UK

April Jones Case: Mark Bridger Car Shown To Jury

16/05/2013 16:20 BST | Updated 30/05/2013 13:13 BST

A jury has viewed a car belonging to murder suspect Mark Bridger and the bike that was being ridden by schoolgirl April Jones on the night she went missing.

Five-year-old April, who had cerebral palsy, vanished while playing on her bike near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on 1 October last year.

mark bridger car

The blue Land Rover Discovery that belonged to Mark Bridger

Mark Bridger, 47, denies abducting and murdering the schoolgirl in a "sexually motivated" attack.

The prosecution say Bridger, a former slaughterhouse worker, snatched and murdered the schoolgirl.

He says he accidentally killed her when he ran her over and accepts that he must have got rid of her body but cannot remember how it did it because he was drunk.

Today the jury was taken to view both Bridger's left-hand drive blue Land Rover Discovery and April's pink bicycle. The media were later granted access to the vehicles to take photographs.

Forensic investigators had left stickers across the car identifying points of examination and the driver's seat was covered by white plastic.

Signs saying Chemical Substance Warning were on the windscreen and back window.

Earlier this week the jury heard from a forensic scientist who said he could find no evidence of a collision either on the Land Rover or on the child's bike.

April was last seen at about 7pm on 1 October playing on a bicycle with her friend near their homes on Machynlleth's Bryn-Y-Gog estate.

Her body was never found despite the biggest search operation in British policing history.

The court also heard that Bridger used to work for Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, which is about 17 miles from Machynlleth, between October 2009 and January 2010.

A statement read from his former colleague Gage Talbot said: "Mark Bridger's employment in the abattoir would have allowed him access to an array of knives and he was skilled at boning and skinning knives."

The court also heard that Bridger started working as a firefighter for the London Fire Brigade in May 1984 but resigned in November the same year. He was living in south Croydon, Surrey, at the time.

A statement was also read from Staff Sgt Luke Jones who had checked armed forces records for any evidence that Bridger had served, as he claimed to have done in his police interviews.

Nobody going by the name Mark Leonard Bridger has ever served in the UK regular or reserve forces, the court heard.

The jury was shown footage of the moment Bridger was booked in at Aberystwyth police station.

The film shows him being searched and having his shoes and jacket removed.

april jones bike

A bike belonging to a friend of April Jones which she was riding the day she went missing

The arresting officer tells him he has been arrested on suspicion of abduction.

Paul Hobson, for the prosecution, read out Bridger's first interviews with the police.

In a statement, Pc Jules Evans said she asked the defendant if he had served in the armed forces.

He told the officer that he had "worked as a mercenary in Angola and he had been to Belize".

He said he had been "trained by an SAS unit in Burma".

He said he had been "seconded" to the British Army but that he was not registered to it and that he had been doing this for the past nine years.

The jury heard previously that April and her best friend had been cycling near their homes on Machynlleth's Bryn-Y-Gog estate when she disappeared.

The pair had swapped bikes and April had been riding her friend's bicycle shortly before she was last seen.

Mr Hobson then read the interviews with Det Con Louise Thomas who read her part of the first "urgent interview" which was carried out shortly after his arrest while Mr Hobson read Bridger's replies to the court.

During the interview, which took place at 18.18 on 2 October, Bridger said: "I don't know where she is."

He said he had split up with his girlfriend and then been to his daughter's parents' evening at Machynlleth Junior School when he began drinking.

He said: "I am a registered alcoholic. I drink 15 to 20 pints a day and a bottle of vodka a day and through the night."

During a long statement Bridger went on to say how he drove over April, put her in his car, tried to giver her mouth to mouth, and then panicked and starting driving around getting increasingly drunk.

He told the officer: "I had obviously crushed her little body."

During the statement Bridger, wearing a short-sleeved light blue shirt and tie, broke down and wept in the dock.

He told Det Con Thomas that "adrenaline was pumping and the alcohol inside me was pumping".

He said at some point he stopped the car and that "he knew there was no life in her".

Bridger said that he "slapped her" and did "all the things that go through your head."

"All this time I am thinking, 'what have I done'" and then took some more mouthfuls of vodka".

He then described being back at his home and not knowing how he had got there.

Bridger then told the officer he began frantically searching his property for the child.

He said: "I would not have dumped her. I just don't know where I have put her. I am sorry, I don't know."

Later he told the officer: "Due to this incident I have difficulty looking female police officers in the eye. A dad is a dad but a mother gives birth. I am surprised you spoke to me so politely."

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