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The April Jones trial has started

(369 Posts)
NorthernLurker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:27:36

The trial of Mark Bridger for the abduction and murder of April Jones plus some other charges has started today. From what I've read of the initial statements given by the prosecution, it's clearly going to be a very distressing case.
My thoughts are with all in court including the jury but most especially with April's parents who are in court. I don't know how they can bear it.

RooneyMara Wed 01-May-13 18:36:27

I'd be honoured to do jury duty but I'm such a fuckwit I doubt they would let me near a court.

Ledkr Wed 01-May-13 18:37:31

How about if the case is triggering for you? Surely that's a reason.

Ledkr Wed 01-May-13 18:42:07

It was awkward to get out if it tbh even though I'd have potentially given birth during the trial. It was also in a court about twenty miles away and I had to be there about 8 which meant no childcare for dd1 and not getting home until gone 6. We also share a car and public transport would have meant three buses and leaving at god knows what time.
Thank goodness I was pg hmm

KittenofDoom Wed 01-May-13 19:09:07

NorthernLurker my first suggestion doesn't involve lying, it was a serious thought.

NanaNina Wed 01-May-13 19:22:25

I had the misfortune to do jury service, and frankly I was horrified at the way some of the jurors behaved. It was a case of "perverting the course of justice" and one of the witnesses for the prosection was a young girl, and counsel for the defence "wound her up" by doing what barristers do (attempt to represent their client )and she started to get angry in the witness box and saying things like "so you're calling me a liar are you - well you're the liar not me" and the poor girl simply couldn't handle cross examination by someone like a barrister.

I have knowledge of being cross examined in child care cases as I was a social worker for a LA and an independent social worker for many years, and the golden rule is not to let barristers "wind you up" and answer to the Judge, and not to the barrister asking the questions. I felt really sorry for this young girl, because I could see she was hopelessly out of her depth with the cross examination (which can be intimidating and tiring - I was often cross examined for up to 3 hours in parenting assessments!)

One of the jurors started saying as we were filing out of the court room that the defendent was innocent and "that girl" didn't know what she was talking about. Once inside the room, several people started to talk at the same time and it was mayhem. I suggested that it might be best if we spoke one at a time (!) and in the end my role was almost to "chair" the discussion because the majority of them were continuing to talk over each other. It was a "not guilty" verdict but myself and another woman asked permission for a note to be given to the Judge to the effect that we thought the jury were influenced by the young girl's performance in the witness box, and this of course lent weight to the fact that they found the defendent not guilty. To be honest I didn't know what I thought by the end - it was just mayhem the whole time, and in the end we all agreed. I was left feeling really concerned about the whole adverserial system (as I so often have in family law) as courts are intimidating places for people unused to them and barristers will of course try their utmost to trip witnesses up, to do right by their client.

Sorry for digressing. I just hope the Jury in the April Jones case are better than the one I experienced. I would certainly hate to be tried by a Jury. I think I am right in saying that they are conviction prone.

INeedThatForkOff Wed 01-May-13 22:26:18

I can't bear this. I can't bear thinking about that poor little girl and how she died. I'm so sad. I don't live far from Mach and if it happened there it could happen anywhere.

edam Wed 01-May-13 22:43:27

I know Machynlleth a little from family holidays. It's a small close-knit community in a beautiful corner of Wales. Seems wrong, somehow, that such a horrible crime could happen in such a sleepy place. Of course that's rubbish, horrible crimes happen anywhere, but it does seem out of kilter in some way.

shazmummyoftwo Wed 01-May-13 22:48:29

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NorthernLurker Thu 02-May-13 08:17:53

I think that's always the way Edam. Same for Dunblane and Soham sad

Ineed - it could happen anywhere but it hardly ever does. The biggest risks for our children are traffic accidents and illness. However knowing that doesn't make this any easier to hear about. I went to the supermarket yesterday and all the papers have April on the front page - with some awful headlines. Perhaps it's because I have a daughter that age but it is terrifying.

Spero Thu 02-May-13 11:08:41

That is what upsets me so much - that these cases have reverberations far beyond the original crime - everyone gets so upset and fearful that the freedom of all our children gets more curtailed. The harm these people do is massive, not just for the family but for all of us.

I don't know what the police can or are doing to monitor internet access of the really vile stuff but there must be a better way to find and prosecute people who habitually access child pornography sites.

NanaNina Thu 02-May-13 12:25:37

I have heard (don't know where) so may not be a reliable source that child abduction by strangers has not increased since the 1950s. I do know however that most children are abused/murdered by people who are known to them (parents, step-parents, relatives, close friends or someone living nearby) However I think the fear of "stranger danger" is still one of the prime reasons cited by parents for not allowing their children the freedom that children had in the past. I grew up in the 50s and so was free as air - in the 1970s 80% of children walked to school on their own.

The internet is a mixed blessing isn't it, because it can be so useful, helpful, enjoyable even and must make a huge difference to houseboud people. However it also of course provides paedophiles with the ability to indulge themselves in accessing child pornography sites and keep in touch with others of their ilk.

