April Jones: Photos of accused’s house revealed

The lounge inside the home of Mark Bridger, in photos released by police as the jury toured locations in the April Jones case. Picture: PA
The lounge inside the home of Mark Bridger, in photos released by police as the jury toured locations in the April Jones case. Picture: PA
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PHOTOGRAPHS showing the inside of a house where traces of schoolgirl April Jones’s blood were found were released yesterday as a jury visited the key locations in the case.

The pictures were taken by police and are of the inside of the cottage where defendant Mark Bridger lived at the time of April’s disappearance.

Bridger, 47, is accused of murdering the five-year-old after he abducted her as she played outside her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on 1 October last year. April’s body has never been found.

Yesterday, the trial jury was taken on a site visit of the main areas of Machynlleth, including Bridger’s former home, Mount Pleasant, in Ceinws.

Following their visit, the court released photographs of the inside of the house, which are part of the prosecution’s evidence in the case.

The prosecution’s case is that traces of the child’s blood were found at various locations in the cottage and bone fragments from a “juvenile skull” were found in the ash of a woodburner.

Bridger denies the charges and instead says that he ran April over in a car accident and then “blanked” out and cannot remember what he did with her body.

The first photograph shows Bridger’s living room and the woodburner in which bone fragments consistent with being from a juvenile skull were found in the ash, the court has heard.

Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, told the jury earlier this week that when police searched Bridger’s house, he had carried out an “extensive clean-up”, but that he failed to get rid of all the evidence.

Traces of blood were found in the living room, hallway and bathroom – and it matched April’s DNA, the court heard.

There was a concentration of blood found around the woodburner in the living room, the jury heard.

Around the woodburner were a number of knives, including a boning knife, which was badly burnt.

The first photograph shows a disorderly living room, with a pair of trousers thrown over a chair, papers and cardboard strewn on the floor and cans of Strongbow cider – which the jury heard Bridger bought with his benefits on the day April went missing – next to the woodburner.

A rifle can also be seen hanging over the fireplace on the stone wall and family photographs hanging on the walls.

The picture shows the cream leather sofa where more traces of April’s blood were found.

There are also photographs of the hallway, a washing machine and the bathroom, where forensic searches found bloodstains in various locations.

The photograph of the bathroom shows pointers, put there by forensics teams, which indicate where the tiny traces of blood were discovered.

Ms Evans said there was a “one in a billion” match to April’s DNA and the defence accepts it was the young girl’s blood.

She said there had been attempts to clean away the bloodstains and that when police entered the house for the first time, there was a “strong smell of detergent, and a smell of cleaning products, air freshener and washed clothes”.

During their site visit, the nine women and three men on the jury were shown Machynlleth Junior School, which April attended, and the nearby Bryn y Gog estate, where she was last seen. They were taken to the area where she was playing with her friend before she disappeared and a set of garages where she was seen climbing into a car.

The jury were accompanied by judge Mr Justice Griffith-Williams, prosecutors led by Elwen Evans QC and the defence team headed by Brendan Kelly QC, as well as court officials.

For the purpose of yesterday’s visit, the area around the jury was deemed the precincts of the court and a police presence was apparent at every stop.

They arrived in the isolated village of Ceinws shortly after 1:05pm, and the jurors were taken into Bridger’s tiny cottage in one group led by the judge.

As they arrived, the group stopped briefly in the front garden, where three bunches of flowers and a pink and white teddy bear had recently been left for April. Following the visit to the house, the jury then went to a lay-by where a witness saw Bridger the morning after April’s disappearance.