April Jones: 'Blood Found At Bridger's Home'

April Jones: 'Blood Found At Bridger's Home'

Blood and bone fragments were found at the home of the man accused of murdering April Jones, a court has heard.

Prosecutors in the trial of Mark Bridger said he admits he "probably killed" the five-year-old but cannot remember how.

Bridger claims he ran over April before putting her body in his car. But he says he cannot remember what happened next because of "a combination of drink, adrenalin and raw panic".

The 47-year-old is on trial at Mold Crown Court accused of abducting and murdering the five-year-old and then playing a "cruel game" in an attempt to cover his tracks.

The prosecution claims his actions were sexually motivated, and that he had "a clear interest" in child pornography, murder and rape cases.

On the day April was abducted, he had viewed a pornographic cartoon image of a girl being restrained and raped, the court heard.

Images of April, her two half-sisters aged 13 and 16 at the time, and other local girls were also found on his laptop.

April vanished while playing on her bike near her home in Machynlleth, in Powys, Mid Wales, on October 1 last year. Her body and clothes have never been found.

Bridger, of Ceinws, denies abducting and murdering April, and unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.

The disappearance of April, who had cerebral palsy, sparked a massive outpouring of support for her family, with hundreds of people joining the search.

Outlining the case for the prosecution, Elwen Evans QC said April's blood was found in the living room and hallway of Bridger's home, as well as a boning knife and fragments of burnt bone which experts said could have come from a child's skull.

The jury was shown a photo of the cottage where Bridger lived - and where the blood, matching April's DNA was discovered.

"This is the house where the blood, the bone fragments were found. That cottage is three miles from Machynlleth, called Mount Pleasant, and situated very close above the river there," the prosecutor said.

When police searched Bridger's house, he had carried out "an extensive clean up", but failed to get rid of all the evidence, Miss Evans said.

Jurors were also shown maps and photos of where April lived ahead of a site visit later in the week.

Miss Evans told the jury that April was seen by a friend getting into Bridger's Land Rover after talking to him and that she was smiling at the time. He claims he intended to take her for medical help after running her over, but instead just drove her around.

She said: "It's the defendant's case that he admits that he drove her away. He admits that April is dead. He accepts that he killed her or probably killed her. He accepts that he must have got rid of her body."

But Miss Evans said Bridger has not told police where the body is, claiming he cannot remember.

"He has played, we say, a cruel game in pretending not to know what he has done to her," she added.

Bridger, wearing a light-blue, short-sleeved shirt and striped tie, sat staring ahead as he listened to the evidence. He wore headphones to help him hear the proceedings.

He wiped tears from his eyes and took deep breaths as the court was played a harrowing 999 call made by April's mother Coral Jones, pleading with the police for help.

Mrs Jones could be heard saying: "Please ... please my daughter has been kidnapped ... my daughter."

The call was then taken over by a neighbour, Valerie Jones, who said: "Apparently what happened ... she has gone off in a car with somebody. Somebody has picked her up in a car or something. I have not seen anything, I have just been told."

She then told the police operator that April was taken in a "big grey car that a man was driving", and that April's mother, father and a neighbour were out looking for her.

The operator then asked to speak to Coral again and there were a series of long pauses in which people could be heard crying and hyperventilating in a state of distress.

The jury was also shown some images found on Bridger's laptop and warned that some of the material was "very unpleasant".

A file marked 'Z0' contained a photo of murdered Soham schoolgirl Holly Wells, one of Caroline Dickinson, the British schoolgirl murdered in France, and two further child murder victims from the US and Turkey.

Cartoon pornographic images were also shown depicting bound and gagged youngsters being sexually abused.

The court also heard that Bridger's claim to have had a career in the Armed Forces was "a lie, a fantasy".

"Military records have of course been checked. His account of any career in the army, in the forces, was a lie and a fantasy. He just never served in the Army," Miss Evans added.

Bridger worked in an abattoir between 2009 and 2012 but more recently, at the time of April's disappearance, he was working at a local guest house.

During her opening speech to the jury, Miss Evans also said: "April's body is lost to us. We have had to look elsewhere for evidence of what this defendant did to her."

She said analysis of Bridger's computer use showed "context and motive" for his behaviour towards April.

"In addition to child pornography and photos of young girls, the defendant also had an interest in child murder and rape cases; for example, images of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman from the Soham case."

Miss Evans added: "Why will you need to consider this sort of material?

"You will have to decide whether pretty five-year-old April was abducted and murdered or run over by accident and killed, as the defendant says.

"We say his interest in pornography, young girls, rape and murder cases is all too relevant and you may see it as the key to understanding what he did and why he did what he did."

The trial continues.