- 16 декабря 2013, 12:28
Former abattoir worker wants to challenge full-life term for murder of five-year-old girl
The family of April Jones, the five-year-old schoolgirl abducted and murdered by the former abattoir worker Mark Bridger, is facing fresh torment after the killer launched an appeal against his full-life term.
Bridger, 47, is trying to challenge the ruling by the trial judge that the severity of his crime means he must spend the rest of his life behind bars.
April's family said they were disgusted that Bridger wanted to appeal against his sentence, adding that the fresh legal proceedings, which are due to begin next month, would be torture for them.
Bridger is one of 49 people in England and Wales who are serving full-life terms. Others include the likes of the Moors murderer Ian Brady, serial killer Rose West and Dale Cregan, who killed two police officers.
After his conviction in May a judge told him the aggravating features of the murder, including a sexual element and the fact that he had concealed or destroyed April's body, meant that he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
At the time of his jailing, April's parents, Coral and Paul, made it clear that it was at least some relief to them that Bridger would never be released.
But since then, the European court of human rights (ECHR) has ruled that whole-life sentences without any prospect of release amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners.
It is not known on what grounds Bridger will appeal but the ruling by the ECHR has given some hope to prisoners like him.
The news of Bridger's appeal was broken to the family by Dyfed-Powys police while they were visiting relatives in Australia.
Ms Jones told the Sun newspaper, with whom the couple have co-operated since Bridger was convicted: "It's disgusting. He's in prison where he belongs and he should stay there. He's just torturing my family with these legal battles.
"It's like he's taunting us, like he wants to show he has got the upper hand. He has put us through so much."
Dyfed-Powys police issued a brief statement saying: "Police have been advised that an application for an appeal against sentence has been lodged by Mark Bridger. The family of April Jones has been informed."
Bridger abducted April as she played on her bicycle with a friend near her family home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on 1 October last year.
Police believe he sexually abused April before murdering her and disposing of her body, possibly dismembering it and scattering the body parts around the hills and rivers close to his house, Mount Pleasant, in the village of Ceinwys.
Despite the largest police search ever, the only remains that were found of April were fragments of charred bone discovered in Bridger's wood-burner.
As they probed Bridger's background, detectives found that he had a collection of images of girls being sexually abused and had also gathered pictures of April and other local girls from social networking sites.
The trial judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams told Bridger that he was a paedophile who had "harboured sexual and morbid fantasies about young girls".
He said Bridger had set out that day to kidnap a girl and abducted April for a "sexual purpose" and disposed of her body to "hide the evidence of your sexual abuse of her".
The judge acknowledged in his sentencing remarks that Bridger's refusal to say what had happened to April's body would stop her family moving on. "Without the knowledge of what happened, her parents will probably never come to terms with their grievous loss," he said.
April's few remains were finally laid to rest in September almost exactly 12 months after she vanished.
Bridger has been held at the high-security Wakefield prison in West Yorkshire, where he has been slashed from temple to chin by a fellow inmate to try to get him to reveal where April's body is.
Police continue to hope that Bridger will provide more information that will lead them to April's body. But a spokeswoman confirmed that no fresh search had been launched since his conviction.
Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides that if a court considers the seriousness of the offence to be exceptionally high, a whole-life term can be given. Cases that normally fall within that category include the abduction and murder of a child with a sexual or sadistic motive.
The judicial office confirmed that Bridger had lodged an application for permission to appeal against the whole-life term and this had been referred to the full court, with a hearing due in the new year.