Friend saw April Jones get into Land Rover, court hears

Jury sees taped evidence given by 7-year-old

Floral tributes and a single candle burns outside the former home of Mark Bridger in Ceinws, Mid Wales who is on trial for the abduction and murder of April Jones. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Floral tributes and a single candle burns outside the former home of Mark Bridger in Ceinws, Mid Wales who is on trial for the abduction and murder of April Jones. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Tue, May 7, 2013, 14:00

A young friend of missing schoolgirl April Jones has described seeing her “get into a grey Land Rover”.

A DVD of police interviews with the seven-year-old, who cannot be identified because of her age, was played to the jury in Mark Bridger’s trial at Mold Crown Court.

Five-year-old April vanished while playing with her friend near their homes in Machynlleth, Powys, Mid Wales, on October 1st last year.

The prosecution say April was abducted by Bridger (47), who drove her off in his Land Rover Discovery and murdered her.

The film of the child witness’s statement to police, recorded the day after April disappeared, was played to the jury as the girl watched on a video-link from Aberystwyth.

She appeared on the video-link with a white teddy bear and a mug of juice, with an adult who was partially off screen sitting next to her.

In the interview, the girl sat on a sofa playing with a brown rabbit cuddly toy.

She told police they had been playing on the Bryn-Y-Gog estate the previous evening when she saw April “by a Land Rover van”.

“I saw her by the person that was waiting by the van,” the girl said.

“She did not say she was going to go in it. I know they (April’s parents) wouldn’t let her go at that time.

“The man didn’t take her in the van — she got into the van, having a happy face she had and she wasn’t upset.”

During her evidence, court officials, including Judge Mr Justice Griffith-Williams, did not wear their wigs or robes.

There were breaks every 10 or 15 minutes to ensure she did not “tire or lose concentration”, the judge told the jury.

Former slaughterhouse worker Bridger, of Ceinws, claims he accidentally killed April with his Land Rover and cannot remember what he did with the body.

He denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice by disposing of, concealing or destroying April’s body.