April Jones: Devastated parents planning funeral
THE devastated parents of murdered April Jones are finally able to plan a funeral for their daughter - almost 12 months after the schoolgirl was murdered.
April, five, was snatched by Mark Bridger outside her home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on October 1 last year.
The 47-year-old paedophile is serving a whole life sentence for killing the youngster.
Despite one of the biggest search operations in police history, April's body has never been found.
When being questioned by police and during his trial, Bridger repeatedly claimed he could not remember what he had done with her.
April's parents Coral and Paul hope that an inquest hearing next week will enable them to finally lay what remains of their daughter to rest.
A court has previously heard that fragments of a child's skull were found in the ashes of Bridger's fireplace at his home in Ceinws.
It is believed they will be placed in a pink coffin - which will be taken through her hometown on a horse drawn carriage.
Mum Coral, 41, told The Sun newspaper: "They are all we have. We can now finally lay April to rest. Our hell this past year has been made worse because we did not have April's body."
It is hoped the opening of April's inquest on Monday will see an interim death certificate being issued - a process which will allow her parents to properly plan her funeral.
Although no details have been officially confirmed, reports say mourners will be asked to wear pink, which was April's favourite colour. It also became a symbol of hope in the wake of her disappearance with scores of pink ribbons being put up by townsfolk.
Hundreds of people are expected to turn up to say their farewells to the little girl, with a possible venue being St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.
Seven days after April was last seen alive a special service was held at the church - which also saw 700 locals walk through the streets in a show of solidarity.
Local councillor Michael Williams said a funeral was the "right and proper" thing to happen.
"I don't think it will be a final goodbye but it will be another step in remembering all the wonderful times that the family had together," he said.
"It will bring people together again in one place to remember the life of a little child that was taken so savagely from the family and community."
Father-of-six Bridger is only the 37th person to be given a whole-life tariff - that means he will die behind bars.
Following a lengthy trial, he was handed the sentence at Mold Crown Court in May.