Murder trial man visits Zoe grave

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A SOLDIER accused of murdering his nine-year-old stepdaughter was yesterday taken to the hillside grave where he is alleged to have buried her.

Miles Evans, 24, an army driver, stood for a few moments - handcuffed to a security guard - at the edge of the disused badger set on the Battlesbury Hill which overlooks his married quarters home at Warminster, Wiltshire.

The set, where nine-year-old Zoe's naked and decomposing body was found, is ringed by daffodils and primroses - a floral tribute from her school friends.

Pte Evans's visit was part of a formal "view" by the jury from his murder trial at Bristol Crown Court. They were accompanied by the trial judge, Mr Justice Eady, the trial legal team and court officers.

The judge had ordered the visit as part of the trial process. He said that they must visit the area to view the locations they had heard about in evidence.

The prosecution alleges that Pte Evans took his stepdaughter from the home they shared with Zoe's mother, Paula, 29, on the night of 11 January last year and attacked and murdered her. Pte Evans denies the murder.

Zoe's body was found six weeks later after being unearthed by animal activity.

She had suffocated as a result of a piece of clothing being stuffed into her mouth and inhalation of blood after her nose was broken by a severe blow.

The prosecution claims that Evans dropped two "crucial" pieces of evidence - his blue T-shirt and a pair of the girl's knickers which were stained with her blood. They were found by police searchers close to the family home and on a route to the hillside grave.

The trial continues today.