April Jones: Mark Bridger charged with girl's murder

Iwan Jenkins, CPS: "There is sufficient evidence to charge Mark Bridger with the murder of April Jones"

A man has been charged with the murder of missing five-year-old April Jones.

Mark Bridger, 46, was arrested the day after April went missing from near her home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on Monday evening.

He has also been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and child abduction.

Mr Bridger is due before magistrates in Aberystwyth on Monday. Dyfed-Powys Police said they remained "focused and committed" to finding April.

Ten specialist teams have been conducting a "systematic and methodical" search from daybreak on Saturday, police said.

Mark Bridger Mark Bridger has been charged with April's murder

At a press conference at Aberystwyth on Saturday afternoon, Iwan Jenkins, District Crown Prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service said he had been in "close contact" with the police.

"In particular, we have been offering advice and guidance to the police since the suspect Mark Bridger was arrested last Tuesday," he said.

He said a "detailed review of the evidence gathered so far by Dyfed-Powys Police" led him to his decision that there was "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 added.

"Accordingly, I have authorised Dyfed Powys Police to charge him with these offences and he will appear before Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court on Monday morning."

He 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."

'Fast moving'

Chief Constable Jackie Roberts and Superintendent Ian John say the search for April will continue

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Jackie Roberts said the inquiry had been one of the "most complex and fast moving" in the history of the force "and one our communities have never had to face before".

"It has been marked by the coming together of people from across the country with one aim in mind, to return April to her family," she said.

"The community of Machynlleth and the surrounding areas turned out in force using social networks to get the message out and appeal for April's safe return."

She said she had been overwhelmed with the level of help from the volunteers.

"I have spent time with the family, and they are overwhelmed with the number of people who wanted to help in any way they possibly could," she added.

"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."

Search

A fresh search for April resumed at daybreak on Saturday in and around her hometown of Machynlleth after she was last seen on Monday evening on the Bryn-y-Gog estate at 19:00 BST

It followed a decision by police to suspend night-time searches on Friday.

Diane Jones helped raise more than £1,000 to support those looking for April

Hundreds of specialist search officers have been involved with more than 60 specialist trained officers made up of all the emergency services as well as dozens of mountain rescue teams.

Supt Ian John said the search would continue.

"This morning we have deployed 10 specialist search teams to carry out a systematic and methodical search in and around the town," he said.

"We continue to have the support of a whole range of search and rescue teams.

"We are using specialist equipment as we continue our efforts.

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

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

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