Mid Wales

April Jones: Parents watch as killer Mark Bridger's home demolished

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Media captionApril's parents, Paul and Coral Jones, at the demolition site in Machynlleth

The parents of April Jones said the demolition of the cottage where Mark Bridger is believed to have killed the five-year-old allowed her spirit to "be free".

Work to flatten the house in Ceinws, Powys, took about an hour.

Coral and Paul Jones said coming to the site had "opened a wound" but added April's spirit "can now be free".

Bridger was given a whole-life term for abducting and killing the schoolgirl from Machynlleth in October 2012.

Mr and Mrs Jones, surrounded by family members, held hands as they watched the demolition. Mrs Jones was visibly upset.

She said: "It was a dreadful thing that happened here. It will not be a final closure.

"The last two years have been hard. We take each day as it comes.

"We have been before but coming back today has really opened a wound."

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The demolition of the cottage took around an hour
Image caption Walls were reduced to rubble in a short time
Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Coral and Paul Jones arrive at the cottage ahead of its demolition

Mr Jones added: "We stick together and that is our strength."

The couple and their children watched as a mechanical claw tore down the walls of the cottage.

As the cottage disappeared in front of their eyes, Mrs Jones said: "April's spirit can be now be free from it all. She was murdered there and we can have some peace."

She said she did not want a memorial garden on the site but wanted to leave it to villagers to decide what should happen there.

She told BBC Radio 5Live: "From the word go, we've always wanted this house knocked down. A terrible thing happened here and we go past - all you do is turn your head and look at it and all you can think of the terrible thing that happened to our little girl.

"It's a constant reminder."

From Nick Bourne at the scene

Image caption The demolition was requested by April's parents

April Jones' family huddled close and held hands as the digger went to work, flattening the white brick walls of the house where she was believed to have been murdered.

A small group of people and the press gathered around the safety fencing to watch the contractors complete the task in about an hour, as buses and other village traffic went by as normal.

Only when the walls had been razed did the Jones family leave the demolition site.

Coral Jones said visiting the scene had "opened a wound" and that she will ever forget the "nightmare" of losing a daughter.

Her husband Paul said the demolition would provide them with some relief, explaining that the house had been a reminder as it could be seen from the main road they used frequently.

Mr Jones said: "For us, it's a closure, and the end of a chapter, and perhaps we can move on a little bit.

"We have got friends here as well which we haven't visited because it's that hard to come into the village."

The couple said they were trying to focus on the good memories of April.

"We try not to think of the horrific night that she went through. She was a happy-go-lucky girl, loved singing, loved her school and her friends. (She) liked splashing in puddles, everything.

"We just remember the happy times, not the nightmare," said Mrs Jones.

"And eating the cakes," added Mr Jones.

Image copyright April Jones's parents
Image caption April was abducted while playing near her home in Machynlleth
Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The family watched as the demolition went ahead
Image caption Coral Jones said April's spirit could be freed with the destruction of the cottage
Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption April's mother said they tried to focus on the happy memories of their daughter

Bridger is believed to have murdered April at the cottage but her remains have not been found.

Builders began preparing the house to be flattened last week and the roof and timbers were removed.

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Media captionThe cottage killer Mark Bridger rented is being demolished

The Welsh government, which bought the house and promised to knock it down, said the rubble would be cleared from the site and disposed of.

Officials said it would not be recycled as is normally the case.

The government said there were currently no plans about what to do with the land, adding it would be something for the local community to decide.

Image caption Work will continue to remove every trace of the house
Image copyright Police
Image caption Mark Bridger was sentenced to a whole-life term for murdering April

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