April Jones murder suspect Mark Bridger : I’m sorry – I ran her over but can’t remember what I did with her body

Prosecution claims DNA which may have come from April was found on murder accused's trousers

The suspect in the April Jones murder trial told police he would like to apologise to her parents but repeatedly insisted that he could not help them locate their missing child because he could not remember what he had done with her body, a court heard today.

During lengthy questioning by detectives following his arrest the day after the five-year-old's disappearance, Mark Bridger, a self-confessed alcoholic, described how he "accidently" crushed the little girl to death in his Land Rover and claimed he made repeated attempts to resuscitate her.

Mold Crown Court heard that he told police: "There was a little girl under the wheels of the car. She had gone a funny colour. She was only a little thing."

He added: "I need to say sorry to her family. I can't believe I didn't just call an ambulance or the police. The intention was to head to the hospital. There was no life in her. No pulse. No breathing. No response in her eyes."

He said: "I wouldn't have dumped her. She is a human being. I wouldn't have done that." The 47-year-old former abattoir worker was arrested whilst he walked his dog on a country lane as hundreds of people searched in vain for the missing child who had disappeared whilst playing outside her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales.

Video footage from a police helicopter revealed smoke billowing from the chimney of his whitewashed cottage - three miles from April's home. Fragments of bone thought to be from a child's skull, traces of April's blood as well as a burnt boning knife were found at the house, the prosecution said.

Officers who went inside looking for April described the cottage as "uncomfortably hot" and smelling strongly of detergent, air freshener and cleaning fluids, the prosecution said.  Clothes had recently been cleaned and Bridger - who denies abduction, murder and concealing the child's body   - had shaved his head and trimmed his beard.

On the second day of the prosecution opening Elwen Evans QC said "lies and tears appear to come easily to the defendant" who she said was "forensically aware" and "manipulative".

April's blood stains were found on the underneath of a carpet, on grouting on the floor tiles as well as on the washing machine.

He had earlier been seen carrying a black plastic bag and acting suspiciously in a layby near his home. When challenged over his behaviour he said he "had stopped for a wee". Miss Evans said it was an explanation he used again later.

He told police that it was possible that April's DNA was on his penis because he had carried her and later gone to the toilet. A swab of his penis did not find any forensic material from the missing girl. However, some DNA which might have come from April was found inside the front crotch area of the track suit trousers which he was wearing when he was arrested, it was claimed.

The prosecution also revealed details of the defendant's movements during the hours leading up to April's disappearance on October 1 last year sparking the largest search in British police history. Her body has never been found.

Bridger had spent part of the day looking at images of child abuse as well as viewing pictures of local girls downloaded from Facebook.

During the course of the afternoon he made contact with a number of women trying to arrange a date, it was claimed. He later went to April's school, which was attended by his daughter, for a parents' evening.

Shortly before April went missing, Bridger approached two girls aged eight and 10 as they were riding their bicycles on the Bryn y Gog estate where the Jones family lived.

"He wound the window down and there was a discussion during which the defendant invited one of the girls to a sleepover with his daughter," Miss Evans told the jury.

Miss Evans said there was evidence of “minor” injuries to Bridger's body and in days of police interviews “his repeated mantra was he could not remember and did not know what he had done.” 

The prosecution said Bridger played a “cruel game” – telling police that he might have taken the body to a garden in town and then saying he would have sat her upright so that she would be discovered and covered her “out of respect”.

He said he would not have put her in a dustbin as this would have been “disgusting”, the court heard.

When questioned over his viewing of abuse images he said he did not believe it was right for “children to be put into pornography” and that he was searching for information on “breast development” because he did not want to “mistouch” his daughter.

Among the websites he had browsed was the FBI’s Most Wanted and he had read about US serial killer Ted Bundy whose victims included children. 

He told police:  "All I want to say to Paul and Coral is that I'm sorry for what happened and if, in my heart of hearts if I knew where she was, then I would tell them because, first, I could help them lay her to rest.

"Two, it would assist me with these distasteful accusations I have been accused of and three, and my children would believe, okay, I killed a young child and I did things wrong but they would also not be victimised because I'm their dad, that's all."

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Life and Style
Stepping back in time: The Robshaws endured the privations of the 1950s
food + drinkNew BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?