The former abattoir worker accused of murdering schoolgirl April Jones made up a "story" that he had killed her in a car accident in a bid to "explain away" his role in the killing, a court has heard.
Mark Bridger, 47, denies murdering the five-year-old after he abducted her as she played outside her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 1 last year. April's body has never been found.
On the second day of opening the case for the prosecution, Elwen Evans QC took the jury through the story Bridger told when he was arrested on October 2, which including him wanting to "say sorry" to April's family.
Miss Evans said: "We know that the prosecution case is that the defendant's account is a lie."
She added: "He was now coming up with a story to try and explain away April's disappearance and his role in that."
Miss Evans said Bridger told police who approached him: "I know what this about." He then went on to give the arresting officers his account of what happened.
He said: "It was an accident. I crushed her with the car. I don't know where she is. As I was going to drive away two girls on bikes came across me. I then got out and saw a little girl lying under my car. I picked her up and put her in my car, which is left-hand drive, and put her on the front seat."
Miss Evans told the jury that Bridger carried on telling police officers his story as he was being driven to Aberystwyth Police Station.
He said: "I had been looking for her all night and did it on foot because my car is in the garage. I didn't abduct her. I did my best to revive her. I panicked."
He continued: "I just wish I knew what I had done with her, where I have put her. I need to say sorry to her family. I can't believe I didn't just call an ambulance or the police."