old was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery. Her parents Coral Jones, 40, and Paul, 44, had allowed her to play out late as a treat after she received a glowing school report that day at a parents’ evening which Bridger also attended.
Bridger was arrested last Tuesday and was charged on Saturday.
The case sparked an outpouring of support for April’s parents, with hundreds of people joining in the search and offering their assistance.
Last night, well-wishers lit candles and released Chinese lanterns after the little girl’s parents asked for her to be remembered, one week on from her disappearance.
It is believed Coral Jones, 40, and husband Paul, 44, released their own Chinese lantern from their garden in Machynlleth in a private remembrance, several hours after the five-year-old’s alleged killer was remanded by magistrates.
More than 700 people packed into Machynlleth’s St Peter’s Church to attend an emotional service on Sunday.
The Reverend Kathleen
Rogers said prayers for April’s parents and paid tribute to the community, which had pulled together to help in the search.
She read a poem on behalf of April’s mother called Mum, as the Bishop of Bangor, the Reverend Andy John, said the tight-knit community had “touched the heart of people around the world”.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east