Bridger 'probably responsible for death of April Jones'

Mark Bridger pleads not guilty to girl's murder, but lawyer says he probably caused her death

LAST UPDATED AT 14:22 ON Mon 14 Jan 2013

MARK BRIDGER, the man accused of murdering Welsh girl April Jones, was "probably responsible for her death", his lawyer told a court today. But the former lifeguard denied he abducted or murdered the five-year-old who has been missing from her home since early October.

During a brief appearance by 47-year-old Bridger at Mold Crown Court in Wales, Justice John Griffith-Williams forbade the media from reporting any evidence heard about the case in his court. But he did allow the press to report a statement made by Bridger's defending barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, that his client "accepted" he was "probably responsible" for Jones's death.

Bridger today denied charges of abduction and murder and said he did not try to pervert the course of justice by "unlawfully disposing of and hiding a body", the BBC says.

April Jones was last seen playing with her bike on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the market town of Machynlleth in Powys on 1 October. Bridger, who lives nearby, was arrested the next day, but despite one of the largest searches in UK police history – which was resumed after Christmas by 16 search teams - she has not been found.

April's parents, Coral and Paul, were in court today standing just 10 feet from Bridger during the proceedings, reports the Daily Telegraph. The couple stared at the accused as the charges were read out.

"At one point", the paper says, Bridger appeared to be "making an effort to compose himself" as he entered his not guilty pleas.

Last week, Coral Jones addressed a Facebook message to her missing daughter that said: "Come home so my heart can be fixed". Mrs Jones said she missed April "like hell" and wanted her back in time for her 41st birthday. · 

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