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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?