Mid Wales

April Jones: Family's campaign debated in Parliament

April Jones
Image caption Schoolgirl April Jones went missing from Machynlleth in October 2012

A campaign by the family of murdered schoolgirl April Jones calling for tougher sentences for sex offenders has been debated in Parliament.

"April's Law" was debated on Monday after a petition reached more than 100,000 signatures.

It calls for sex offenders to remain on the register for life.

Home Office Minister Sarah Newton said a Supreme Court ruling meant they had the right to appeal against staying on the register for life.

Five-year-old April was killed by paedophile Mark Bridger after being snatched from outside her home in Machynlleth, Powys, in October 2012.

Bridger was not on the sex offenders list but indecent images of young children were found on his computer.

The new petition follows one set up in 2013, which attracted 70,000 signatures.

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Media captionThe family hopes "April's Law" will protect other families from the "horror" they went through

April's mother Coral Jones said they might have had April back if Bridger had been flagged up.

"With the law, we're hoping if anything happens like this again, it'll flag up and save a child from going through what April did and a family from going through what we did," she said.

April's sister Jazmin Jones said: "It could have been a different scenario. We could have had a life or a body".

She is hoping April's Law could "bring something good out of something really negative".

The family has also called for the internet to be better policed over images of child abuse.

The debate took place in Westminster Hall and the campaign was backed by the family's local MP Glyn Davies.

But Home Office Minister Sarah Newton said a Supreme Court ruling meant sex offenders had the right to appeal against staying on the sex offenders register for life.

Ms Newton said at the time of that ruling the government was "very disappointed" and "remains disappointed today".

"I am very sympathetic to the demands of the petition and the concerns of the Jones family," she said, "and I really understand why they feel this petition is necessary.

"It is precisely because we are determined to do everything we can to protect the public from predatory sex offenders that we made the minimum possible changes to the law to comply with the ruling," she added.

Image copyright Police
Image caption Mark Bridger received a whole-life sentence for April's murder

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