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article imageOp-Ed: Two slightly unusual murder trials

By Alexander Baron     Jan 14, 2013 in Crime
Mold - The man charged with the murder of 5 year old April Jones has pleaded not guilty to her murder even though he says he is "probably responsible" for her death, while the brother of Gemma McCluskie has admitted disposing of her body but again denies murder.
Murder - even alleged murder - is never a pleasant business, but crime buffs should relish these two. The death of former soap actress Gemma McCluskie was reported here last year. The trial of her alleged murderer is now underway at the Central Criminal Court, the accused is her own brother.
The story that is unfolding is both tragic and sad. According to the BBC local evening news last night - Monday - Gemma said her brother was constantly stoned and didn't know what he was doing. That is in essence his defence. Tony McCluskie remembers arguing with his sister but claims not to remember killing her, nor disposing of her body. Denying he killed her is not really an option because of the compelling evidence of his dumping her body in the Regent's Canal, including blood in the boot of his car and CCTV. His defence of guilty to manslaughter has not been accepted by the prosecution, and the case continues.
The actress Gemma McCluskie  whose dismembered body was dumped in the Regent s Canal by her own brot...
The actress Gemma McCluskie, whose dismembered body was dumped in the Regent's Canal by her own brother.
Metropolitan Police
Even more tragic than the death of Gemma McCluskie is that of April Jones. The five year old disappeared from the street near her home in the Welsh village of Machynlleth in October. Local man Mark Bridger was arrested shortly; April was seen getting into a vehicle by a number of very young witnesses, which can cause problems in court. Yesterday though, Monday, when he appeared in court for a combined pleas and directions/case management hearing, Bridger pleaded not guilty to abduction, murder and perverting the course of justice but admitted through his counsel that he was "probably responsible" for April's death.
It is accepted that April is dead, even though her body has not been found.
In the United States, this sort of admission would lead to not only enormous speculation in the media but to forthright comments by the police. Here though, the Contempt Of Court Act 1981 prevents this, and the Attorney General himself will be monitoring press coverage to ensure Bridger receives a fair trial. The case is due to begin at Mold Crown Court on the 25th of next month when no doubt Wales, the rest of Britain and indeed the rest of the world will be watching.
In the meantime, the search goes on for a little girl lost so that she may at least be given a decent burial.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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