Revealed: Killer Mark Bridger watched violent slasher film rape scene before April’s murder and was obsessed with child porn
Evidence that April’s killer repeatedly watched rape scene secret until today
Police burst into his home to find VHS tape paused on sex attack
Bridger blamed huge cache of child porn on his own son and daughter
Claimed that he had images to understand development of their bodies.
Revealed: Killer Mark Bridger had watched a rape scene from a slasher movie before he killed April Jones
‘Fantasist’ Mark Bridger spent decades ‘lying through his teeth’ about his life and tried to cover up his obsession with violent child pornography, rape and murder.
The former lifeguard claimed the disgusting photos he had downloaded were simply to aid his understanding of the physical development of his son and daughter.
It can also be reported for the first time today that Bridger may have been watching an horrific rape scene from a slasher film ‘not long before’ April was murdered.
The former-lifeguard recorded the footage back-to-back on a video cassette so he could watch it over and over again.
When police burst into his home looking for April they found the tape stopped in the middle of the rape scene.
The 47 year old also said his mountain of pornographic pictures was only accumulated because he was concerned about the issue and said he was contacting websites demanding they were taken down.
Bridger, a father of six, also told Mold Crown Court he would be ‘happy’ to show some of the sexual images of children found on his laptop to his son or daughter if they were ‘learning’ about sex.
Members of the jury were visibly distressed when they were asked to view a selection of the horrific images which included photographs of an apparently dead naked girl being hanged, cartoon images of child rape, a photograph of a Thai girl apparently raped and murdered and an image of a pregnant eight-year-old from the Philippines.
Bridger told police he was hoarding the most disturbing of these images, of which almost 400 were found on his laptop, as ‘proof’ so he could complain about them to the companies in charge of the websites.
When police searched Bridger’s cottage they found that he had been watching a brutal rape scene from the 2009 re-make of the slasher film, The Last House on the Left.
He had recorded the scene where a young teenage girl is raped by the leader of a gang in front of his watching gangmates, some of whom help to hold the victim down while she is being attacked.
Police then discovered that the murderer recorded the rape scene for a second time when the film was repeated on a +1 channel an hour later.
Horror: Police outside Bridger’s white-washed cottage, where he watched violent films and child pornography before he murdered April
Elwen Evans QC, for the prosecution, said given what happened in that room, the discovery was ‘significant’ and Bridger must have watched the scene ‘not long before’ whatever happened to April took place.
She added: ‘This is not just the playing of a rape scene on television. That particular rape scene had been recorded twice. A deliberate action to capture the most distressing aspect.’
Hi-tech crime investigators also discovered Bridger had used internet search terms such as: ‘Naked young 5 year old girls’, ‘British girl murdered in France’, ‘ten year old girls naked’, ‘young little virgins’, and ‘pictures of ten year old girls’.
He claimed that he had been doing ‘research’ into the breast development of young girls so he could better advise his daughter who he said was an ‘aspiring model’.
On hearing these excuses read to them throughout three days of evidence from the defendant’s police interviews, some members of the jury shook their heads in disbelief.
On the afternoon before April disappeared, Bridger had viewed a pornographic cartoon of a young girl gagged and restrained as she was being raped.
A number of internet searches were conducted on Bridger’s laptop, which included ‘British girl murdered in France’, ‘ten year old girls naked’, and ‘pictures of ten year old girls’.
Grim discovery: Mark Bridger’s burnt knife recovered from his property in Ceinws, where April may have died
In an exchange at Mold Crown Court the prosecution asked him: ‘Why do you have indecent images of children on your computer?’
Bridger replied: ‘A lot of them were for looking into the development of my son and daughter. Some I didn’t even know were there. Others I put aside to complain.’
Miss Evans said that was ‘absolute nonsense’ adding: ‘You deliberately saved each and every one of those pictures.’
Questioned about a search for, ‘naked five-year-old girls’, he said: ‘That’s a mistake I made on that one, it should have been 15.
‘This was all to do with my daughter’s development. It was a mis-type.’
Horrific: April’s body has never been found despite the largest search operation ever staged by British police
Bridger told the court that he would be ‘happy’ to show one of the pornographic images found on his laptop to his son or daughter when they were ‘learning’ about sex.
Miss Evans said: ‘So you would be happy to show your children that image?’
He replied: ‘At the right time. If my son came to me and asked me about sexual things. How things work. That would be a picture I would not be frightened to show him.’
Phillip Noyes, acting chief executive of the NSPCC, said April’s case adds to growing evidence that there is a link between child and extreme porn, and committing other serious sexual assaults.
He said: ‘It seems Bridger lived in a fantasy world which included looking at child abuse images online.
‘For some time we have been concerned about the growing number of these obscene images which are becoming more easily available and can fuel the fantasies of offenders like Bridger.
‘This case points to the ever-growing evidence that there is a worrying link between looking at this vile kind of material and committing other serious sexual assaults.
‘April’s death will hopefully lead to effective measures to stamp out this vile trade.’
Mark Bridger told ‘lie after lie’ following April’s abduction claiming he crushed her with his car while drunk
The 47-year-old was described as a ‘fantasist’ who told ‘lie after lie’, including after the abduction and murder of five-year-old April.
Bridger told police he was an alcoholic and had drunk so much after ‘crushing’ April, five, with his car he could not remember what he did with her body.
Former lifeguard Bridger has claimed he was drinking 15 to 20 cans of cider a day along with half a bottle to a bottle of vodka.
But Mold Crown Court heard Bridger had no alcohol in his system when he was tested six hours after his arrest on the day after April went missing.
