April Jones accused Mark Bridger 'looked at child porn' - live court updates

Mark Bridger looked at images of child pornography in the hours before he allegedly snatched April Jones, a court has heard. 

Mark Bridger, right, denies abducting and murdering April Jones
Mark Bridger, right, denies abducting and murdering April Jones

April Jones went missing near her home in Machynlleth on October 1 last year.

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 October 1 last year. April's body has never been found.

On the second day of opening the case for the prosecution, Elwen Evans QC took the jury through images of young girls contained in folders on Bridger's Acer laptop.

The folders, given names including X0 and X5, contained photographs of local young girls which he downloaded from Facebook, as well as some obscene content. 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.

Live updates from the murder trial:

She also showed the jury a number of internet searches the prosecution says were conducted on Bridger's laptop. They included "British girl murdered in France", "ten year old girls naked", and "pictures of ten year old girls".  The prosecution's case is that April's murder was "sexually motivated".

Bridger, of Ceinws, denies abducting and murdering April and unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice. He accepts he "probably killed" April in a car accident, but will say he "blanked out" afterwards and cannot remember what he did with her body.

The jury was also shown a series of text messages sent and received by the defendant on that day. A number were exchanged between Bridger and his ex-girlfriend Vicky Fenner and related to the break-up.

The first message from Fenner at 7.38am said "good bye" and "try to be happy but I just can't do it. Sorry I can't do it and maybe I'll see you around". Bridger responded: "You were my life babe. My everything. I am still in love with you for what it's worth."

A series of texts are then exchanged in which Ms Fenner says she does not want anything from the house and that she does love the defendant but that she cannot carry on.  Bridger responds: "So there's nothing left at all worth fighting for?'' He than asks for assurances that "it's over for good'' and that she is "sure''.

She replies: "I have said what I needed to say ok. Goodbye. This time find the right woman for you. See you around. I'll miss you. Take care. Love Vicky."

On the opening day of the case yesterday,  the jury was told that Bridger meticulously disposed of April's body while the frantic search for her started.

Bridger was betrayed by small fragments of skull and traces of blood that were found in and around a log burner, the court was told.

Smoke was spotted coming from the chimney of his home by officers travelling in a police helicopter.

The blood and bone contained DNA that matched that of the five-year-old, Mold Crown Court was told.

The jury was played the desperate 999 made by the mother of April, who disappeared while playing on a bike outside her home in Mid Wales.

A distraught Coral Jones, from Machynlleth is heard telling the police control: “My daughter has been kidnapped, my daughter has been kidnapped,” before handing the phone to a friend Val Jones and going to look for her.

She returns and can be heard in extreme distress in the background of the call.

The jury of three men and nine women heard details of how April’s body has never been found.

Blood and fragments of bone from a child’s skull were found by forensic officers searching Bridger’s home three miles from Machynlleth, Miss Elwen Evans prosecuting, said.

Miss Evans said the 999 call to police at 7.29pm on October 1 was made after a young witness told the family that April had climbed into a large grey car or van, smiling and happy.

Bridger, who admits that he caused April’s death told police, that he ran over April in his Land Rover, put her in his car and drove around Machynlleth with her.

Miss Evans told the court: “He said he put her in the car and was going to get her medical help. She was not bleeding. Then, driving around Machynlleth he lost all memory.”

The court heard CCTV in Machynlleth showed Bridger’s Land Rover emerging from the back road from the estate by the town’s war memorial. It then turned in the direction of Bridger’s home. Bridger told police he ran over April and put her in his car to seek medical help, Miss Evans said.

She added: “However he did not go out onto the main road but the back road the opposite way to the local hospital and the opposite way to Aberystwyth where the accident and emergency department is.”

The search for April began immediately, Miss Evans said.

“April hasn’t been found neither has her clothing, a white T-shirt, black trousers and a purple coat.”

“It looks as though the clothing that the defendant was wearing has disappeared. Searching had been carried out by an extraordinary army of searchers extended over some 30 square kilometres. Many areas have been searched many times and in different ways. Nothing of relevance have been found anywhere except at the defendant’s home, in spite of the defendant’s clean up.”

She said in photographic footage from a helicopter that flew over the area during the search smoke can clearly be seen coming from the chimney of Bridger’s home.

“He accepts that he must have got rid of her body, where or how he does not know, he can not remember. He believed he had put her somewhere out of the rain. He told police he did not take her to his home and did not sexually abuse her.”

“The prosecution case is that Mark Bridger abducted April he murdered her. The defendant’s action, the abduction, murder, covering up what he had done by disposing of the body, were sexually motivated.

“He knows full well what he has done to April but chooses not to say. If April’s body had been found it would have told its own story.

“He deliberately took steps to dispose of her. He has played a cruel game and pretended not to know what he had done to her. It is a game to try to save himself and manipulate his way out of his full responsibility for what he has done.”