UK & World News

  • 8 October 2012, 7:20

Missing April Jones: Murder Suspect Due In Court

The man accused of the abduction and murder of April Jones is due to appear before magistrates in Aberystwyth.

Mark Bridger, 46, is also accused of perverting the course of justice.

It is now a week since five-year-old April was last seen playing near her home in Machynlleth before she got into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery.

Hundreds gathered in the town yesterday for a silent march, followed by a special church service in remembrance of the youngster.

In a Facebook post this weekend, her mum Coral, 40, wrote: "April has still not been found, I am not giving up hope that she will come home, so please keep looking for my baby girl April, she's our world, the whole family are in bits as we don't know where she is."

From today, mountain rescue volunteers are scaling back their efforts because the work ahead is more suited to specialist police search teams.

Over the past seven days, mountain rescue teams have scoured 70 sq km of remote terrain, to no avail.

The number of police search teams will double from 10 to 18 as more officers are drafted in this week, and military assistance will remain for as long as police need them.

"We'll do what we're good at which is the wilderness and rural areas," Warrant Officer John Roe, from RAF Mountain Rescue, told Sky News.

"The police specialists are excellent in the urban areas and searching closer to people's homes and things like that. We're good at sustaining and keeping ourselves in the outdoor environments.

"So if the weather does deteriorate, we can continue searching, obviously we're far better at searching when there are good conditions."

He added: "We're here to help and we're wanting to do the best we can for the community and the family to try to get this resolved as soon as possible."

The searchers have made the town's leisure centre their base.

Although local volunteers were stood down last week, people in the close-knit community are continuing to help where they can.

Sue Winchurch and her family, who live seven miles from the town, travelled to the leisure centre yesterday to drop off food for the searchers.

"It's been my son's birthday and we've been over to the West Midlands for a party so we've brought over some things - leftover sandwiches and cakes - just because we wanted to do something," she said.

Sue, whose son Richard attends school in Machynlleth, added: "It's affected everyone and everyone's really scared and shocked. It's been really emotional for everyone."

Later, a man charged with posting offensive comments on Facebook about the missing youngster is due to appear before magistrates In Lancashire.

Matthew Wood, 20, from Chorley, Lancashire, has been charged under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 with sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive.