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
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas