Mark Bridger - the man accused of murdering five-year-old April Jones - is expected to say he was 'probably responsible for her death' but that he did not murder her, a court was told this morning.
The 47-year-old has denied three charges including the little girl's murder and abduction following her disappearance in Machynlleth, Powys, last October.
April's parents, Coral and Paul, were at the hearing at Mold Crown Court. A trial date has been set for 25 February.
The judge, Mr Justice John Griffith-Williams, ordered that none of the evidence mentioned could be publicly reported. But he said a statement by the defending barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, that the accused was not guilty of murder but that he accepted that he was probably responsible for her death could be publicly reported.
Bridger also denies a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice which refers to the unlawful disposal and concealment of a body. April's parents were led into the court before the defendant was brought up.
April's mother Coral was wearing a pink T-shirt and her father Paul wore a salmon pink shirt. The colour has been used in ribbons and other publicity material since their daughter's disappearance.
The defendant, with short cropped hair and goatee beard, was then brought in and confirmed his name to the court. Both parents stared at the defendant as the charges were read to him. He stood, his arms behind his back, and looked forward as he entered not guilty pleas.
The former lifeguard, wearing a navy blue jumper with a pair of spectacles tucked into his collar, looked up towards the ceiling as he entered his final not guilty plea.
April was last seen playing out on her bicycle on Machynlleth's Bryn-y-Gog estate, where she lived, on the evening of October 1 last year.
Bridger, who lived close by was arrested the following day, but April's body has never been found and the search continues.
He was subsequently charged with abducting and murdering April, and of unlawfully disposing of and concealing her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.
Dyfed-Powys Police resumed the search to find April in January, following a two week break for the Christmas period. There are 16 search teams involved in the operation, the force said.