A week ago, a little 5-year-old girl was playing happily with her family in Wales. It had been a normal Sunday night with the family, like thousands of others across the UK, contemplating the week ahead. Just twenty-four hours later, however, that family’s world was devastated when their wee girl was taken away in the most awful of circumstances. Little April Jones was last seen climbing into the front of a van in the Welsh town of Machynlleth in mid Wales - and has not been seen since.
Mark Bridger has now been charged with murder, child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He is due before magistrates in Aberystwyth on Monday.
The wee girl’s body has still to be found and quite what her family must be going through right now can only be imagined. Now Mr Bridger will be afforded a fair trial as justice demands and until he is proved without doubt to be guilty then judgement should be reserved - difficult though that may be. However, if he does stand trial and is found guilty one can only assume he will receive life imprisonment. Whether life will actually mean life is another matter.
My view - and I suspect this may be shared by others - is that for crimes such as this, and if there is absolutely no doubt about the guilt of the accused, then capital punishment should be brought back. I’ve heard the arguments against this such as there have been many miscarriages of justice through the years and capital punishment might result in the death of innocent people. Fair enough but if there is no doubt that the accused carried out such a heinous crime then they do not deserve to live a life they have denied one so young. Two wrongs don’t make a right I hear human rights protesters say. Well what about the human rights of the little girl allegedly murdered and the rights of her shattered family who will have to live with this devastation for the rest of their years?
I’ve also heard the view that paedophiles need treatment for their ‘illness’ and should be rehabilitated. Now I may not be politically correct here but there are two words that spring to my mind when I hear this - absolute bollocks. Little April Jones will never be ‘rehabilitated’ and there can be no treatment that will ever ease the suffering of her family. Committing an act of murder is appalling at any time; when it is committed against a young, defenceless child there should be no question of rehabilitation. Anyone who commits such an act should pay for this with their own life. Yes, a life for a life. Instead, the British taxpayer will have to pay for the upkeep of a child murderer, no doubt kept in isolation for his own safety.
As the grandfather of a 5 year old girl, the disappearance of April Jones - and I sincerely hope they find her body at least - brings home just how dangerous our society can be. If someone can commit such an evil act, in my view they don’t deserve to live.
It’s been decades since capital punishment was last served in this country. If the murderer of little April Jones is brought to justice, I have no doubt there would no shortage of people willing to put the rope round their neck.