Mark Bridger guilty of murdering April Jones: Judge's sentencing speech in full

 

Mark Bridger was described as a paedophile and a “pathological and glib liar” as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail by Mr Justice Griffith Williams.

Here are the judge's sentencing remarks in full (excluding names of children subject to a reporting ban):

"The sentence for murder is life imprisonment but I have to decide the length of the minimum term you must serve.

"Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides that if the court considers the seriousness of the offence is exceptionally high, the appropriate starting point should be a whole life order and that the cases which would normally fall within that category include the murder of a child which involves the abduction of the child or sexual or sadistic motivation. While I am satisfied that the seriousness of your offending is exceptionally high, I must nonetheless consider whether a substantial minimum term, in excess of a starting point of 30 years, would be sufficient to reflect the gravity of these offences.

"For the last four weeks, the court has listened to compelling evidence of your guilt, evidence which has also demonstrated that you are a pathological and glib liar. There is no doubt in my mind that you are a paedophile who has for some time harboured sexual and morbid fantasies about young girls, storing on your laptop not only images of pre-pubescent and pubescent girls, but foul pornography of the gross sexual abuse of young children.

"What prompted you on Monday October 1 to live out one of those fantasies is a matter for speculation but it may have been the combination of the ending of one sexual relationship and your drinking. Whatever, you set out to find a little girl to abuse. I am not sure you targeted April specifically - it was probably fortuitous that she can be seen on some of the images, which you stored on your laptop, of her older sister - but you were on the prowl for a young girl.

"April would not have been afraid of you, partly because you have some charm and she may well have seen you about the estate and probably because you let her know your son was a friend of her brother (just as you had tried to charm her sister into allowing you to be her Facebook friend by mentioning your links to her parents). And so it was that, innocently and trustingly, April got into your Land Rover smiling and happy.

"What followed is known only to you but this much is certain - you abducted her for a sexual purpose and then murdered her and disposed of her body to hide the evidence of your sexual abuse of her, which probably occurred on the way from the estate to your home because there is some 60 minutes of your time which cannot be accounted for.

"I cannot infer from the evidence where you murdered her but if she was alive when you took her to the house, she died there.

"How you disposed of her body must remain a mystery. It will serve no purpose for me to speculate as to what happened but all the indications are that you burnt at least a part of her in the wood burner.

"The grief of April's parents cannot be over-stated. They lived with the torment of a missing daughter, praying that she would be found alive and then, following your arrest, with the knowledge that you were providing the police with no assistance at all as to her whereabouts. To add to that torment, they have had to endure the spectacle of your hypocritical sympathy for their loss and of your tears, flowing not because of any regret for your crimes, but because of your enduring self-pity.

"Without the knowledge of what happened to April, her parents will probably never come to terms with their grievous loss, described so eloquently in the impact statement. It is to be hoped, for their sakes... and for the sakes of all those who mourn April, that the verdicts will bring some measure of closure.

"Your offences were aggravated by their premeditation and by the destruction of at least a part of her body and the concealment of the rest. It is also a relevant consideration that you not only abducted April with a sexual motive but then sexually abused her in some way.

"While I have had regard to the absence of any relevant conviction, I have no doubt there can be only one sentence.

"For the offence of murder, I sentence you to life imprisonment with a whole life order. There will be no separate penalties on counts 1 and 3."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen