April Jones trial: I don’t know what I did with child’s body, says Bridger
Published 23/05/2013 | 12:46
The man accused of abducting and murdering schoolgirl April Jones in a sexually motivated attack today told a jury he put her body "somewhere where it has not been found".
On his second day of cross examination Mark Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, mid-Wales, answered questions about the search for April's body.
Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, told Mold Crown Court that after April's disappearance police mounted the biggest search in British history.
She said police had "looked everywhere", and asked Bridger: "Where did you put the body?"
Bridger, who claims his memory has gone blank after he knocked April down in a car accident, said: "I can't recall. I still believe I have placed her somewhere."
Miss Evans said April's body has not been found because Bridger was trying to cover up what he had done.
She said: "Why has April's body, not any a part of it, been found?"
The defendant replied: "I have put her somewhere where it hasn't been found."
Bridger denied putting the body somewhere "carefully chosen".
Miss Evans said: "It's just one of those things? That wherever you have put her was just a search site that the police never looked? Is that what you are saying?"
Bridger replied: "You are asking me to speculate here and I can't do that."
Miss Evans added: "You really are not going to give us any assistance as to what you did?"
Bridger said he told police at the time about the places he had been and walked, including caves and rivers.
Miss Evans said police had been "up hill and down dale, down mine shafts and not found her anywhere".
Bridger denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice by disposing of, concealing or destroying April's body.
April disappeared on October 1 last year.
The prosecution say Bridger snatched and murdered her in a sexually motivated attack.
Bridger says he accidentally killed April when he ran her over and accepts he must have got rid of her body, but he says he cannot remember how he disposed of it because he was suffering memory loss caused by alcohol and panic.
Earlier the trial heard how Bridger viewed images of child pornography on his laptop on the day April went missing and that forensic investigators discovered traces of April's blood in Bridger's living room, hall and bathroom.
Bridger told the jury he had a recollection of "holding" April and placing her on the floor in front of the fireplace in his living room at his cottage, Mount Pleasant.
Miss Evans put it to him that that was a "major" memory to recall.
"Up until this recollection your story had been that April had never been to the house," she went on, asking when the memory had "come back" to him.
Bridger told the jury it was during discussions with his legal team.
Miss Evans said: "It's a memory that has come back to you because you realised it's a fact that April's blood was on the carpet."
Asked about the presence of saws, hacksaws and knives in his living room, which the prosecutor described as "weaponry", Bridger told the court they were "tools" for outdoor activities.
"I love my bushcraft," he said: "They are tools I have used - saws for cutting wood, hacksaws for making knife handles and walking stick handles - all of which I do in my living room."
He denied he owned a "boning knife", saying it was nothing more than a "standard kitchen knife".
He added that two pairs of handcuffs in the living room were "just decorative".
Earlier, Miss Evans asked Bridger whether he had been "sexually frustrated" on the day April disappeared.
He said: "No, not at all."
She asked if he had looked at indecent images of children on his laptop that day.
The defendant replied: "I can't remember if I looked at it, I clicked on a picture."
Miss Evans then said: "Is it right to say that Monday October 1 last year was the day that your relationship with your girlfriend had finished?"
Bridger told the court it was.
Questioned about the indecent images of children which were found on his laptop, Miss Evans asked the defendant: "Are you a paedophile?"
"No", Bridger said.
The barrister continued: "Why do you have indecent images of children on your computer?"
Bridger replied: "A lot of them were for looking into the development of my son and daughter.
"Some I didn't even know were there. Others I put aside to complain."
Miss Evans said that was "absolute nonsense" adding: "You deliberately saved each and every one of those pictures."
Bridger said there were many pictures he had never looked at.
The jury was then shown examples of searches carried out on the laptop. The first was "France British schoolgirl raped and murdered".
He told the court he conducted that search because it referred to a case which took place near where he was taking his children on holiday.
Questioned about a further search, "naked five-year-old girls", he said: "That's a mistake I made on that one, it should have been 15.
"This was all to do with my daughter's development.
"It was a mis-type."
After showing the jury another search, "nudism five year old", Miss Evans suggested: "Your explanation for that is the same typo, is it?"
He said, "no", and told the jury he had been looking for: "Pictures that were not offensive to my son and daughter of body structure and development."
He said the search, "animated porn girls", was to find the postal address for the companies involved so he could protest to them.
Miss Evans said: "Mr Bridger, you are advancing a complete fantasy as to what your reasons are for your computer pornography."
"No," the defendant replied.
"That is the truth," Miss Evans said.
Press AssociationFollow @Independent_ie