Wales

April Jones murder case: Blood 'around suspect's home'

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Media captionThe court heard blood was found in Mark Bridger's living room and hallway

Blood at several locations around the home of the man accused of murdering April Jones matched the five-year-old's DNA, a jury has been told.

A forensics expert told Mold Crown Court the blood was found on the floor in Mark Bridger's living room.

She said it was a one-in-a-billion chance the blood was from anyone else.

Mr Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, Powys, denies abducting and murdering April, who went missing on 1 October 2012 near her home in Machynlleth.

Her body has never been found.

The prosecution claims he murdered April in a sexually motivated attack and her blood was found at his cottage.

Mr Bridger told police during interviews he accidentally hit April with his vehicle and "panicked", the jury has heard.

However, a forensics expert told the court on Monday there was nothing to suggest anyone had been hit or run over by Mr Bridger's vehicle.

The defendant claims he cannot remember what he did with her body because he was drunk.

Image caption April Jones's blood was found under a carpet in Mark Bridger's living room, the court heard

The largest police operation in UK history was launched following her disappearance.

On Monday, the jury heard from forensic expert Emma Howes who examined evidence from Mr Bridger's vehicle and his home.

April's blood was found in a number of locations in the property including a large area of blood near the fireplace.

It was as if April had been lying in this area "for some period of time", she said.

Evidence suggested attempts had been made to remove or clean up the blood, she added.

Ms Howes said there were areas of blood on the underside of the carpet which appeared to have "soaked through" adding there were "areas around the periphery of the stain... that did appear to be diluted", possibly indicating that the blood had been "wetted".

The forensics expert said April's blood was also found on the hallway carpet in a pattern indicating a trail of "dripped blood".

Blood stains

Three areas of blood were tested and all three matched April's, the court heard.

Ms Howes told the jury numerous small spots of blood were found on a leather sofa in the living room and blood stains were also found in the bathroom and washing machine.

The expert said traces of the defendant's blood were also found on the living room carpet in two locations.

Ms Howes said: "There was a small area... that had the appearance of a trail or drips of blood."

The jury was also shown a knife with "scorch marks" taken from the top of Mr Bridger's wood burner. Two other knives were found in a bread oven next to the fire.

No blood was detected on any of the knives.

The court heard an axe was also found with blood detected on the handle but no DNA profile was obtained.

Tests on the clothes Mr Bridger wore at the time of his arrest showed a small area of blood on the inside of the collar with Mr Bridger and April both "fully represented", according to Ms Howes.

Image caption Mark Bridger says he accidentally ran over April Jones in his Land Rover

Forensic examination of his other clothes was also carried out but results in relation to April were inconclusive.

Ms Howes said tests on bed linen suggested there was nothing to indicate evidence of sexual activity.

After lunch, the court was told a piece of carpet, a bathroom mat and a rug were recovered from the nearby River Dulas. Some carpet was also found on a river bank.

There was no blood or semen on the items, the jury heard, but Ms Howes said material could have been lost through degradation or removed by the water.

She also examined "every part" of Mr Bridger's Land Rover for evidence of April such as blood or skin tissue but none was found.

Blood on the front of one of the toolboxes in the vehicle was found to be Mr Bridger's.

The witness said there was no trace of April on the tyres or wheels and no evidence anyone had been hit or run over by the Land Rover.

Under cross-examination from defence counsel Brendan Kelly QC, Ms Howes said there had been no sign of a clean-up in the vehicle.

Another forensic expect, Andrew Parry, told the jury he had attended Mr Bridger's home and said the living room staining suggested "someone had been on the floor in that area while bleeding to some extent".

He also said there was evidence of an attempted clean-up.

There was no blood staining in the living room or bathroom that could have been produced by blows, and no evidence of transferred blood to indicate an assault, he said.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday morning.

The defendant also denies intending to pervert the course of justice.