Man in court over murder of April

Banbury Cake: Five-year-old April Jones went missing in Machynlleth, mid Wales, last Monday Five-year-old April Jones went missing in Machynlleth, mid Wales, last Monday

A former lifeguard accused of abducting and killing five-year-old schoolgirl April Jones is due to appear in court charged with her murder.

Mark Bridger, 46, will face Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court in relation to the schoolgirl's disappearance in Machynlleth, mid Wales, a week ago.

Bridger was charged with the abduction and murder of April on Saturday following four days of questioning. He is also charged with perverting the course of justice.

April, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs daily medication, was last seen on the town's Bryn-y-Gog estate on Monday evening. A witness saw her step into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery car.

Parents Coral Jones, 40, and Paul Jones, 44, allowed her to play out late as a treat after she received a glowing school report.

On Wednesday, a clearly devastated Mrs Jones made an emotional plea for information over her daughter's disappearance, in which she said: "It's been 36 hours since April was taken from us. There must be someone out there who knows where she is and can help the police find her. We are desperate for any news. April is only five years old. Please, please, help find her."

April remains missing despite an intensive, ongoing search effort which has now spanned a week.

More than 700 people packed into Machynlleth's St Peter's Church on Sunday to attend an emotional service for the schoolgirl.

Reverend Kathleen Rogers led the moving sermon, in which she said: "The realisation is coming on since yesterday when we heard murder - that has hit home."

Ms Rogers said prayers for April's parents and paid tribute to the community who had pulled together to help in the search. She read a touching poem on behalf of April's mother called "Mum" as the Bishop of Bangor, Reverend Andy John, said the tight-knit community had "touched the heart of people around the world".

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