Photographs showing the inside of a house where traces of schoolgirl April Jones’ blood were found were released today as a jury visited the key locations in the case.
The pictures were taken by police and are of the inside of the cottage where defendant Mark Bridger lived at the time of April’s disappearance.
Bridger, 47, is accused of murdering the five-year-old after he abducted her as she played outside her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 1 last year. April’s body has never been found.
Today the trial jury were taken on a site visit of the main areas of Machynlleth including Bridger’s former home, Mount Pleasant, in Ceinws.
Following their visit the court released photographs of the inside of the house which are part of the prosecution’s evidence in the case.
The prosecution’s case is that traces of the child’s blood were found at various locations in the cottage and bone fragments from a “juvenile skull” were found in the ash of a woodburner.
Bridger denies the charges and instead says that he ran April over in a car accident and then “blanked” out and cannot remember what he did with her body.
The first photograph shows Bridger’s living room and the wood burner in which bone fragments consistent with being from a juvenile skull were found in the ash, the court has heard.
Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, told the jury earlier this week that when police searched Bridger’s house he had carried out an “extensive clean up” – but that he failed to get rid of all the evidence.
Traces of blood were found in the living room, hallway and bathroom – and it matched April’s DNA, the court heard.
There was a concentration of blood found around the wood burner in the living room, the jury heard.
Around the wood burner were a number of knives, including a boning knife, which was badly burnt.
The first photograph shows a disorderly living room, with a pair of trousers thrown over a chair, papers and cardboard strewn on the floor and cans of Strongbow cider – which the jury heard Bridger bought with his benefits on the day April went missing – next to the wood burner.
A rifle can also be seen hanging over the fireplace on the stone wall and family photographs hanging on the walls.
The picture shows the cream leather sofa where more traces of April’s blood were found.
There are also photographs of the hallway, a washing machine and the bathroom - where forensic searches found blood stains in various locations.
The photograph of the bathroom shows pointers, put there by forensics teams, which show where the tiny traces of blood were discovered.
Miss Evans said there was a “one in a billion” match to April’s DNA and the defence accepts it was the young girl’s blood.
She said there had been attempts to clean away the blood stains and that when police entered the house for the first time there was a “strong smell of detergent, and a smell of cleaning products, air freshener and washed clothes”.
She added: “There was nothing which would strike the eye as April’s blood, it was only after careful forensic analysis that this evidence emerged.”
During their site visit the nine women and three men on the jury panel were shown Machynlleth Junior School, which April attended, and the nearby Bryn y Gog estate, where she was last seen.
They were taken to the area where the schoolgirl was playing with her friend before she disappeared and a set of garages where she was seen climbing into a car.
The jury were accompanied by judge Mr Justice Griffith-Williams, the prosecution led by Elwen Evans QC, the defence team headed by Brendan Kelly QC, as well as several court officials.
For the purpose of today’s visit the area around the jury was deemed the precincts of the court and a low-level police presence was apparent at every stop.
They arrived in the isolated village of Ceinws shortly after 1.05pm, and the jurors were taken into Bridger’s tiny cottage in one group led by the judge.
As they arrived the group stopped briefly in the front garden, where three bunches of flowers and a pink and white teddy bear had recently been left for April, who was named after the month of her birth and would have celebrated her sixth birthday a few weeks ago.
The jurors toured the small cottage in groups of four, because it was considered too cramped for the entire group, with the rest waiting in the rear garden area.
The waiting jurors spent their time walking around the outside of the house, set on a high embankment above a river.
Throughout the visit the road past the cottage was closed to prevent traffic coming into or out of the village.
The jurors then went to a lay-by where a prosecution witness saw Bridger on the morning of October 2.