Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

April jury views Bridger's car

April Jones vanished from near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales in October last year

A jury has viewed a car belonging to murder suspect Mark Bridger and the bike that was being ridden by schoolgirl April Jones on the night she went missing.

Five-year-old April, who had cerebral palsy, vanished while playing on her bike near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 1 last year.

Mark Bridger, 47, denies abducting and murdering the schoolgirl in a "sexually motivated" attack.

The prosecution say Bridger, a former slaughterhouse worker, snatched and murdered the schoolgirl. He says he accidentally killed her when he ran her over and accepts that he must have got rid of her body but cannot remember how it did it because he was drunk.

On Thursday the jury was taken to view both Bridger's left-hand drive blue Land Rover Discovery and April's pink bicycle. The media were later granted access to the vehicles to take photographs.

Forensic investigators had left stickers across the car identifying points of examination and the driver's seat was covered by white plastic. Signs saying Chemical Substance Warning were on the windscreen and back window.

Earlier this week the jury heard from a forensic scientist who said he could find no evidence of a collision either on the Land Rover or on the child's bike.

April was last seen at about 7pm on October 1 playing on a bicycle with her friend near their homes on Machynlleth's Bryn-Y-Gog estate. Her body was never found despite the biggest search operation in British policing history.

The court also heard that Bridger used to work for Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, which is about 17 miles from Machynlleth, between October 2009 and January 2010. A statement read from his former colleague Gage Talbot said: "Mark Bridger's employment in the abattoir would have allowed him access to an array of knives and he was skilled at boning and skinning knives."

The court also heard that Bridger started working as a firefighter for the London Fire Brigade in May 1984 but resigned in November the same year. He was living in south Croydon, Surrey, at the time. A statement was also read from Staff Sgt Luke Jones who had checked armed forces records for any evidence that Bridger had served, as he claimed to have done in his police interviews. Nobody going by the name Mark Leonard Bridger has ever served in the UK regular or reserve forces, the court heard.

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