April Jones: Bone fragments kept by police for symbolic funeral

April Jones
Image caption Police said they had a 'moral' obligation to retain some bone fragments for the family

Police hope the parents of April Jones will soon have some remains of their daughter so they can hold a symbolic funeral.

Tiny fragments of the five-year-old's skull found in Mark Bridger's wood burner were held back from forensic testing.

Det Supt Andrew John said police had a "moral" obligation to ensure Paul, 41, and Coral Jones, 43, of Machynlleth, Powys, "had something".

Bridger was jailed for life murder.

The 47-year-old stuck steadfastly to his story about not remembering where he put April's remains.

Referring to the grief of April's parents, Mr Justice John Griffith Williams said: "Without the knowledge of what happened to April, her parents will probably never come to terms with their grievous loss.

"It is to be hoped, for their sake and for the sakes of all those who mourn April, that the verdicts will bring some measure of closure."

Det Supt John said Mr and Mrs Jones have shown "enormous strength, courage and dignity" and deserve some form of closure.

"In the most difficult of times they have managed themselves extremely well," he said.

He hopes the bone fragments found in Bridger's home, which the prosecution said belonged to April, could be returned to her parents so they could carry out some form of funeral for their daughter.

Supt John said that it was ultimately a matter for the coroner.

But he added: "My hope is in the event of us not finding anything further of April's remains, that we will be able to allow the family to have some form of closure in terms of a burial or otherwise, based on what we have managed to recover thus far."

He said the police had ensured that not all the bone fragments were destroyed, as some had to be, in the forensic process.

"From a moral issue, we had to ensure that we retained something that we could possible allow the family to have," he said.

Mr and Mrs Jones, in an interview with The Sun said they hoped the coroner would give them the bone pieces in order to carry out the symbolic funeral.

Mr Jones told the newspaper: "It's all we've got and it's looking like all we'll ever get. It's so, so hard."

Image caption Paul and Coral Jones were united as a couple, said police liaision officers

Det Con Dave Roberts and Det Sgt Hayley Heard were appointed to act as family liaison officers on the morning after April's abduction.

They too had praise for the way Mr and Mrs Jones conducted themselves throughout the most traumatic of times.

'Dreadful information'

Det Sgt Heard said: "They are very united as a couple. They have shown amazing dignity throughout the whole of the investigation and they're very honest with each other and honest with us."

"We have come in at this dreadful period in their lives, the most traumatic time, and they just accepted us and shared information with us from the very early days which has been instrumental in the investigation."

She added: "Their lives have changed forever but they're going to have to come to terms with what's happened and hopefully slowly move on."

"There have been some harrowing times in court, I think particularly the 999 call, the very initial call, Coral became very upset when she heard that - she was reliving the situation all over again.

"So that was very difficult to listen to, as was a lot of the other evidence."

Det Con Roberts said: "They have trusted us and they have allowed us to, not organise their lives but set the course to get them through this dreadful period of time."