April Jones: Mark Bridger weeps as he is remanded in custody
Suspect will appear at Carnarfon Crown Court on Wednesday charged with murder and abduction
THE MAN accused of murdering Welsh schoolgirl April Jones has appeared in court in Aberystwyth. Mark Bridger, 46, wept as he confirmed that he understood the charges against him: murder, abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Bridger, who was first charged on Saturday, was remanded in custody and will appear at Caernarfon Crown Court on Wednesday.
Dozens of police officers were on hand to prevent trouble when Bridger arrived at the magistrates court. One of the organisers of the army of volunteers who have been searching for April told The Daily Telegraph that he had asked locals not to go to court. "We don't want people throwing stones at the prison van and that kind of thing," said Carl Jones. "We need to keep the focus on April."
Yesterday hundreds of locals walked from the estate where April lived in Machynlleth to the town's church where the parish priest, the Rev Kathleen Rogers, echoed police advice that April is unlikely to be found alive.
"We cannot bring little April, our sweet and innocent little girl, home as we had hoped," said the priest. "But our hope has now moved on to the sure and certain hope that she is in the arms of Jesus."
The Times described the service as "an extraordinary show of compassion for her grieving family".
"In a solemn and deeply poignant tribute to the missing five-year-old, a community blackened by tragedy put on an extraordinary show of solidarity in her name," the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile the search for April continues. "As the townspeople prayed and sang, police continued to hunt for any sign of April. Mountain rescue teams were being stood down but the number of specialist police searchers grew to about 100 officers who continue to focus on the area around the town and the Dyfi river," said The Guardian.
The Telegraph says that police are now searching a disused quarry in Ceinws, about five miles from Machynlleth, near to where Bridger had been living before April went missing.