Mark Bridger found guilty of murdering April Jones, 5

Jury takes four hours to convict former abattoir worker described by police as 'evil and manipulative'

(Image credit: Getty Images)

MARK BRIDGER has been found guilty of abducting and murdering the five-year-old Welsh girl April Jones, whose body has never been found. He will spend the rest of his life in prison after being given a 'whole life order' - the maximum sentence a judge can impose on a defendant.

Bridger, 47, had previously claimed he ran over and killed April, who disappeared near her home in Machynlleth last October, but could not remember what he did with the body as he was too drunk.

A jury at Mold Crown Court took four hours and six minutes to convict him of her murder and abduction. Bridger, a former abattoir slaughterman and father-of-six, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

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The Daily Mail reports that April's mother and father, Coral and Paul Jones, held hands in "stunned silence" as the verdict was read out today, with Coral later wiping a tear from her eye. Police described Bridger, who admitting to lying about a military past during his trial, as a fantasist. Detective Superintendent Andy John, who led the investigation, said he was "evil and manipulative".

April Jones

(Image credit: This Is Jersey)

During Bridger's five-week trial the jury was told how he concocted a "web of lies" to cover-up April's abduction. Traces of her blood were found in the living-room, hallway and bathroom of Bridger's rented cottage. Bone fragments were found in the remains of the fire at his house were consistent with those from the skull of a child.

The prosecution claimed her murder was sexually motivated. Elwen Evans, QC, told the jury Bridger's laptop contained images of child sex abuse and that he had used search terms including "France: British schoolgirl raped and murdered", "naked young five year old girls" and "nudism five-year-old".

Bridger had claimed the child pornography images on his computer were "research" to help him understand how his young daughter was developing physically.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, it can now be revealed that, before abducting April, Bridger watched a scene from controversial 2009 horror film The Last House on the Left where a young girl is violently raped.

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