April Jones: Mark Bridger in crown court on murder charge
A man accused of abducting and murdering five-year-old Powys girl April Jones is to appear at crown court today.
Mark Bridger, 46, will appear via videolink at Caernarfon Crown Court.
Bridger is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. The latter charge refers to the unlawful disposal and concealment of a body.
April was last seen at around 7pm on Monday October 1. She had been playing with a friend on the estate near her home, in Machynlleth, Powys.
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Her disappearance prompted a huge search involving hundreds of police officers, mountain rescue teams and dog handlers. Officers have not yet found April.
Bridger, who lives near Machynlleth, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Monday where he was remanded in custody.
He wept as he spoke to confirm his name, age and address.
Bridger will not be present for today’s hearing, but will follow proceedings via videolink from prison in Manchester, the Telegraph reports.
On Monday this week April's parents Coral and Paul Jones released a sky lantern from their garden to remember April, who is still missing.
They were joined by hundreds of Machynlleth residents, who lit lanterns, candles and released pink balloons.
Similar events were held in Aberystwyth and Tywyn, Gwynedd, and the tower at Blackpool was lit up in pink during the evening.
The search for April is ongoing. Police have been questioning motorists around the town, BBC News reports, and road blocks are in place in Machynlleth as officers hope drivers may remember crucial details from last week.
UPDATE 1020 : Bridger is appearing at court via videolink, wearing a black jumper over a grey t-shirt and spectacles, BBC News reports.
No members of April's family are in court for the hearing.
UPDATE 1028: The judge presiding over the case is keen for the trial of Mark Bridger to be brought forward as soon as possible because many of the witnesses will be young children, some as young as seven years of age, BBC News reports.
The judge also said he was keen for the case to remain in the North Wales area, because most of the witnesses will be the people of Machynlleth. They will need to be able to get to court to give their evidence, he said.
The hearing lasted 18 minutes.