April Jones murder trial: Jury sent home to consider verdict


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The Independent Online

A jury has retired to begin its deliberations in the trial of the man accused of murdering April Jones.

Mark Bridger is accused at Mold Crown Court of abducting and murdering the five-year-old in a “sexually motivated” attack.

The 47-year-old, a former slaughterhouse worker from Ceinws, denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice.

He claims he killed April when he accidentally “crushed” her with his Land Rover but cannot remember what he did with the body because he was drunk and panicking.

Today the jury of nine women and three men was asked to begin its deliberations after a month long trial.

In her closing speech to the jury, Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, said: “The evidence overwhelmingly compels the conclusion that the defendant is guilty of each count in this case.”

Beginning his address, Brendan Kelly QC, defending, urged the jury to put aside the “obvious emotions” attached to the case and decide their verdict on the evidence.

He said: “Mark Bridger denies these offences, he denies the inferences which you have been invited to draw, he challenges the 'compelling' evidence which the Crown advances, he says he is not guilty of these offences.”

Beginning his summing up, trial judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams gave the jury legal directions and urged them to conduct a “dispassionate review of the evidence.”

April disappeared as she was playing with a friend near their homes on the Bryn-y-Gog estate, Machynlleth, Powys, on October 1 last year.

The jury was sent home and will resume its deliberations tomorrow from 10am.