Mark Bridger appears in court via video link over April Jones murder

The former lifeguard spoke to confirm his name and that he could properly hear the proceedings at Caernarfon Crown Court in North Wales.

The man accused of murdering missing five-year-old April Jones appeared in court via video link today.

Mark Bridger spoke to confirm his name and that he could properly hear the proceedings at Caernarfon Crown Court in North Wales.

The bearded former lifeguard, who sat wearing thin-rimmed glasses and a black jumper in front of a grey curtain, is accused of abducting and murdering April, and of unlawfully disposing of and concealing of her body with intent to pervert the course of justice.

During the 20 minute hearing, Bridger answered the clerk's questions by responding: “Yes ma'am.”

The court heard that the prosecution had been given notice of Bridger's “likely defence” which had been taken in interviews.

Mr Justice Griffith-Williams also said any decision about where any future trial would be held would be made after consultation with the victim's family.

The court heard that some of the witnesses in the case are as young as seven-years-old.

The 46-year-old, of Mount Pleasant farmhouse in the village of Ceinws, near Machynlleth, leaned forward at one point, as he appeared to be struggling to hear.

The case was adjourned until January 11 while investigations continue, the court was told.

Bridger was remanded into custody and no application for bail was made.

When asked by the judge if he understood what was happening, the defendant responded: “Yes sir.”

Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, said forensic and other “extensive investigations” were continuing “apace” and the judge agreed that “matters may develop”.

But Mr Justice Griffith-Williams said it was his intention to try the case “at the earliest possible date”.

April was last seen near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the Mid Wales town on Monday evening last week.

Bridger was arrested the following day, and charged the following Saturday, but the search for April's body goes on.

Her parents, Coral Jones, 40, and husband Paul, 44, had allowed her to play out late as a treat after she received a glowing school report that day at a parents' evening which Bridger also attended.

The case sparked an outpouring of support for April's parents, with hundreds of people joining the search for their daughter and offering their assistance.