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April Jones DNA 'found at Mark Bridger's home'

Mid Wales | News | Published:

Detectives found human skull fragments at the home of Mark Bridger despite efforts by him to carry out an 'extensive clean-up operation', a court heard this afternoon.

Bridger is flanked by guards as he appears before Mold Crown Court

Bridger, who is accused of abducting and murdering five-year-old April Jones, failed to remove vital evidence, the court was told.

Forensic teams found conclusive signs that April's body had been in the house, the court heard.

Opening the case for the prosecution today, Elwen Evans QC, told the jury: "His clean-up and disposal of April's body, despite his best efforts, failed to get rid of all the evidence.

"Traces of blood were found in his home matching April's DNA, the largest concentration in front of the wood burner in his living room."

She said they were also a number of knives including a badly-burned boning knife, adding: "the defendant was an experienced slaughterman who knew how to use knives.

April Jones

"Ashes were found in the log burner and forensic evidence shows some small bone fragments.

"These we say are fragments from a human skull, that of a child."

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Mark Bridger, 47, from Ceinws, Machynlleth, denies the abduction and murder or April and also denies perverting the cause of justice by disposing of, destroying, or concealing her body.

Miss Evans added: "On October 1, April Jones, happy and smiling, was seen getting into the defendant's Land Rover.

"He drove her away and that was the last that anyone, apart from the defendant, saw of her."

April's parents Paul and Coral Jones were among family members listening to evidence in the public gallery at Mold Crown Court today.

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The court heard Bridger had an interest in child pornography and child murders. Police found on his laptop computer indecent images of children, photographs of local girls and even pictures of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the victims of the Soham murder case. The jury of three men and nine women were told police investigating April's disappearance analysed Bridger's laptop computer.

Miss Evans said: "Its content gives an insight into his interests and his mindset.

"It gives a motive for his behaviour towards April."

She said Bridger had been downloading, saving and filing images from the internet.

"This is a man who has a clear interest in child pornography, pictures of local girls and in child murder cases."

She warned the jury that as part of evidence against Bridger, they would be forced to see explicit images taken from the computer.

"We will look at some of the search terms he used on the internet such as 'naked 5-year-old girl' and 'British schoolgirl'," she said.

Miss Evans told the jury that on the day April disappeared he had been viewing cartoon images of child pornography.

When questioned by police he said he had simply wanted to understand the development of a child.

The trial started today with a list of 50 witnesses that are expected to be called to give evidence.

Judge Mr Justice Griffith-Williams said that the trial was likely to last until June 14. The hearing continues.

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