What happened to April Jones and why has her body never been found?

APRIL Jones, a “happy-go-lucky” girl who had a mild form of cerebral palsy, was abducted while playing on her bicycle near her home in Machynlleth, Wales, eight years ago.

The horrific murder case prompted one of the most intensive police searches in British history, and is the subject of a Channel 5 documentary, The Interrogation Tapes.

What happened to April Jones?

Five-year-old April Jones vanished after being seen getting into a vehicle near her home in Machynlleth, Wales, on October 1, 2012.

Local and national press immediately covered her disappearance and the subsequent appeal to find her.

At the time, her mum made an emotional appeal about her daughter, which led to Prime Minister David Cameron also issuing an appeal.

A large search operation was launched in the area near her home including police and search and rescue teams.

The day after April vanished, a 46-year-old local man, Mark Bridger, was arrested as he was found to match the description of the man in the vehicle she had got into.

Although April's body has never been discovered, DNA evidence found during the search convinced police that she had been brutally murdered.

Why has April's body never been found?

Mark Bridger claimed he could not remember what he did with April's body.

The killer claimed ran over the five-year-old in his car.

The biggest police search in Britain failed to track down April’s remains and was finally called off.

Bridger even told a priest he had dumped the girl's body in a river.

The funeral service for April Jones took place in Machynlleth on September 26, 2013.

What is the documentary about?

April Jones: The Interrogation Tapes, has recordings from police interviews with the child killer.

It includes Bridger's claim that he had injured the little girl in a traffic accident and that she had died in his car.

It's the first time the tapes have been aired on TV.

Forensic psychologist Dr Joe Sullivan features in the documentary – showing on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight – as do members of April's family.

Who is Mark Bridger?

Mark Leonard Bridger was born in Carshalton, London, and is the middle of three children.

When he was 19 he was convicted of firearms offences and theft before moving to Wales.

There he was convicted of criminal damage, affray and driving without insurance in 1991.

The following year he was convicted again for driving while disqualified and without insurance.

In 2004 he was then convicted of battery and threatening behaviour before being found guilty in 2007 for assault.

Bridger is said to have worked in an abattoir, as a hotel porter, firefighter, lifeguard, mechanic and welder.

What happened in the trial after Mark Bridger was charged?

Bridger was charged with child abduction, murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice, before being additionally charged with unlawful concealment and disposal of a body.

On January 14, 2013, he pleaded not guilty but accepted he was "probably responsible" for her death.

At Mold Crown Court on April 29, 2013, a forensic expert told the court fragments of human bone and blood which matched April's DNA were found in parts of his cottage.

Bridger claimed he had accidentally run over the youngster in his car and could not remember disposing of her body due to alcohol and panic.

On May 30, 2013, he was found guilty of abduction, murder and perverting the course of justice.

Bridger was sentenced to life in prison.

The conviction led to the creation of tougher laws for sex offenders.

Trial judge, Justice Griffith Williams, said in his sentencing remarks: “There is no doubt in my mind that you are a paedophile, who has for some time harboured sexual and morbid fantasies about young girls.

“You abducted her for a sexual purpose and then murdered her and disposed of her body to hide the evidence of your sexual abuse of her."

Prosecutors said after the verdict that Bridger was a “cold-hearted murderer” who had “spun a web of lies and half-truths” to try to get away with his “truly horrific” crime.

April's mum Coral Jones, 46, marked the sixth anniversary of her daughter's death with a heartbreaking Facebook post about the day she learned April was missing.



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