'Blood drip trail at Bridger home'

A forensic scientist said evidence found in the home of Mark Bridger indicated that schoolgirl April Jones may have been lying on his living room floor "shedding blood", a court heard.

The five-year-old, who had cerebral palsy, vanished while playing on her bike near her home in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, on October 1 last year.

The trial of 47-year-old Bridger heard from forensic scientist Emma Howes on Monday, who told the jury about numerous drops of blood found in his cottage which matched April's DNA.

She spoke particularly of a "drip trail" of blood stains found under the living room carpet and leading to the hallway. Traces of April's blood were also found in Bridger's bathroom, Mold Crown Court heard.

Ms Howes said: "The blood from April Jones was present in various areas of the carpet. These stains were not readily visible on the top surface.

"The larger stain, near the fireplace, appeared to have soaked through from the top of the carpet to the underneath... This soaking and staining indicates that the carpet has been in prolonged contact with a source of April Jones's wet blood."

She said it was "likely" this contact was from "April herself rather than some other object wet with her blood". She added: "This staining is what I would expect if April herself had been lying in this area for some period of time shedding blood."

Ms Howes said there was a "considerable amount of blood" on the carpet but it was her opinion that "attempts" had been made to "remove the blood present in this area".

Bridger, who denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice, wept in the dock when the court heard that there was inconclusive evidence regarding DNA which pointed to "sexual activity" with April.

Ms Howes also said there was "no evidence to indicate that April had been hit" by a car, as the defendant claims. Bridger also claims he put the child in his car after running her over. Ms Howes told the jury there were "no signs to indicate that April Jones has been bleeding freely whilst inside" the vehicle.

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