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T onight a Channel 5 documentary, The Murder of April Jones: 5 Years On, explores the events surrounding the murder of the five-year-old in Here's everything you need to know about her killer Mark Bridger and the circumstances around the crime that shocked the nation. A pril Jones went missing on the evening of October 1 as she played on her bicycle close to her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth, Wales. Detectives quickly launched what became the biggest search in British police history, with specialist teams spending six months scouring an area spanning almost 40 square miles.
F ormer slaughterman Mark Bridger, 47, who lived locally, was arrested the day after she vanished and later convicted of her Need Machynlleth girl for a couple of hours and murder. It is believed he sexually assaulted her before killing her and disposing of her remains with such thoroughness that virtually no trace has ever been found. Born in Carshalton in Surrey inBridger was the middle child of police officer Graham Bridger and his wife Pamela.
After leaving school with six CSEs, he enrolled at Croydon College to study engineering, but in an early of his failure to commit to anything properly, he failed to finish the course. I nhe was convicted of theft and firearms offences and placed on probation for two years and in SeptemberBridger pleaded guilty to using threatening words and behaviour with intent and also battery. His regular brushes with the law continued and in April he was convicted of assault after he punched a man in the face following a row in a pub. He has at least six children by four different women and spent his adult life lurching from one failed relationship to the next.
T o Bridger fantasy was far more appealing than reality and he wove an elaborate tapestry of lies to impress people, claiming he had enjoyed a glittering career in the armed forces before moving to Wales. By the time of April's murder, Bridger would spend his days drinking up to 25 cans of cider and watching violent pornographic videos and indecent images of children at home. After leaving school that afternoon, April had gone for a swimming lesson at the local leisure centre before returning home.
After dinner, she wanted to play out with her friends on the estate. Her parents initially said no, but they eventually relented — a decision that must haunt them now.
It was around 7pm and they told her not to be long. This was the last her parents ever saw of her. M eanwhile, several miles away, life was unravelling for Bridger. That morning he had received a text message from his girlfriend confirming their relationship was over. Bridger told his boss he would not be coming into work that day as he needed to "get his head around things". After making a trip into Machynlleth he returned to his cottage in Ceinws, a short distance away, and logged on to his laptop computer.
H e spent several hours viewing images of a year-old local girl who was the daughter of a friend of his, and also contacted four women via text or Facebook to ask if they wanted to meet him for a drink. Bridger, who says he had been drinking beforehand and was not sober, stayed for around 20 minutes. Shortly after leaving in his Land Rover Discovery, he approached a couple of school girls aged eight and 10 who were playing in the local area.
Winding down his car window, Bridger invited one of them to a sleepover with his daughter, before driving off. Shortly afterwards, a witness saw him pull up next to garages on the estate, near to where April was playing with a seven-year-old friend who lived close by. According to her friend, she went willingly and was not taken. It was not seen again until 8. The exact sequence of events after this is known only by Bridger, although he insists he cannot remember it. We know that shortly before midnight he exchanged text messages with a friend, in which he said: "Good night, yes, benefits sorted I hope.
Whether April was already dead by this point, and whether her body had already been disposed of, remains unknown. The following morning three witnesses saw him carrying a black bin bag in a field near his home, although he claimed he was merely taking a comfort break.
L ocals who were busy searching for April also spotted him near the river that day, walking along the bank towards the Dovey Bridge. When they asked him why he was not searching too, he insisted he was, and asked them if they had found anything yet. It was not long before the police closed in on him, however.
He was arrested around two hours later, just outside Machynlleth, marking the beginning of the eight-month justice process. B ridger, a father of six, was convicted on May 30, following a month long trial at Mold Crown Court in north Wales.
He was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by disposing, concealing or destroying April's body. Bridger had admitted killing the schoolgirl, but claimed it had happened accidentally when he hit her with his car. He claimed he placed her body in his Land Rover and went for help, but then had no recollection of what he had done with the body. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions. Telegraph News. Telegraph logo This video content is no longer available.
To watch The Telegraph's latest video content please visit youtube. What happened to April Jones? Who is Mark Bridger? What happened on the day she disappeared? What happened in the cottage? Sweet dreams.
What happened at the trial? His story was rejected by the jury and he was given a whole life sentence. We've noticed you're adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Thank you for your support.Need Machynlleth girl for a couple of hours
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April Jones' father cannot remember her murder after he was struck by a brain virus