LONDON (AFP) - A man accused of abducting a five-year-old girl whose disappearance sparked one of Britain's biggest ever police searches has denied murdering her but is "probably responsible" for her death, his lawyer said Monday.
Former lifeguard Mark Bridger, 46, denied three charges including the murder and abduction of April Jones, whose has been missing from the Welsh town of Machynlleth since October despite a massive search by police and volunteers.
Bridger's lawyer told Mold Crown Court in Wales that while his client denies murder, in his trial his defence would involve him "conceding that he probably killed the child" although he did not murder her.
The trial is set to begin on Feb 25 and last four weeks.
The case has gripped Britain and prompted hundreds of local volunteers to join the search for April, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Bridger, who is from the village of Ceinws in central Wales, was arrested on Oct 2, a day after April disappeared while playing on her bicycle close to her home in nearby Machynlleth.
Her parents Coral and Paul Jones, who were both in court as Bridger entered his not guilty pleas, had let her play out late as a reward for receiving a good school report.