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April Jones Trial: Evidence Against Mark Bridger Is 'Overwhelming' Jury Hears

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There is "overwhelming" evidence against the man accused of murdering April Jones, a jury heard on Tuesday.

Mark Bridger, 47, is accused at Mold Crown Court of snatching and murdering the five-year-old in a "sexually motivated" attack.

In her closing speech to the jury today, Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, said her case "stands strongly and compellingly".

april jones trial mark bridger

The body of April Jones has still not been found

"The evidence overwhelmingly compels the conclusion that the defendant is guilty of each count in this case," she added.

Miss Evans asked the jury to consider Bridger's answers in the "spotlight of the witness box".

"You have seen some glimpses into his mindset and some of those glimpses, you may have thought, are quite frankly shocking," she went on.

"But that assessment is for you.

"Some of you may have wondered how anybody could do what the prosecution allege this defendant has done and then concoct a story to cover up what he has done?'"

Miss Evans reminded the jury of Bridger's claims about being in the military and said: "On his own admission, this is a man who, over 20 years ago decided to create a whole new lie - a whole new life for himself, and a man who was prepared to live that lie."

She said Bridger "fabricated" his past, adding that he "did so for selfish reasons".

She added: "Time and time again, we say, you have seen this defendant manipulate his account to try and deal with evidence that he cannot overcome."

April disappeared as she was playing with a friend near their homes on the Bryn-Y-Gog estate, Machynlleth, Powys, on October 1 last year.

Bridger, a former slaughterhouse worker from Ceinws, denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice.

He claims he killed April when he accidentally "crushed" her with his Land Rover but can't remember what he did with the body because he was drunk and panicking.

April's parents Coral, 43, and Paul, 41, who have attended each day of the trial, were watching today's speeches from the public gallery above the court room.

Beginning his address, Brendan Kelly QC, defending, urged the jury to put aside the "obvious emotions" attached to the case and decide their verdict on the evidence.

He said: "Mark Bridger denies these offences, he denies the inferences which you have been invited to draw, he challenges the 'compelling' evidence which the crown advances, he says he is not guilty of these offences."

Mr Kelly went on: "You can only convict this defendant if you are sure, sure on the evidence that is put before you.

"If you are sure, it will be your pleasure to convict Mark Bridger.

"But if you are not sure, it will be upon you to acquit Mark Bridger.

"Your job, and I can't state this enough, is to decide the case on the evidence.

"It is going to be difficult to ignore the obvious emotion attached to these allegations but that is what you are obliged to do."

Beginning his summing up, trial judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams gave the jury legal directions and urged it to conduct a "dispassionate review of the evidence".

He added: "To speculate is to guess and no verdict should be based on guesswork."

He said the "removal" of April from the estate and the manner of her death were central issues.

Explaining how the prosecution proves guilt, he said: "By making you sure of it, and nothing else will do."

The trial was adjourned until 10am tomorrow when the judge will complete his summing up and the jury will be sent out to begin its deliberations.

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