April Jones: Remains to be released after coroner ends hearing

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPolice said April's remains would will be formally released to the family, allowing a funeral to go ahead

A coroner's hearing into the death of murdered schoolgirl April Jones has concluded without a verdict.

The five-year-old girl was abducted on 1 October 2012 and killed by Mark Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, Powys, in a sexually motivated attack.

Police said April's remains would now be formally released to the family, ahead of a funeral on 26 September.

Coroner Louise Hunt said she could not reach any conclusion which had not already been reached by the court case.

Bridger was jailed for life after being found guilty at Mold Crown Court in May following a month-long trial.

He will never be released from prison.

Despite one of the biggest search operations in police history, April's body has never been found.

During the 10 minute hearing, Ms Hunt told the court in Welshpool there would be no further action and a death certificate would be issued, allowing a funeral to take place.

She said she had had to seek permission from the chief coroner to hold an inquest in the absence of a body.

April's parents, Paul and Coral, from Machynlleth, Powys, attended the inquest in Welshpool, flanked by two police family liaison officers.

Ms Hunt told them: "I hope this will help you come to the end of the formal proceedings."

Image caption Paul and Coral Jones leaving the court after a private meeting with the coroner

She added: "I would like to offer you my personal condolences for your terrible loss."

The hearing was adjourned, and Ms Hunt said the public part of the process was now finished. She will deal with paperwork privately in her office.

Ms Hunt held a short private meeting with Mr and Mrs Jones in a room within the court following the hearing.

Det Supt Andrew John from Dyfed-Powys Police, who led the investigation into April's disappearance, gave a brief outline of the case at the inquest.

He said: "April was reported missing on 1 October 2012 at about 7.20pm which resulted in the arrest of Mark Bridger at 3.20pm on 2 October 2012."

"Mark Bridger was subsequently charged with the abduction and murder of April and perverting the course of justice."

Det Supt John said that Bridger's trial between 29 April and 31 May at Mold Crown Court resulted in his conviction, and he was sentenced to a full life sentence.

He told the court: "April Jones was subjected to a violent death and on the balance of probabilities her death occurred at Mount Pleasant cottage in Ceinws on 1 October 2012."

The conclusion of the hearing will enable the family to finally lay what remains of their daughter to rest.

Dyfed-Powys Police did manage to recover tiny fragments of bone at Bridger's home and Mr and Mrs Jones will now hold a funeral for their daughter on Thursday 26 September.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn up to say their farewells to the little girl at the service at midday at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

Image caption Det Supt Andrew John from Dyfed-Powys Police arriving at the inquest in Welshpool

More on this story