Experts found "very strong evidence" of burnt human skull remains at the home of the man accused of murdering April Jones, a jury has heard.
An anthropologist told the trial of Mark Bridger that tiny bone fragments were recovered from the fireplace in his living room, but they had been so badly burned that it was impossible to conduct a DNA test.
Former slaughterhouse worker Bridger (47) denies abducting and murdering five-year-old April, who disappeared last October while playing near her home in Machynellth, mid-Wales.
The jury at Mold Crown Court heard from Dr Julie Roberts, a forensic anthropologist specialising in burnt skeletal remains.
Dr Roberts said she studied five bone fragments found in the debris of a log burning fireplace at Mount Pleasant, Bridger's rented cottage in Ceinws, Powys.
Dr Roberts said: "There is very strong evidence to support the view they are burnt bone."
Another bone fragment had features similar to the skull of a child aged between four and eight, the jury was told.