April murder accused ‘made up a story’ court hears

April Jones. Picture: PA
April Jones. Picture: PA
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THE former abattoir worker ­accused of murdering schoolgirl April Jones made up a “story” that he had killed her in a car ­accident in a bid to “explain away” his role in the killing, a court heard yesterday.

Mark Bridger, 47, denies murdering the five-year-old after abducting her as she played outside her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on 1 October last year. Her body has never been found.

On the second day of the prosecution case, Elwen Evans QC told the jury of Bridger’s ­explanation when he was arrested on 2 October, which included him wanting to “say sorry” to April’s family.

Mold Crown Court heard he was seen carrying a “black bin bag” as he walked in a field close to his house the morning after April went missing, and how he denied to police that he had a “sexual interest” in children.

He admitted he had an interest in child murder cases, which saw him research the James Bulger case and Ted Bundy, the American serial killer.

Miss Evans said Bridger told arresting officers: “It was an accident. I crushed her with the car. I don’t know where she is.”

Miss Evans added that Bridger carried on telling police officers his story as he was being driven to Aberystwyth Police Station.

He claimed he had been searching for April “all night on foot” because he could not ­remember what he had done with her.

“I didn’t abduct her. I did my best to revive her. I panicked,” he said.

He continued: “I just wish I knew what I had done with her, where I have put her.

“I need to say sorry to her family. I can’t believe I didn’t just call an ambulance, or the police.

“My intention was to head to the hospital. There was no life in her. No pulse. No breath. No response in her eyes. She was just on the seat. I tried to revive her.”

He said: “I wouldn’t have dumped her. She is a human being. I wouldn’t have done that.”

He went on to say: “I just want to know what I have done.”

Bridger said when he saw April “under his car”, “she had gone a funny colour” and “was only a little thing”.

Miss Evans said Bridger’s account was a “lie” and added: “He was now coming up with a story to try and explain away April’s disappearance and his role in that.”

Miss Evans showed the jury forensic analysis images of Bridger’s clothing, car and home.

Pointing to the car photographs, she said: “There is no evidence of a road collision, no evidence of blood here, torn fabric, or indication April Jones had been hit or run over.”

Inside Bridger’s house, however, bloodstains and fragments of bone were found, Miss Evans said.

The court heard that three witnesses saw Bridger carrying a black bin bag in a field near his home the morning after April’s disappearance.

Miss Evans said: “We ask you, what was Mark Bridger doing at that location? What was in that black bin bag?”

The court heard that the land around that area was excavated but no trace of April was found.

Bridger later claimed he was in the field because he had to stop to “go for a wee”.

Miss Evans told the court that traces of April’s DNA were found on Bridger’s tracksuit bottoms. 
She said: “This is a man, we say, who is forensically aware. He knew how important it was from his point of view to try and get rid of any forensic scientific evidence linking him to April.”

Earlier, the jury was told that on the afternoon before April disappeared, the defendant viewed a pornographic cartoon of a young girl gagged and restrained as she was being raped, Miss Evans said.

He also looked at various other indecent images of children and carried out searches on Facebook for pictures of local young girls.

Forensic searches found blood stains in various locations in Bridger’s house, including on the hallway carpet, a washing machine in the bathroom and in the living room.

Miss Evans said there was a “one in a billion” match to April’s DNA and the defence accepted it was her blood.

Bridger denied he had a “sexual interest” in children and said his interest in child murder cases was not restricted to females, adding that he had researched the James Bulger case.

The trial continues.