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April parents 'glad' house is gone

The devastated parents of five-year-old girl April Jones say they are glad the house where their daughter was murdered has been demolished.

Coral and Paul Jones said the secluded country cottage where paedophile Mark Bridger murdered their daughter had served as a constant reminder to them over the past two years.

The couple, joined by April's elder siblings Harley and Jazmin, choked back the tears as a giant digger smashed Bridger's rented cottage to pieces.

Coral said: "It's just a constant reminder. And I'm glad it's gone.

"Even driving on the main road near the village is difficult. You go past and your head ultimately turns to that house.

"It brings back the horrible memories of what happened.

"It was a dreadful thing that happened here. It will not be a final closure."

Paul added: "Having this house demolished is symbolic. It's a sort of closure, the end of a chapter.

"All the time it has been here, its existence plays in the back of your mind.

"Even when you are not thinking about it, it's there in the back of your mind.

"It's hard to describe. There's a lot of emotions."

Bridger's home - called Mount Pleasant - was bought by the Welsh Government earlier this year.

The house is where the former lifeguard is believed to have killed and dismembered April after snatching her outside her parents' home in Machynlleth, Mid Wales.

During his trial Bridger, who is now serving a whole life sentence for the abduction and killing of April, claimed he knocked over the youngster in his Land Rover and then in a drunken panic "forgot" what he had done with her.

April's body was never found, although forensics experts later found fragments of a child's skull in a fireplace at Mount Pleasant.

Although time has passed and April's family - as well as the community in Machynlleth - have tried to move on from the horrific events of October 1, 2012, Mount Pleasant's very existence has made that process all the more difficult.

However, last August the cottage was bought by the Welsh Government - for a sum believed to be around £149,000 - with officials promising to raze it to the ground.

Preparation work ahead of today's demolition began earlier this month - with the roof as well as doors and windows being removed.

However, the final act of smashing it to the ground got under way at 10.40am.

Coral and Paul, along with their two children and other family, looked on in silence as the growling hum of the digger and its mechanical claw knocked the first floor walls down.

Coral added: "We have been back here before, but coming back today has really opened a wound."

She also said her family did not want a memorial garden to April being set up - and what happened next to the site was up to the community.

L ocal councillor Michael Williams said the house served as a painful reminder to everyone in the area.

"People are most appreciative of the Welsh government carrying out that which they'd promised," he added.

"Everyone in the Machynlleth area will be relieved.

"It'll especially be a huge relief for Coral and Paul and the rest of April Jones's family and the people living in the village of Ceinws who have to pass that property all the time, bringing back the memories of, as we're given to understand, the evil acts that took place there.

"It is the house of evil and the sooner it disappears, the better."

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