The former abattoir worker accused of murdering schoolgirl April Jones made up a "story" that he had killed her in a car accident in a bid to "explain away" his role in the killing, a court has been told.
Mark 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 the prosecution opening, Elwen Evans QC told the jury of Bridger's explanation when he was arrested on October 2, which included him wanting to "say sorry" to April's family.
The court heard he was seen carrying a "black bin bag" as he walked on a field close to his house the morning after April went missing, and how he denied to police that he had a "sexual interest" in children. But he admitted he had an interest in child murder cases which saw him research the James Bulger case and American serial killer Ted Bundy.
Miss Evans said Bridger told arresting officers: "It was an accident. I crushed her with the car. I don't know where she is."
Miss Evans added that Bridger carried on telling police officers his story as he was being driven to Aberystwyth Police Station. He claimed he had been searching for April "all night on foot" because he could not remember what he had done with her.
"I didn't abduct her. I did my best to revive her. I panicked," he said.
He continued: "I just wish I knew what I had done with her, where I have put her. I need to say sorry to her family. I can't believe I didn't just call an ambulance or the police. My intention was to head to the hospital. There was no life in her. No pulse. No breath. No response in her eyes. She was just on the seat. I tried to revive her."
He said: "I wouldn't have dumped her. She is a human being. I wouldn't have done that." He went on to say: "I just want to know what I have done." Bridger said that when he saw April "under his car" that "she had gone a funny colour" and "was only a little thing".
Miss Evans said Bridger's account was a "lie" and added: "He was now coming up with a story to try and explain away April's disappearance and his role in that."