Accused killer 'fascinated' by notorious child murders

By Jonathan Brown

Neither April Jones' body not her clothes have been found. Photo / Supplied
Neither April Jones' body not her clothes have been found. Photo / Supplied

The man accused of murdering five-year-old British girl April Jones watched child pornography on the day of her disappearance and exchanged text messages with his ex-girlfriend over their break-up, his trial has heard.

Mark Bridger, 47, watched a cartoon of a young girl being raped and also looked up child murders on his computer hours before April went missing, prosecutor Elwen Evans told a court in north Wales.

Outlining the prosecution's case on the second day of evidence, she said search terms discovered on Bridger's laptop included "British girl murdered in France", and "10-year-old girls naked".

The schoolgirl's disappearance sparked one of the biggest police searches ever mounted in Britain and drew in hundreds of local people to scour the mountainous area, but her body has never been found.

The trial heard that blood and tiny bone fragments found at Bridger's cottage were a near-perfect match with April's DNA.

Showing the jury photographs of the living room, Evans said the blood stains near the wood-burning stove, on the carpet and on the sofa were a "one-in-a-billion" match to April's DNA profile.

Bridger, an experienced slaughterman who once worked at an abattoir, denies abducting and murdering April as she played near her home in the small town of Machynlleth in mid-Wales on October 1 last year.

The prosecution says he went to great lengths to clean up the evidence of her murder, although police officers who went to his home had not realised the significance of his efforts at the time.

Evans said: "When they went in there they stated that the house was uncomfortably hot, that there was a strong smell of detergent, and a smell of cleaning products, air freshener and washed clothes.''

Bridger made a series of statements to police, but his final account was that he had accidentally crushed the child to death under the wheels of his Land Rover on the estate where she lived near two of his own children.

A combination of "alcohol, adrenaline and panic" meant he could not remember what he had done with her dead or dying body after loading it into the vehicle, however he did later claim to have put it somewhere "out of the rain", the court heard.

The prosecution alleges Bridger had a large collection of internet images of child abuse and pictures of April and her two teenage half-sisters which he took from Facebook and other social media sites.

The jury at Mold Crown Court heard that Bridger was fascinated by child murders and kept pictures from notorious cases from around the world.

His collection included Soham victims Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

The trial continues.

- Independent with AFP

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