Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Bridger 'cannot recall April moves'

April Jones vanished while playing on her bike with her best friend last year (Dyfed-Powys Police/PA)
Paul and Coral Jones arrive at Mold Crown Court
Mark Bridger arrives at Mold Crown Court

The man accused of abducting and murdering schoolgirl April Jones in a sexually motivated attack has told a jury he put her body "somewhere where it has not been found".

On his second day of cross examination Mark Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, mid-Wales, answered questions about the search for April's body.

Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, told Mold Crown Court that after April's disappearance police mounted the biggest search in British history. She said police had "looked everywhere", and asked Bridger: "Where did you put the body?" Bridger, who claims his memory has gone blank after he knocked April down in a car accident, said: "I can't recall. I still believe I have placed her somewhere."

Miss Evans said April's body has not been found because Bridger was trying to cover up what he had done. The defendant replied: "I have put her somewhere where it hasn't been found." Miss Evans said: "It's just one of those things? That wherever you have put her was just a search site that the police never looked? Is that what you are saying?" Bridger replied: "You are asking me to speculate here and I can't do that."

Miss Evans added: "You really are not going to give us any assistance as to what you did?" Bridger said he told police at the time about the places he had been and walked, including caves and rivers. Miss Evans said police had been "up hill and down dale, down mine shafts and not found her anywhere".

Bridger denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice by disposing of, concealing or destroying April's body. April disappeared on October 1 last year.

The prosecution say Bridger snatched and murdered her in a sexually motivated attack. Bridger says he accidentally killed April when he ran her over and accepts he must have got rid of her body, but he says he cannot remember how he disposed of it because he was suffering memory loss caused by alcohol and panic.

Questioned about the indecent images of children which were found on his laptop, Miss Evans asked the defendant: "Are you a paedophile?" "No", Bridger said. The barrister continued: "Why do you have indecent images of children on your computer?" Bridger replied: "A lot of them were for looking into the development of my son and daughter. Some I didn't even know were there. Others I put aside to complain." Miss Evans said that was "absolute nonsense" adding: "You deliberately saved each and every one of those pictures." Bridger said there were many pictures he had never looked at.

The jury was then shown examples of searches carried out on the laptop. The first was "France British schoolgirl raped and murdered". He told the court he conducted that search because it referred to a case which took place near where he was taking his children on holiday. Questioned about a further search, "naked five-year-old girls", he said: "That's a mistake I made on that one, it should have been 15. This was all to do with my daughter's development. It was a mis-type." After showing the jury another search, "nudism five year old", Miss Evans suggested: "Your explanation for that is the same typo, is it?" He said, "no", and told the jury he had been looking for: "Pictures that were not offensive to my son and daughter of body structure and development."

He said the search, "animated porn girls", was to find the postal address for the companies involved so he could protest to them. Miss Evans said: "Mr Bridger, you are advancing a complete fantasy as to what your reasons are for your computer pornography." "No," the defendant replied.

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