The details that are coming out about the April Jones case are indeed truly shocking, even when reported in an unsensational way as possible in a quality newspaper, so I'm sure the tabloids are having a field day.

Think this thread has probably gone as far as it can now.

lottieandmia Thu 02-May-13 16:13:46

I think stranger abductions are rare, but the difficulty is that none of us know how safe people in our extended circles are, and of course there will be people our children trust because they know them, as was the case here.

Snazzynewyear Thu 02-May-13 16:33:29

lottieandmia yes, the extended circles thing is an issue. And it may be that it's harder to enforce stricter control over your children in a small friendly town because everyone knows everyone, etc, whereas in the mean streets of big cities (meant light-heartedly...) it is different.

Spero yes, surely it's about time there was a big push on getting the best computer brains around to work on identifying people who are accessing child porn online.

NanaNina I'd heard something similar but can't give a source for it. Of course it depends on the definition of 'known' too; nowadays people think they 'know' people who they've never met face-to-face but have corresponded with for months online.

Spero Thu 02-May-13 16:39:18

I have also read that abductions by strangers have remained fairly constant at about ten a year since the 50s/60s and the sad fact is that children are most at risk of harm from their own parents.

But this kind of case is so horrible that it looms very large in our consciousness.

edam Thu 02-May-13 16:43:20

Yes, I had almost complete freedom to roam as a small child in the late 70s in a village in Yorkshire - was walking to school on my own (actually part of a gang of kids but not one organised by our parents) from the age of six.

I wouldn't let ds do that now because no other children do it, so it's not as safe. And there are more cars on the road, etc. etc. etc.

Re. cases like this - horrifying that the poor girl would have gone with him quite happy because he wasn't a stranger. Underlines the fact that teaching stranger danger is bad news, and it should be about personal safety - never going anywhere without checking with Mummy or Daddy it's OK, good touch and bad touch and all that stuff.

Mammyroo Mon 06-May-13 11:48:38

This is a really sad case and I think it is just human nature to want to understand and process news like this. I have a child the same age and everytime I walk past a newstand and see the increasingly horrible and graphic headlines screaming out I get the urge to cry. I don't think it is mawkish to have these feelings or that it is remotely comparable to the outpourings following Diana's death ...she was collectively mocked by the same people who then collectively grieved and she was a public figure etc... to compare the two is not appropriate.

This is just a child and whenever these horrible events happen to young children, yes, there is an expression of emotion from near and afar. stranger danger or someone you know...both are scary for different reasons. A lot of mothers are isolated and news like this can easily bring more fear and paranoia in. It is hard to remember (especially with the India cases too...) that there are good people in the world and that we should look for the helpers, the community that searched for her, the community that protest in India, the people who are outraged enough to do things about it, the police and jurors who will attempt to bring these cases to trial.

I do think that people who are traumatised by events like this in the news (and there are a lot of them...Facebook beheadings anyone?) should not feel ashamed of saying so. It is not about being grief tourists - although perhaps for some..however the feelings of horror would be the same if it was any child ...April was about as photogenic as any other child, and we haven't even seen pictures of the Indian children.

..but perhaps about trying to reconcile that there are bad things happening everyday. Large scale tragedy and single targeted cruelty. It is hard to avoid news stories. And then what can be actively done? As the poster above mentioned, teaching our kids safety, saying a prayer for April's family if you are so inclined, giving to a children's safety charity (rather than sending flowers to nowhere) signing a petition,pushing for internet safety, talking to a friend about the fearful emotions, and yes, hugging your children. Too freakin right. And appreciating that your sense of outrage shows that you are human and not desensitised enough to shrug and say whatever...

lborolass Tue 07-May-13 14:54:23

I've been reading the tweets from the reporter who's in court and today they are questioning a 7 year old friend of Aprils. I can't help but think that a child this young is very unlikely to be a reliable witness and it's very unfair to subject them to cross examination (I know this is done sensitively etc). -I dread to think about the responsibility this child will feel in the future whatever the outcome.

Spero Tue 07-May-13 15:51:15

It depends a lot on the child - much younger children have given evidence in criminal cases before. The evidence will presumably be pretty limited so hopefully the child won't be too traumatised. But I think its got to be done, its relevant evidence.

edam Tue 07-May-13 20:24:14

lboro, it sounds from the news reports as if the main evidence from April's friend was a pre-recorded interview with a friend, and that defence questioning was as careful as possible to avoid distressing the little girl.

fromparistoberlin Tue 07-May-13 21:59:14

I also dont understamd why some clever IT bod has not managed how to find and track acess to the vilest sites

Oh I know they are trying....but this keeps on happening

boschy Fri 24-May-13 14:32:15

I cannot believe the defence... "I forgot" WTAF?

AnyaKnowIt Thu 30-May-13 12:19:59

the verdict is due anytime now

AnyaKnowIt Thu 30-May-13 12:20:38

guilty of all three charges

StuffezLaYoni Thu 30-May-13 12:23:17

Thank God.
This has been a sickening business from start to finish.
Thoughts to April's family.

LIZS Thu 30-May-13 12:24:56

How could he put the family through that ? I hope he "recovers" his memory to give them some sort of closure at least. sad

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