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Ten years since girl's abduction

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  • Ten years since girl's abduction

    Ten years since girl's abduction

    A detective has relived the moment she had to tell a family their five-year-old daughter would not be coming home.

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    Det Sgt Hayley Heard was their liaison officer from the moment April Jones disappeared, 10 years ago on Saturday, until Mark Bridger was sentenced for her murder.

    She praised the family, from Machynlleth, Powys, for their strength through "dark moments".

    April was abducted on 1 October 2012, with her remains never found.

    Now-retired, CID officer Ms Heard remembers when April's mother Coral wanted to visit Bridger in prison, and when the parents of Madeleine McCann reached out to the family.

    "I think like everybody else, we weren't prepared for the horror that unfolded," she said.

    Along with a colleague from the public protection unit, Ms Heard was assigned to the family the morning after April disappeared, describing the first few hours as "chaotic, as you can imagine".

    She said: "Everyone wanted to look for April, family members were turning up, there was a media frenzy, everybody wanted to know what had happened."

    The effort to look for April became the largest search in British police history, with officers and members of the public arriving in Machynlleth from all over the UK.

    Ms Heard said the family were "overwhelmed" with the support.

    The bad news was given to the family in a room called the "sanctuary", which was a space away from their home, and she added: "The sanctuary was really important, they were having some quite harrowing information shared with them about their daughter.

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