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Mark Bridger the child killer gets life behind bars for the callous murder

Mark Bridger

Mark Bridger led people to believe that he had served with the SAS, but it was one of many lies. He maintained that he has no memory of what he did with April Jones’s body.

With at least six children by four women Mark Bridger was always confident of his ability to attract members of the opposite sex, if not to keep them.


Depressed and sleeping two to three hours a night, he would spend days drinking up to 25 cans of cider and watching violent pornography and indecent images of children at home. 

Lurching from one failed relationship to the next, he always kept potential girlfriends on the back burner should the latest tire of his drinking and temper.

After spending the day drinking cider, viewing pornography and emailing women to ask them out, Bridger got in his Land Rover and headed to the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth where he abducted five-year-old April Jones.It is believed he sexually assaulted her before killing her and disposing of her so thoroughly that hardly a trace has been found. The horrific crime belies the ordinariness of his middle-class upbringing.
Grieving:  April's parents,  Paul and Coral Jones.
Grieving: April’s parents, Paul and Coral Jones. Photo: Getty Images

Former slaughterhouse worker Bridger will spend the rest of his life in prison for the abduction and murder of the Welsh schoolgirl.

Born in Carshalton, Surrey in 1965, Bridger was the middle child of policeman Graham Bridger and his wife Pamela. He was proud that his father was a Royal Protection Officer and would brag about visiting Windsor Castle.

But while his brother and sister did well at school, Bridger found it hard to settle down. He left with six CSEs, enrolled at Croydon College to study engineering, but failed to finish.

Frantic search: Pink ribbons and a poster giving details of missing schoolgirl April Jones.
Frantic search: Pink ribbons and a poster giving details of missing schoolgirl April Jones. Photo: Reuters

After a string of dead-end jobs he joined the fire brigade as a trainee but quit after six months.


In 1984, to his father’s shame, Bridger admitted theft and firearms offences at the Old Bailey. He claimed he was going to shoot an old pistol at a friend’s farm and stole a car to save walking. The prosecution suggested he intended to rob a post office. He was placed on probation for two years.

Around this time, aged 20, he fathered his first child, with Deborah Verona. But the couple split before baby Steven was born, to the anger of Bridger’s parents, and he moved to mid-Wales, the site of childhood holidays. He spent months in a tent on a beach before finding accommodation in Porthmadog and a new girlfriend, Keeley Reynolds. She was soon expecting his second child, Bobby.

"Wrong place at the wrong time": April Jones was playing on her bike.
“Wrong place at the wrong time”: April Jones was playing on her bike. Photo: AFP/Dyfed-Powys Police

The relationship broke down and in 1990 he married Julie Williams, moving to her home town of Machynlleth. When the marriage ended, he stayed, despite having nothing to do with their two sons, Sean and Scott.

A two-year relationship with Vanessa Brooks, a local woman, followed. Then, in his early 30s, he began dating Elaine Griffiths, 15, whose older sister was going out with April’s future father Paul Jones.

Miss Griffiths had a son and a daughter with Bridger, but the relationship faltered. In September 2004 Bridger admitted battery and using threatening words and behaviour with intent after an altercation at her house.


He decided to make a fresh start in Australia, but just three months later was back in Machynlleth. He began a brief relationship with Corrina Robinson, his landlady, and landed a job in an abattoir, where he became expert at butchery and fascinated with knives.

In April 2007 he was convicted of assault after a row with a man in a pub.

By 2010 he had begun seeing Miss Fenner, and rented a cottage in Ceinws several miles from Machynlleth in the hope that she would move in. But weeks later she broke off the relationship.

Dennis Jones, 58, a financial adviser, who knew Bridger through a pool league, said: “He had so many partners, it was quite obvious there was a problem somewhere. He was a fairly ordinary chap but I would not have trusted him with my wife or with my money.”

Depressed and sleeping two to three hours a night, he would spend days drinking up to 25 cans of cider and watching violent pornography and indecent images of children at home.


He wove a tapestry of lies to impress people. With a knowledge of survival techniques gleaned from books and hints about “the Regiment” he left many in no doubt that he had seen service with the SAS. He boasted of being a mercenary in Burma, Belize, Cuba and Afghanistan, but records show he never served in the Forces. He also claimed that his father had committed suicide and his mother had suffered a heart attack. They are living in a retirement village in Sussex.

For all his other failings, there is no evidence that he had ever tried to act on his sexual fascination with children. And despite having photographs of April and her sisters on his laptop, police do not believe he set out to target her. Det Supt Andy John said: “It was sexually motivated. I think Mark Bridger at that point was losing control. His relationship had broken down, he had financial issues. I think April Jones happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Throughout his trial, Bridger insisted he had no recollection of what he did with April’s body. Now he will face renewed pressure to say where she is so her family can finally lay her to rest.

The Daily Telegraph, London



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