Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cowardly Lies of the Killer Who Claimed the 'Huntley Defence'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cowardly Lies of the Killer Who Claimed the 'Huntley Defence'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Cheston Courts Correspondent

MARK BRIDGER'S pathetic lies to the jury in the face of overwhelming evidence is known around the courts as the "Ian Huntley defence".

Like the Soham double killer, both paedophiles based their whole defence on the flimsy, utterly incredible excuse that a terrible accident had happened then "I panicked".

Earlier this month, Stuart Hazell, the killer of his girlfriend's granddaughter Tia Sharp, tried the same trick until changing his plea to guilty in midtrial.

In Bridger's case, it was nothing more than a cowardly attempt to waste court time and public money to put off the day he faced a life sentence confining him to the same solitary cell conditions as Huntley himself.

The kidnap and murder of a little girl and his refusal to reveal where her remains lie assures that he will be a marked man inside.

In 2003, former school caretaker Huntley claimed there had been an accident in his bathroom so he panicked and Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both aged 10, ended up dead.

He bundled their bodies into the boot of his car drove off to a secluded spot and set fire to them in a ditch.

Nine years later, whatever happened to April Jones, Bridger clearly reacted in the same way, determined not to leave a scrap of evidence of his victim.

He said he had run over April when drunk and, in a daze, picked her up, put her in his car and drove her to his house. After that, somehow, he remembered nothing, he said. Bridger spent two and a half days in the witness box presenting his collection of halfbaked claims and flagrant lies to the jury.

Why did he have a stash of child porn on his laptop? He replied that he had accidentally stumbled on the images while looking for SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons for his daughter.

Why did he have pictures of local girls, including April Jones and her sisters taken from Facebook? He said he had downloaded them for his children "at their request".

"Were they for your sexual gratification? "No."

"Have you ever had a sexual interest in young children?" "No."

Why were saws, knives and hacksaws found in his living room? …

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