1. ITV Report

'Blood matching April's' found at Mark Bridger's home

A jury at Mold Crown Court has been hearing an account of Mark Bridger's movements on the day April Jones disappeared Photo: Priscilla Coleman

Blood matching that of schoolgirl April Jones was found at the home of the man accused of her abduction and murder, Mold Crown Court has heard.

The prosecution said DNA was found at various locations in Mark Bridger's house, including the hallway carpet, a washing machine, a shower curtain and in the living room.

Bone fragments were also found at the house, the jury heard, which were consistent with that of a human skull.

The court also heard that traces of April's DNA were found on tracksuit bottoms belonging to the 47-year-old.

April vanished whilst playing near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth in October last year.

Her body has never been found, despite the largest search in police history.

April Jones went missing from near her home in Machynlleth in October Credit: Dyfed Powys Police / PA

On the second day of opening the case for the prosecution, Elwen Evans QC took the jury through Mark Bridger's movements on Monday 1st October - the day April disappeared - including his computer, phone, and Facebook activity, and CCTV images of him.

The jury heard that early that morning, a series of messages were exchanged between Mr Bridger and his ex-girlfriend relating to the break-up of their relationship.

Mr Bridger, who worked as a labourer, also contacted his employer to apologise, saying he couldn't get into work first thing as he 'needed to get his head around things'.

The court heard that later the same morning Mr Bridger visited council offices over a query with his council tax.

That day, Miss Evans said, Mr Bridger viewed and downloaded a series of images of local young girls, as well as viewing an indecent image online.

The court also heard more text messages were exchanged between Mr Bridger and his ex-girlfriend throughout the afternoon. It's also claimed he contacted three other women that afternoon to ask them out on dates.

Elwen Evans QC told the jury that Mr Bridger had been to a parents' evening at the same school April attended at 5.20pm on the evening she disappeared.

Afterwards it's claimed Mr Bridger approached a couple of young girls playing on their bicycles - one of whom was a friend of his daughter.

The jury was told Mr Bridger wound his car window down and invited one of them to go for a sleepover with his daughter, which she declined.

The court then heard that an eyewitness told police she saw the defendant's car pull up next to garages on the Bryn-y-Gog estate, where April was seen playing nearby.

Ten minutes later a vehicle matching the description of Mr Bridger's was seen by another witness driving past a local petrol station and then on CCTV heading out of the estate.

Miss Evans alleged it was 'obvious' that the defendant had driven out of town 'before the 999 call was made' following April's disappearance.

On the morning of October 2nd - the day after April went missing - the court heard three witnesses saw Mr Bridger carrying a black bin bag in a field near his home.

That location has been searched 'many times and in many ways', the jury heard, but officers have found nothing.

Elwen Evans QC said: "We don't know what Mark Bridger was doing at that location."

The jury heard Mr Bridger's explanation of why he stopped there was that he needed to urinate, but this was dismissed by the prosecution, who alleged he was saying it to explain away a 'potentially suspicious sighting.'

Miss Evans said that when police went into Mr Bridger's home later that day, half an hour before he was arrested, they did so searching for April.

Police stated that the house was 'uncomfortably hot', that there was a strong smell of detergent, and a smell of cleaning products, air freshener and washed clothes.

The prosecution alleges that the defendant 'took steps to carry out an extensive clean-up to try to get rid of any evidence of April from his home'.

Miss Evans claimed Mr Bridger was 'forensically aware', and 'knew how important it was from his point of view to try and get rid of any forensic scientific evidence linking him to April'.

Mark Bridger was arrested at 3.30pm on the afternoon of October 2nd, walking between Ceinws and Dyfi bridge.

When arrested, it's claimed Mr Bridger told police: "I know what this is about."

The prosecution outlined Mr Bridger's account to police of what had happened.

The jury heard he said: "It was an accident. I crushed her with the car. I don't know where she is. As I was going to drive away two girls on bikes came across me.

"I then got out and saw a little girl lying under my car.

"I picked her up and put her in my car, which is left-hand drive, and put her on the front seat."

"I had been looking for her all night and did it on foot because my car is in the garage.

"I didn't abduct her. I did my best to revive her. I panicked.

"The more I drove through the night, the more [drunk] I got."

He continued: "I just wish I knew what I had done with her, where I have put her.

"I need to say sorry to her family. I can't believe I didn't just call an ambulance or the police.

"My intention was to head to the hospital. There was no life in her. No pulse. No breath. No response in her eyes. She was just on the seat. I tried to revive her.

"When my hands went on her chest I knew there was a lot more to it.

"I did my best to revive her. I don't remember having her in the car when I went back.

"I looked in all the rooms in my house...I wouldn't have dumped her. She is a human being. I wouldn't have done that.

"I really don't know where she is. I just want to know what I have done."

Elwen Evans QC said Mr Bridger's vehicle had been examined by experts to see if there was any evidence of a collision.

The court heard there was nothing on the bodywork, underside or tyres to suggest contact with a body or a bicycle.

There was also, the court heard, no evidence found in the vehicle, nor any evidence of a large-scale cleanup in there.

The prosecution said there is no evidence to prove April came to any harm at the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lived, or in Mr Bridger's vehicle.

During a series of police interviews following Mr Bridger's arrest, Miss Evans said the defendant repeated his account that he ran over April and drove around the town with her 'either dead or dying'.

Miss Evans said: "He said he tried to revive her by blowing into her mouth and nose.

"He said he drove out of Bryn-y-Gog to get medical help.

"He didn't call 999 even though his phone was on the dashboard.

"He drove up to the monument [in the town] and at that point, I quote: 'I knew she was gone'."

After waking up the next day, the court heard, Mr Bridger told police he immediately went to his car to see where April was and then began to search for her.

Miss Evans told the court: "He didn't think he would have burned her or buried her or put her in the river; being a father himself he said he would not have done those things.

"He said it was a pure stupid accident."

The prosecution alleges that Mr Bridger's actions were 'sexually motivated', and that he had 'a clear interest' in child pornography and child murder cases.

But the defendant said he did not have a 'sexual interest' in children.

Mark Bridger denies abducting and murdering April Jones, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Elwen Evans QC has now completed her opening statement and the trial will resume tomorrow.

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