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Mark Bridger charged murder of April Jones

5-year-old April Jones Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire

Mark Bridger has been charged with the abduction and murder of missing mid Wales schoolgirl April Jones.

Dyfed-Powys Police said the 46-year-old former lifeguard was also charged with perverting the course of justice.

5-year-old April was snatched from the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth on Monday evening.

ITV News' Geraint Vincent reports:

Iwan Jenkins, the district crown prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wales, said:

I now have to advise that, having carried out a detailed review of the evidence gathered so far by Dyfed-Powys Police, my conclusion is that there is sufficient evidence to charge Mark Bridger with the murder of April Jones, and that it is in the public interest to do so.

I have also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with attempting to pervert the course of justice and child abduction."

Bridger will appear before Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court on Monday morning.

Mark Bridger has been charged with the abduction and murder of missing mid Wales schoolgirl April Jones Credit: Press Association

Chief Constable Jackie Roberts said in a press conference in Aberystwyth the investigation was "one of the most complex and fast moving inquiries in the history of our force".

Now that Mark Bridger has been charged with this horrific crime it is time to let the judicial process take its course and time to let the family come to terms with what has happened over the last week.

In the meantime our efforts to find April will be as meticulous as they have been from the outset of this inquiry until we have exhausted all available options.

– Chief Constable Jackie Roberts
District Crown Prosecutor from the CPS Iwan Jenkins, Police Chief Constable Jackie Roberts and Police Superintendent Ian John Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Police said the hunt for missing April was continuing, despite today's announcement. Superintendent Ian John said:

We continue to have the support of a whole range of search and rescue teams who are using specialist equipment as we continue our efforts.

We will be keeping April's family fully updated on progress of this investigation.

Finally, despite today's announcement, we are maintaining the momentum of the search and we remain totally focused and committed to finding April."

April was seen to willingly get into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery on Monday. Bridger was arrested on suspicion of abduction on Tuesday afternoon.

His Land Rover Discovery was also seized by police and is undergoing forensic examination.

Yesterday police announced Bridger had been arrested on suspicion of murder, indicating they no longer expect to find April alive.

They were yesterday granted a final 24 hours to question him.

Emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK have been searching since April vanished.

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