Mark Bridger's "web of lies" were exposed today as he was convicted of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.
The jury at Mold Crown Court listened as the 47-year-old repeatedly changed his story during his trial in an attempt to fit with the testimony of witnesses.
In evidence he admitted he had "probably killed" the schoolgirl by running her over, but claimed not to remember anything after that.
But, as his trial heard, lies and untruths came easy to Bridger.
The prosecution told the jury the father of six had constructed a "web of lies" about his role in the death of April and had also dreamed up a fantasy career in the British army, telling those he met in Wales he had seen action in Angola and training with the SAS in Burma.
But the tales were exposed as lies after the Ministry of Defence confirmed Bridger had no history with the British Army. Bridger told the trial:
The middle child of Graham and Pamela Bridger, Mark was born in Carlsharlton in Surrey on November 6, 1965.
Nineteen years later he would encounter the judicial process for the first time - pleading guilty to firearms offences, theft, attempted theft and deception.
It would be the first of several convictions in his lifetime - convictions for driving offences and assaults followed - as he moved to locations around England and Wales.
His time at John Ruskin School in Croydon resulted in seven CSEs.
As a teenager he went on to study for an engineering diploma at Croydon College, but failed to complete the course, before moving on to jobs as a welder, driver and a role with the London Fire Brigade.
Bridger left the area for good not long after, following the split from the mother of his first child. Relations with his parents had also deteriorated by this point and at the age of 22 he moved to North Wales on his own.
Arriving in Wales alone and without a place to live, Bridger lived on a beach for a number on months, armed with camping and survival equipment.
During his time in there, Bridger had relationships with six women and fathered five children. The trial heard Bridger would often turn to alcohol when these relationships broke down and he claimed he had been taking anti-depressants for the past 12 years.
Aside from a short spell living in Australia, Bridger moved around Wales working several jobs, including bar and forestry work and a role as a mechanic.
But most chilling of all was the revelation that Bridger had worked as a lifeguard at the Machynlleth Leisure Centre, from where the searches for missing April had been co-ordinated.
But it was Bridger's time in market town of Machynlleth in mid-Wales that his path crossed that of five-year-old April Jones and her family, which would impact on all involved immeasurably.
Bridger would later concede he had "probably killed" the schoolgirl but, surrounding himself in a web of lies, he has been unable to answer the one question April's family desperately want answering: Where is their little girl?