April Jones trial: Five-year-old 'never been to suspect's home'

Mold Crown Court has heard Mark Bridger claimed to have accidentally knocked April over with his Land Rover

A man accused of murdering April Jones told police he did not believe the five-year old had ever been in his house, a court has heard.

Mark Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, Powys, denies abducting and murdering April, who went missing from near her Machynlleth home on 1 October 2012.

The prosecution has told Mold Crown Court that April's blood was found in several locations at his home.

Mr Bridger says he accidentally knocked her over with his Land Rover.

He told officers he did not know how he disposed of her body because he was suffering memory loss caused by alcohol and panic, the jury has heard.

Start Quote

I don't believe I took her to the house because I cannot ever remember seeing her in the car”

End Quote Mark Bridger in police interview

A forensics scientist who examined the vehicle has told the court there was no evidence of any type of collision with April.

On Monday, the court was told that Mr Bridger had been asked when April had last been in his house. He replied: "In the six hours that I lost between leaving Machynlleth... I don't believe I took her to the house because I cannot ever remember seeing her in the car."

The officer said: "She's never been into your house?" Mr Bridger: "Never."

He was also asked about blood found on the bathroom wall at his house which the court has heard matched April's DNA.

"I had obviously gone to the toilet at some stage," he said. "Obviously there has been a trace of blood on my hands... the only explanation I have got to that is I have put my hand up against the wall to go to the toilet."

He went on to say he may have washed his hands and flicked them, sending traces of blood onto the wall.

The officer asked whether the blood was there because April had been assaulted in the bathroom. He replied: "Not at all."

Later on Monday, the jury heard evidence from Det Insp Mark James, the senior investigating officer in the case.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Brendan Kelly QC, the officer was asked whether the area where the abduction was alleged to have taken place had been searched by specialist teams.

Artist's impression of Mark Bridger Mark Bridger denies abducting and murdering April Jones

Det Insp James said it had not been searched by specialists.

Earlier, in written evidence from a detention officer, Mr Bridger discussed the ways in which he had possibly disposed of April's body.

The court heard how he would not have got rid of the body in water because he was "scared of drowning".

The jury was also told the defendant spoke about the possibility of burning April but said he knew through his fire training that like pork, human flesh "smells".

Although he could not remember what he did with April, he told police: "I wouldn't have put her in a bin because that's disgusting."

In a later interview, Mr Bridger was again told there was no forensic evidence to support a fatal road collision but he dismissed evidence that April was seen getting happily into his car.

He said his "extensive knowledge of first aid" would have meant he had spoke to April when he picked her up injured from under his car. "I'm talking to her as I've picked her up," he said.

He went on to say that she would not have been able to open the passenger door and was physically too small to get into the vehicle.

Start Quote

I have stuck by my story and I still stick by my story”

End Quote Mark Bridger in police interview

Later, asked if he sexually assaulted April he said: "I most certainly did not."

Asked if he killed her in the car he said "no", adding that he "didn't know she had ceased" until he tried to revive her.

Asked if he had suffocated her, he replied: "No."

Asked if he had used a sharp weapon, he said: "I did not use any sharp implement or knife to injure."

He went on to say: "I did not sexually assault April... there was no sexual assault on April."

The officer went on to ask about his viewing of sexual images on the day April went missing and suggested it was a "build up" of sexual frustration. He replied: "Why hasn't it built up before then?"

It was put to him that he had sexually assaulted April and did not want her body found because it would provide evidence.

Indecent images

He said: "This is not the case at all... I have stuck by my story and I still stick by my story."

He went on to say that he wanted in his "heart of hearts" to say "sorry" to April's parents because he wanted them to be able to lay her to rest.

The jury heard this was Mr Bridger's final police interview and he was later charged with her murder.

On Monday morning, the court had heard details of an interview in which he explained to police why indecent images of girls were found on his computer.

Mark Bridger's home Mark Bridger said April Jones had never been to his house

He said he had been researching body and breast development so he could better understand how his daughter was growing up.

Later in the interview he was shown a Facebook-type picture of April with one of her older sisters.

Asked if he knew who the younger girl was, he replied: "That is April."

The interviewer noted at this point that Mr Bridger appeared upset.

He was also asked whether there was any coincidence that he had researched murders of young girls and was now being questioned about April's death.

He replied: "There shouldn't be because I told you the story of April... I didn't abduct her," adding that it had been an accident and there had been no sexual pleasure.

Biggest search

After the lunch break, the jury heard from lead police search advisor Insp Gareth Thomas, who said he had been told the search was the largest in British policing history.

There were 689 separate search areas over 32 square kilometres of "varying geography". Mountain rescue, fire services, coastguards, specialist search teams, dogs and others were all involved.

The search of Machynlleth town alone was arguably the biggest search that Dyfed Powys Police had ever carried out, the court heard.

Asked whether April would have been found if she had been there, he said he was "extremely confident" that would have been the case.

The jury later heard how Mr Bridger had resigned from the London Fire Service in 1984, writing a resignation letter in which he said he felt he could "not come up to the standards at the training centre".

The court was also told that a urine and blood sample taken from Mr Bridger several hours after his arrest on 2 October showed he had no alcohol in his system.

As well as abduction and murder, Mr Bridger also denies intending to pervert the course of justice.

The case continues.

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