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How child's play ended in nightmare

OCTOBER 1, 2012, had been a normal school day for five-year-old April Jones.

After leaving class, she had gone for a swimming lesson before returning home. Here, she watched her favourite Disney film, 'Tangled', before tucking into spaghetti on toast.

It was the day of her school parents' evening, attended by her mother Coral and father Paul. April was said to have received a glowing report.

After dinner, she wanted to play outside, but her parents said no. Mrs Jones has described how her daughter "had a bit of a tantrum" until they relented. It was around 7pm and April's parents told her not to be long. This was the last they ever saw of her.

Several miles away, life was unravelling for Mark Bridger. That morning he had received a text from his girlfriend confirming the end of their relationship.

The 47-year-old told his boss he would not be coming into work that day as he needed to "get his head around things".

He spent several hours viewing images of a 14-year-old local girl who was the daughter of his friend, and contacted four women to ask if they wanted to meet him for a drink.

He later attended the parents' evening at April's school, where his daughter was also a pupil. Bridger, who had been drinking, stayed for 20 minutes.

After leaving in his Land Rover, he approached two girls, aged eight and 10, on April's estate.

Shortly afterwards, a witness saw him pull up next to garages on the estate, near to where April was playing with a friend. The child later described seeing April get into the vehicle. His Land Rover was seen at 7.20pm passing a garage and not again until 8.30pm, when a witness spotted it reversing into his driveway.

The exact sequence of events after this is known only by Bridger. The following morning he was seen carrying a bin bag in a field. He was arrested later that day. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent