In Brief

April Jones trial: Bridger had 'interest in child porn'

Man accused of abducting and murdering five-year-old interested in 'rape, young girls and murder', jury told

THE MAN accused of abducting and murdering Welsh five-year-old April Jones, has a "clear interest in child pornography" and watched a cartoon depicting the rape of a visibly distressed girl on the day she disappeared, a jury was told today.

As the trial of former lifeguard Mark Bridger got underway, prosecuting QC Elwen Evans told the court that the 47-year-old had a "clear interest" in high-profile child murder cases such as the Soham killings of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the BBC reports.

Evans told the jury at Mold Crown Court that Bridger's laptop contained images of child sex abuse and pictures of children who lived near him in Machynlleth, Wales. An examination of his computer showed Bridger had used search terms including: "France: British schoolgirl raped and murdered, "naked young five year old girls" and "nudism five-year-old", Evans added.

Bridger, 47, denies abducting and murdering April in October 2012 and intending to pervert the course of justice. He admits he "probably" ran over and killed Jones, but says he cannot remember what happened afterwards.

But Evans told the court that Bridger's statement was undermined by CCTV and forensic evidence: "You will have to decide whether pretty five-year-old April was abducted and murdered or run over by accident and killed, as the defendant says. We say his interest in pornography, young girls, rape and murder cases is all too relevant."

Jones' parents sat in the public gallery as the court was told that Bridger was an "experienced swordsman" who knew how to use knives. Traces of Jones' blood were found in the living room, hallway and bathroom of Bridger's house and bone fragments were found in the remains of a fire at his house were consistent with those from the skull of a child, the Daily Mail reports.

Evans added that Jones was last seen getting into the defendant's Land Rover on 1 October shortly after Bridger's girlfriend split up with him and after he viewed the cartoon depicting rape. Despite the largest search in UK police history Jones' body has never been found. The trial continues.

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