April Jones: What happened in the disappearance and murder of the five-year-old schoolgirl?

In October 2012, Five year-old schoolgirl April Jones was abducted and murdered as she played close to her home in Machynlleth, Powys Credit: PA

It has been ten years since the disappearance and murder of schoolgirl April Jones.

The five-year-old was last seen playing near her home on 1 October 2012 in Machynlleth, Powys.

What followed was one of the biggest searches for a missing person in British police history and a community uniting in grief.

April Jones was last seen by her parents, riding her pink bicycle and playing with her friends at the Bryn-y-Gog housing estate in her hometown.

April was reported missing at around 7pm on 1 October 2012

The young girl, who had cerebral palsy, was reported missing at around 7:00pm on the evening of Monday 1 October 2012.

News of the schoolgirl's disappearance quickly spread on social networking sites.

Thirty minutes after she was reported missing, the first police officer arrived at the scene and was told by a friend of April's that she got into in a grey van. A "critical incident" was launched by Dyfed Powys police.

Volunteers searched a 30-mile area around Machynlleth and restaurants donated food and drinks to volunteers. Credit: PA

Hundreds of volunteers poured into Machynlleth, joined by national and international media and detectives, who led a frantic bid to find out where the schoolgirl was.

As darkness grew, volunteer search teams continued to cover a 30-mile area around Machynlleth. Shops shut so people could focus on trying to find April, while restaurants donated food and drinks to volunteers.

Mark Bridger, a 46-year-old local, was arrested and eventually convicted of her murder.

To this day, April's body has never been found.

An extensive collection of child abuse material was found on Bridger's computer after his arrest.

Fragments of human bone consistent with a "younger individual" were found in the fireplace of Bridger's cottage. Blood found in several parts of the cottage was matched to April's DNA. Bridger always denied murder but accepted he was "probably responsible" for her death.

Described as a "pathological liar" and "paedophile" by the judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole-life order.

Mark Bridger was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole-life order for the abduction and murder of April Jones. Credit: PA

A new three-part Channel 4 documentary revisits the chilling case. The Disappearance of April Jones, explores the hunt for the missing child, the investigation into a local suspect and the challenges faced by the police.

In the documentary, April's mother Coral Jones and her sister Jazmin speak about their grief and pain. Coral talked about the "deep depression" she had sunk into and the impact of this on her family.

She said: "I just didn’t want to see anybody, I just did not want anybody in my house. The kids didn’t have me as a mum properly. I sunk into deep depression and I feel guilty for that. After a while Jazmin went and stayed at her friend’s."

Jazmin added: “There was no home. There was a broken family, there was a house of memories and items, and there was a broken family in this house. But there was no home."

The parents of April Jones, Paul and Coral with siblings Harley and Jazmin in 2014. Credit: PA

Ten years on, the relationship between the mother and daughter has improved, with Jazmin saying how it "is so much better than it was."

The programme explores how the small market-town of Machynlleth rallied together to support April's mother and the rest of the family.

Soon after her disappearance, at the request of April's parents Coral and Paul, the town of Machynlleth was adorned with pink ribbons - April's favorite colour - in tribute to her.

Special vigils were held and the town gathered outside April’s home releasing lanterns as a mark of respect.

Over the years, April's family campaigned for April's Law for tougher measures against sex offenders.