Missing April Jones search ends, almost 8 months on
The search for missing five-year-old April Jones has ended after almost eight months, police have confirmed.
Officers from around the UK have been searching for April since she disappeared from near her home in Machynlleth, Powys, in October. Searches of specific areas of land identified during the investigation were completed last Friday.
April’s disappearance sparked one of the largest police searches in UK history. Since last October, specialist officers along with other forces from across the UK had been searching the area for April. There were 17 search teams hunting on a weekly basis.
The search operation covered an area of 60 kilometres square, including more than 300 specific search areas.
Trial of Mark Bridger over murder of April Jones to begin next week
The trial of Mark Bridger – the man accused of the murder of April Jones – will begin next week, a judge said today.
A jury for the trial, expected to last between four and five weeks, will be selected on Monday.
Mr Justice Griffith-Williams had the case listed today to allow the five-year-old’s family to have some certainty about proceedings.
Legal arguments in the absence of the jury would be held on Tuesday, with the prosecution case, led by barrister Elwen Evans QC, would be opened on Thursday and Friday.
The jury will make a site visit to Machynlleth on the following Tuesday, with the first evidence shown the following day.
Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, Machynlleth, denies murdering April but has previously accepted that he was probably responsible for her death.
The trial was originally due to start in February but defence barrister Brendan Kelly QC successfully applied for an adjournment so that further inquiries could be made.
Bridger was remanded in custody and the judge extended the custody time limits today.
April’s disappearance sparked one of the largest police searches in UK history.
Since last October, specialist officers along with other forces from across the UK had been searching the area in and around Machynlleth for April Jones.
It said there have been 17 search teams hunting for the school girl on a weekly basis.
In a statement Dyfed-Powys Police said: “It has been a massive search operation where an area of 60 kilometres square (23 square miles) has been searched including and have over 300 specific search areas.
“The terrain is extremely challenging. The mountains, gorges, streams and waterfalls in the area mean extra care has to be taken and specialist safety equipment has to be worn.
“The force made a commitment to search until all viable lines of enquiry were complete.”
Officers confirmed the search would stop over Easter but that during the rest of April they would search “specific areas of land with a view to all search areas identified being completed by the end of April”.
Throughout the search a range of resources had been used from police marine units, experts in searching confined spaces and mines, fire and rescue urban search and rescue teams, the coastguard and mountain rescue teams, and as specialist dogs teams from around the UK.