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Mark Bridger: Interview tapes reveal April killer's lies

By Dominic Robertson | Mid Wales | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Harrowing police interview tapes with the killer of five-year-old April Jones have been made public for the first time.

Mark Bridger leaves Mold Crown Court after he was given a whole life sentence for the abduction and murder of schoolgirl April Jones. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 30, 2013. See PA story COURTS April. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

In clips played on a Channel Five documentary, Mark Bridger, who was jailed for life for April's murder in 2013, can be heard lying to police about what he had done.

Five-year-old April went missing in Machynlleth on the evening of October 1, 2012. She had been riding her bike with her friend on the Bryn y Gog estate near her home when she was seen getting into Bridger's left-hand-drive 4x4 'happy and smiling'.

Within minutes her abduction had been reported to the police and the community of Machynlleth had sprung into a huge community-led search for the five-year-old.

April Jones

Over the following days police carried out the biggest search operation in UK history, with even the Prime Minister David Cameron appealing for information to help find April.

Tragically she was never found and five days after her disappearance, Bridger, who was 46, was charged with her abduction and murder.

He was convicted of the crimes by a jury at Mold Crown Court in 2013.

In a tape heard for the first time Bridger, a former abattoir worker, can be heard admitting he had killed April, but insisting it was an accident.

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Mark Bridger

The urgent interview lasted 27 minutes and by its end police had severe doubts over his story, in which he claimed he had accidentally run over April, had put her in his car but could not remember what he had done with her body.

In a chilling response he says: "The next moment I am in my house and she is not there."

During the tape he says: "I had a few to drink and there was two girls on their bikes, I remember the dark headed girl came behind the car, I looked to see where the other girl was and I could not see. It was like a little girl and the next moment the bike was there.

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"I started the car up, as I went to pull away there was not a thud, I cannot understand it but the car rose up. I opened the car, walked round and underneath the front of the car is now I know to be April, she was only little."

Police footage of Mark Bridger with his dog in Ceinws, during the search for April Jones.

Police forensic teams said that the lack of forensic evidence from Bridger's description of what happened cast severe doubt on his story.

In subsequent interviews DC Alice Thomas tells Bridger; "What you're telling us didn't quite happen."

He replies: "It happened exactly as I'm telling you."

"I did not abduct April."

April's parents, Paul and Coral Jones.

DS Andy John, senior investigating officer at the time said they doubted Bridger's story and sincerity.

He said: "He was visibly crying, there were these tear drops dropping onto the paper, almost the size of a 10p piece and then he would look up at you and there was nothing. No indication he was crying at all."

During police searches of Bridger's Ceinws home, just outside Machynlleth, Police found spots of April's blood in his bathroom, and violent child abuse images on his computer.

Bridger had also been seen carrying a black bag, described as a bin liner, near a river the morning after April's disappearance.

Mark Bridger's home

Despite a monumental search effort police officially called off the quest to find her on April 22 the following year.

A psychological profile of Bridger by Dr Joe Sullivan said he was not likely to confess to the crime.

Police also described the moment they further arrested Bridger on suspicion of murder and his reaction, believing that they had found her body - DS John said: "There was like the physical shock on his body.

An image of Bridger's home released by police after his conviction

"I can remember him turning to his solicitor thinking 'hey is there something you have not told me here?'."

Bridger was said to have put up a facade of trying to help police, while not 'giving them a lot'.

He denied a sexual motive for the crime and insisted he would not change his story, and can be heard telling police: "I did not sexually assault April."

He added: "I have stuck by my story, and I'm still sticking to my story that April was crushed under the wheel of my car."

It took a jury just four hours to convict Bridger following a five-week trial.

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