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Mark Bridger charger with murder and abduction of five-year-old in Machynllyth
3:38pm Saturday 6th October 2012 in News
THE man arrested over the disappearance of five-year-old April Jones has today been charged with her murder and abduction.
Mark Bridger, 46, from the youngster’s home town of Machynllyth, Wales, has also been charged with perverting the course of justice.
The schoolgirl has been missing since Monday evening, when she was seen getting into a van near a playground.
A huge search operation involving hundreds of volunteers has been underway ever since.
Bridger was arrested on suspicion of her abduction on Tuesday afternoon.
The former lifeguard's Land Rover Discovery was seized, while officers have also carried out searches at his home.
Yesterday, Dyfed-Powys Police revealed they had arrested Bridger on suspicion of murder, indicating they no longer believe the five-year-old, who needs daily medication for cerebral palsy, will be found alive.
Bridger was charged just 80 minutes before the time limit for police to hold him expired.
Iwan Jenkins, the district crown prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wales, said today: "I now have to advise that, having carried out a detailed review of the evidence gathered so far by Dyfed-Powys Police, my conclusion is that there is sufficient evidence to charge Mark Bridger with the murder of April Jones, and that it is in the public interest to do so.
"I have also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with attempting to pervert the course of justice and child abduction."
At a press conference in Aberystwyth, Chief Constable Jackie Roberts said the investigation was "one of the most complex and fast moving inquiries in the history of our force".
She said: ''Now that Mark Bridger has been charged with this horrific crime it is time to let the judicial process take its course and time to let the family come to terms with what has happened over the last week.
"In the meantime our efforts to find April will be as meticulous as they have been from the outset of this inquiry until we have exhausted all available options."
Emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK have been searching continuously since April vanished.
They are liaising with more than 60 specially trained search officers.
Last night private prayers were said for April by members of the close-knit community.
Many are refusing to give up hope that she will be found alive five nights after her disappearance and continue to wear pink ribbons in support of the family.
Coral Jones, 40, April's mother, called on the community yesterday to wear the ribbons, in her daughter's favourite colour, as a symbol of hope.
Residents, police officers, homes, cars and shops were quickly festooned with pink ribbons in a massive symbolic show of solidarity.
Bridger has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court on Monday morning.