THE man accused of murdering April Jones seemed “upset and teary eyed” when he discussed her disappearance the morning after she was allegedly snatched, a court heard today.
• Mark Bridger took his car to a garage for repairs and told staff he wanted to help with the search
• Bridger denies abducting and murdering April
Mark Bridger, 47, took his car to a garage for repairs and told staff he wanted to help with the search, Mold Crown Court was told.
Former slaughterhouse worker Bridger denies abducting and murdering five-year-old April as she played near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on the evening of October 1 last year.
In evidence to his trial today, Sophy Zlajic, an office clerk at Dyfi Autocraft near Machynlleth, said Bridger, from Ceinws, took his Land Rover 4x4 into the garage at 9.30am the following day.
In a statement read to the jury by Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, she said she recognised the car and Bridger as it had been in two weeks earlier for an MOT.
“The car was making a grinding noise and I thought to myself that it didn’t sound good,” Ms Zlajic said.
After he got out of his vehicle, she said he told her: “I’ve just heard. I haven’t got a TV or radio up there.”
She said: “I believed he was talking about the missing girl.
“He looked very upset and was teary eyed when he said it.
“But he didn’t mention April by name.”
She added that Bridger also commented that it was “not the best time” for his car to break down as “he could use it to help”.
The witness said: “I took it to mean the search for April.
“Again he looked upset when he said this.
“As a community, we were all upset but he appeared visibly upset, on the verge of crying.
“He also said something like, ‘my children used to play with her’.”
John Rowlands, a mechanic in the same garage, said in his statement that Bridger: “Appeared nervous and edgy.
“He kept looking around him and seemed on edge.
“I thought nothing of it at the time.”
The prosecution claims Bridger snatched and murdered April, who had cerebral palsy, in a sexually motivated attack.
Her body was never found despite the largest search operation ever staged by British police.
The defendant says he “probably” killed her when he accidentally knocked her down in his car but cannot remember what he did with her body because he was drunk.
THE TRIAL SO FAR: