April accused remanded in custody


The former lifeguard accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones has been remanded in custody after appearing in court via video-link today.

Mark Bridger confirmed his name and that he could hear the proceedings when he appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court, north Wales.

Mr Bridger, who was wearing thin-rimmed glasses and a black jumper and sat in front of a grey curtain, is accused of abducting and murdering April, and of unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.

During the hearing, which lasted about 20 minutes, Mr Bridger answered the clerk’s questions by responding: “Yes ma’am.”

The court heard the prosecution had been given notice of Mr Bridger’s “likely defence”, which had been taken in interviews.

Mr Justice Griffith-Williams said any decision about where any future trial would be held would be made after consultation with the victim’s family.

The court heard some of the witnesses in the case are as young as seven years old.

Mr Bridger (46), of Mount Pleasant farmhouse in the village of Ceinws, near Machynlleth, leaned forward at one point as he appeared to be struggling to hear.

The case was adjourned until January 11th while investigations continue, the court was told.

Mr Bridger was remanded in custody and no application for bail was made. When asked by the judge whether he understood what was happening, the defendant responded: “Yes sir.”

Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, said forensic and other “extensive investigations” were continuing “apace” and the judge agreed that “matters may develop”.

Mr Justice Griffith-Williams said it was his intention to try the case “at the earliest possible date”.

April was last seen near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the Mid Wales town on Monday evening last week.

Mr Bridger was arrested the following day, but the search for April’s body goes on. The five-year-old was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery.

Her parents, Coral Jones (40) and husband Paul (44), had allowed her to play out late as a treat after she had received a glowing school report that day at a parents’ evening which Mr Bridger had also attended.

Mr Bridger, who owns a Discovery, was arrested last Tuesday afternoon and was charged on Saturday.

The case has sparked an outpouring of support for April’s parents, with hundreds of people joining the search for their daughter and offering their assistance.