April Jones trial: 'Skull fragments and DNA from blood matching the five-year-old girl' found in murder suspect Mark Bridger's home

Prosecution alleges abduction and killing was sexually motivated

Skull fragments and DNA from blood matching that of April Jones were found at the home of the man accused of the “sexually motivated” murder of the “happy and smiling” five -year-old girl, a court heard.

A charred “boning knife” was also found at the cottage of Mark Bridger, 47, a former abattoir slaughterman, who is accused of snatching the child from outside her home in October last year, it was claimed.

The prosecution alleged that Bridger had a large collection of internet images of child abuse and pictures of April and her two teenage half-sisters which he took from Facebook and other social media sites.

The jury at Mold Crown Court heard that Bridger was fascinated by child murders and kept pictures from notorious cases from around the world. His collection included Soham victims Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Bridger denies abducting and murdering April, whose disappearance in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, sparked the largest search in British police history. Neither her body nor her clothes have ever been found. Bridger claims he accidentally crushed the child to death under the wheels of his Land Rover on the estate where she lived near two of his own children. A combination of “alcohol, adrenaline and panic” meant he could not remember what he had done with her dead or dying body after loading it into the vehicle, however he did later claim to have put it somewhere “out of the rain”, the court heard.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Elwen Evans QC said that on the day April went missing, Bridger had viewed cartoon images of a distressed child being restrained and raped.

A child witness described seeing April getting into the Land Rover before being driven off. But his vehicle did not head towards local hospitals, instead taking a back route out of the estate, it was claimed.

The court heard that Bridger told locals he had served with the SAS and the British military, but this was a “fantasy and a lie”. He had however spent time participating in “survival and bushcraft” and knew the terrain around the Welsh town well.

Miss Evans said the evidence against him painted a “compelling and overwhelming” picture and that he went to “enormous lengths” to cover up her murder. The prosecution said his refusal to reveal the whereabouts of her body amounted to a “cruel game”.

Blood stains allegedly matching April’s DNA were found in the bathroom, living room and hallway of the remote cottage where he lived three miles from April’s home. Bone fragments, believed to be from a child’s skull along with the remnants of a burnt boning knife were also recovered from his wood-burning stove.

Bridger, who is over 6ft tall and told police he was “very strong”, listened intently as the evidence was laid  before the jury of nine women and three men appearing to wipe tears at one point.

Upstairs in the public gallery April’s parents Coral and Paul Jones sought to contain their emotions as the 999 call made by Mrs Jones after her daughter’s disappearance was played.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence