Search goes on as Mark Bridger charged with abduction and murder of April Jones

 

Mark Bridger has been charged with the abduction and murder of missing five-year-old April Jones, who went missing from her Welsh home town on Monday evening.

Bridger, 46, who was arrested the following day, has also been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Iwan Jenkins, the district crown prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, said: "I now have to advise that, having carried out a detailed review of the evidence gathered so far by Dyfed-Powys Police, my conclusion is that there is sufficient evidence to charge Mark Bridger with the murder of April Jones, and that it is in the public interest to do so.

"I have also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with attempting to pervert the course of justice and child abduction."

He said Bridger will appear before Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court on Monday morning.

Mr Jenkins added: "The huge public and media interest in this case is understandable. I would just like to stress that, whilst Mark Bridger stands accused of serious criminal charges, he retains the right to a fair trial.

"I would therefore ask that nothing is placed in the public domain that may undermine the criminal justice process."

Chief Constable Jackie Roberts said in a press conference in Aberystwyth the investigation was "one of the most complex and fast moving inquiries in the history of our force".

She said: "Now that Mark Bridger has been charged with this horrific crime it is time to let the judicial process take its course and time to let the family come to terms with what has happened over the last week.

"In the meantime our efforts to find April will be as meticulous as they have been from the outset of this inquiry until we have exhausted all available options."

Police said the hunt for missing April was continuing after searchers were stood down last night due to atrocious weather.

Superintendent Ian John said: "This morning we have deployed 10 specialist police teams who are conducting a systematic and methodical search in and around the town.

"We continue to have the support of a whole range of search and rescue teams who are using specialist equipment as we continue our efforts.

"We will be keeping April's family fully updated on progress of this investigation.

"Finally, despite today's announcement, we are maintaining the momentum of the search and we remain totally focused and committed to finding April."

April was seen to willingly get into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery on Monday.

Bridger, a local man known to the girl's family, was arrested on suspicion of abduction on Tuesday afternoon.

His Land Rover Discovery was also seized by police and is undergoing forensic examination.

Yesterday police announced Bridger had been arrested on suspicion of murder, indicating they no longer expect to find April alive. They were yesterday granted a final 24 hours to question him.

Emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK have been searching since April vanished.

PA

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