Deceit: Bridger told police he was an alcoholic and had drunk so much after ‘crushing’ April, five, with his Land Rover, he could not remember what he did with her body
Also having claimed that he could not remember
what happened to April’s body, but then part way through the trial he had a ‘recollection’ of laying her down on his living room carpet following what he describes as a car accident.
Last week he then said he remembered laying her body down by his fire to keep her warm. Forensics said they found fragments of a child’s skull in the wood burner and blood all over his house, which he attempted to deep clean.
It will never be known how she died, as after the biggest police hunt in British history she was never found.
The court-released photograph of the living room at Mark Bridger’s cottage, Mount Pleasant, on a hillside near April’s home town of Machynlleth
In other lies the father-of-six had also claimed both his parents were dead – his father from a heart attack and his mother by committing suicide soon after.
But Bridger then confessed that he made it all up to hide the reason why he had not spoken to them for 20 years.
Dc Louise Thomas told Bridger in his final police interview: ‘It is documented in your medical notes that your father died of a heart attack and your mother committed suicide.
‘Is this what happened?
Bridger replied: ‘I disagreed with my family 20 years ago and never saw them again.
‘It was easier for me to put them out of my mind and pretend that they are dead.’
The court heard Bridger had also lied by saying he had a military career in which he had ‘excelled,’ which included claims he was an SAS soldier.
Case: The prosecution say DNA and bone was uncovered in and around the fire and the bathroom door (right) despite a huge cleaning operation by the suspect, Mark Bridger
Home: Around his possessions blood was also allegedly found on and surrounding this white leather sofa
Instead it was revealed he had been a fireman in London but quit because he could not make the grade
The failed firefighter and former welder also admitted he had maintained a string of lies for 23 years since moving to Wales and carried on lying when arrested.
‘When I moved close to the Machynlleth area everyone seemed to want to know who I was, where I was from, my past, my present,’ he said.
‘So I had always been interested in the military. I just said I am ex-military and people just took that as what I did.
‘I didn’t want them to know I had had problems with my past. That stuck with me for…until now.’
Bridger is a serial violent criminal with convictions dating back 28 years, court hears
April Jones’s murderer was a serial offender with convictions relating to guns, thefts and road rage attacks, but bizarrely he tried to claim his violent past, dating back 28 years, proved he did not kill the five-year-old schoolgirl.
Mark Bridger wanted his criminal record laid bare during his murder trial so the jury would get to know that he had never been in the dock for sexual offences or for having indecent images of children.
This was despite the father of six having an obsession with child pornography, uncovered after police raided his home following April Jones’s disappearance last October.
He tried to blame the images, which including a cartoon of a child bound, gagged and raped, on wanting to understand the physical development of his own son and daughter.
The former slaughterhouse worker said he was caught in the past for various crimes he had always pleaded guilty, again claiming that his refusal to admit he murdered April proved he wasn’t guilty.
Mold Crown Court also heard about his how his life, which had involved running away from his family and was littered with broken relationships and several estranged children.
The 47-year-old, of Ceinws, mid-Wales, denied abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice by disposing of, concealing or destroying April’s body last October but was found guilty today.
Looking: Police check a derelict property in Machynlleth as the search for missing April Jones continues
Investigation: Police forensic scientists work at the house of Mark Bridger in the village of Ceinws
Bridger was born on November 6, 1965 in Surrey and he had served as an engineering apprentice after failing to complete an engineering diploma at Croydon College in South London.
After working as a welder for some time he began work as a firefighter at the London Fire Brigade.
But he had to quit after six months when he was 19 or 20 when his first serious girlfriend got pregnant.
He said: ‘I had personal problems. I had split up with my partner at the time. We had just had a baby.’
He said he left the area and moved to Wales when he fell out with his parents over the baby as there were ‘complications’ with them seeing the child.
‘In a short while I had major arguments with the family and lost contact,’ he told the jury.
This upheaval came at roughly the same time as his first conviction at the Old Bailey, when he was 19, for which he received two years probation.
Bridger pleaded guilty to the attempted taking of a car, possession of a firearm, having an imitation firearm, theft and two counts of obtaining property by deception.
He said the charges arose when he was going to private land owned by a friend to fire some blanks and it was 15 miles away, so he tried to open a car door to take it and was spotted, stopped and police called. He also wrote cheques from a stolen chequebook, he said.
He told the jury he had no intention of robbing a post office, as the prosecution at the time claimed.
After moving to Wales in January 1991 he pleaded guilty at Aberystwth Magistrates’ Court to criminal damage, affray and having no insurance, arising out of a ‘road rage’ incident when he hit the bonnet of another driver’s car with his hand.
The following year he was convicted for more motoring matters, driving while disqualified and without insurance.
He told the court that when he moved to Wales he had nothing and was at first living in a tent on the beach when he was about 21 or 22 before he got a job.
The divorcee has had a string of relationships in Machynlleth, and he has fathered at least three children with two women on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where April lived.
Mark Bridger sent desperate messages to his most recent girlfriend Vicky Fenner after she broke up with him by text hours before April went missing.
The ex-slaughterman, wrote: ‘You were my life. My everything.’ Then he begged: ‘Nothing left at all worth fighting for?’
After hearing she had told other people they had split up, he wrote: ‘I couldn’t have meant f*** all to you’ and logged on to his computer to look at child pornography and message other women in the area on Facebook, asking them to meet up with him for ‘no strings’ encounters.
It was after that he plucked April from the street she was playing in with her best friend, before murdering and disposing of her body in a murder that has shocked Britain.