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  1. ITV Report

April Jones murder: Reporting the Mark Bridger trial

On the day of Mark Bridger's conviction, ITV News broadcast a special programme live from Machynlleth and Mold.

The tweet that popped into my timeline on the evening of October 1st, 2012 said a little girl was missing. I'd seen appeals on Twitter before and usually another tweet quickly appears to say the missing person has been found safe and well.

But this little girl was missing on our patch and Twitter was in full swing with hundreds of retweets. So I messaged a contact at a local truck stop with details which were circulating of a suspect vehicle, knowing how quick-off-the-mark the trucking community can be.

I also rang the news desk and sure enough, the team were already mobilising as the story of missing April Jones began to unfold.

Eight months on and I've seen April's story played out over five weeks in Mold Crown Court. The details and outcome of the case are now well-known, but here are some of the things that struck me and will stay with me:

Paul and Coral Jones, bearing pink ribbons for their daughter, have attended Mold Crown Court for every single day of the month-long trial Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
  • The strength and dignity of Coral and Paul Jones. They've calmly walked into court each day to hear the most horrific evidence, shocking to the jury and even at times to the hard-bitten press benches, but surely heart-rending for April's parents. Their pink ribbons pinned on, they have been there for their daughter in the public gallery, representing her, quietly standing by her throughout the trial.
Mark Bridger insisted throughout his trial that he had 'accidentally' killed April Jones Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
  • Mark Bridger. The defendant in the dock, following every second of evidence, passing instructions to his defence team and weeping when the jury turned into his eyeline. He was articulate, confident and combative in the witness box. He held the stage, posing his own questions rather than answering the prosecution's, and insistently and repeatedly putting his case that he had accidentally knocked over "little April". His very deliberate and frequent use of "little April" struck me time and again.
April Jones had eaten her favourite meal and watched her favourite film just before she went missing Credit: Wales News Service
  • And April Jones herself. The smiling photos. The happy five-year-old. The everyday details on that last day, which now take on so much more significance. The fact she'd had her favourite meal of spaghetti hoops for supper and had eaten well. She'd watched her favourite film but was still desperate to play out on her bike. And that's when everything changed - for April, for her parents and for her community.

For me, the court case has been challenging work. Have I got the tone right? How many of the grim details should we share with our audience? How far should we sanitise the awful facts of this case?

Then, at the end of the working day, I've found myself squeezing my own daughter that little bit tighter and just that little bit longer.

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