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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

April Jones trial: bloodstains in Mark Bridger's home offer clues to child's fate

Heavy bloodstains in the living room of the man who allegedly abducted and murdered April Jones may suggest the five-year-old girl had been lying in the area for some time, an expert has claimed.
Emma Howes, a forensic scientist, told Mold crown court the considerable staining close to Mark Bridger's log burner could indicate the blood came directly from April rather than from an object wet with it. She also told the jury there was a trail of dripping blood in the living room, from the door to the centre of the room.
The prosecution claims that Bridger, a 47-year-old former slaughterman and lifeguard, abducted April, murdered her and then concealed, disposed of or destroyed her body. It alleges his motive was sexual.
Bridger denies the allegations and told the police he knocked April over in a road accident, panicked and drove her away. He said he could not remember what happened to her body but claimed she was not in his Land Rover when he got home.
Howes told the jury she had examined recent cuts made to the centre of the carpet of Bridger's living room, though she could not say if these were made at the same time as the bloodstains.
She said three knives were inspected, including a scorched boning knife found on top of the log burner. No blood was detected on them.
Howes explained how in some areas blood was found only on the underside of the carpet, suggesting visible bloodstains had been cleaned away. She said traces of April's blood was also found in the hallway and the bathroom of Bridger's home in Mount Pleasant, Ceinws village, mid-Wales.
Asked about Bridger's clothing, Howes said she could not eliminate the possibility that April had "contributed DNA" to a sample taken from the inside of the defendant's tracksuit bottoms.
April disappeared as she played on her bicycle near her home in Machynlleth, a few minutes' drive from Ceinwys, on 1 October last year.
The trial continues.

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