Mark Bridger has today, 30.5.13, been found guilty of murdering five-year-old April Jones.
April went missing in October 2012. A thorough police investigation was launched but her body was never recovered.
Bridger seized April whilst she played near her home in Wales. He later murdered her, concealed and disposed of her body. The jury at Mold Crown Court found Bridger guilty after just over four hours of deliberation.
The press have now revealed that Bridger confessed to the murder whilst on remand in prison. His confession was to a priest who visited him in prison, to whom he told he had disposed of April’s body in a river. Police are thought to have doubted his confession, as it is alleged that he provided many misleading suggestions as to where her body might be.
Police later found fragments of bone, confirmed to have been from April, in Bridger’s fireplace and bath.
The investigation also revealed that Bridger harboured a fascination with child sex abuse images; during the trial the prosecution revealed that he had viewed a cartoon of such activity just hours before April was reported as missing. Police also found a videotape containing footage of a rape and murder scene from a well-known film. The rest of the film was missing.
DS Andy John led the investigation. He is quoted as having said:
“For me the computer evidence points towards an individual who is evil, manipulative and has premeditated this…The unhealthy interest he has in indecent images of children for me is a clear indicator that this individual was going to commit something as horrific as he did.”
Sentence is to take place this afternoon, when this post will be updated.
Bridger will receive a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder, but the tariff is as yet unknown. Because of the aggravating features of this tragic case, Bridger is unlikely to receive less than a thirty-year tariff, and some believe he may receive a whole life sentence.
Will life mean life?
Whole life tariffs are reserved for those convicted of the most serious offences. Sources suggest that there are only 46 prisoners serving whole life sentences within the UK. Five of these individuals appealed their sentences to the European Court of Human Rights last year, citing that the sentence was incompatible with their human rights under article 3. They lost this appeal.
An overview on sentencing can be found here.
More on whole life sentences can be found here.
More on the case can be found here.