THE sister of murdered schoolgirl April Jones has spoken out about her family’s suffering since her death – and how it will never end.
April’s older sister Jazmin, 27, chillingly spoke of how monster Mark Bridger attempted to communicate with her before he abducted the youngster in 2012.
April’s disappearance from her home in Machynlleth, Wales in 2012 sparked the biggest manhunt in British police history.
But despite a national search to find the missing five-year-old, her body was tragically never found.
Local man Mark Bridger, a former abattoir worker, was later convicted of April’s abduction and murder, but his actions left a harrowing impression on the devastated family.
Speaking in a new documentary set to air on Channel 4 next week, Jazz said: “When she went, the whole thing just collapsed.
“Our family was fractured. Things are better now but, from that night, I didn’t have a mother. I had just lost my sister, and then I lost my mother too.
“I had to grow up overnight. I was on my own, really, trying to look after my little brother (just ten at the time), trying to help my dad.”
Speaking to the documentary, Jazmin’s mum Coral spoke of the devastating impact of Bridger’s heinous crime.
“He abused her,” he says.
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“They found her DNA in his pants. Then we think he chopped her up and burnt her, after whatever he did to her.”
Jazmin said that although the details of the crime were unthinkable, she feels she needed to learn what happened to her sister to try and cope with the loss.
“I needed those answers,” she said.
“When you don’t have them you go to the worst-case scenario — what you are imagining is so terrible that anything is better than that.”
The now-27-year-old revealed that just a year before April’s murder, Bridger had attempted to communicate with her on Facebook.
Following his arrest, the predator was found to have downloaded disturbing images of children, some pornographic, alongside photographs of April and Jazz.
She said he had tried to add her on Facebook, leading to questions over his potential obsession with the two and his targeting of April.
“It makes my skin crawl,” she said.
“I don’t want to think about it. I want to believe she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if that was the case, I would have swapped places with her a million times over. I would have taken her place.”
She said that she and April, who was born with cerebral palsy, developed a special bond, as she became adept at caring for her little sister.
“When April came home from hospital, she had a hole in her heart and we were told we couldn’t let her cry because it would put strain on her,” she recalled.
“So my brother, Harley, and I would run to lift her when she cried.”
But after Bridger snatched the youngster, Jazz said her devastated family struggled to deal with the harrowing loss.
She said her mum Coral fell into a deep depression, staying in bed for days at a time.
Jazmin added: “I can understand her headspace, now, but at the time I was saying: ‘You still have a daughter!’
“But I was the forgotten daughter. I know that sounds selfish, but I was 16 and I didn’t have a mother for the last few years of my childhood.
“Afterwards, people would ask ‘How are your mum and dad doing?’ – No one asked how I was doing.
“At about 18 I started to drink heavily. When I drank I could forget my life, but that led to more rows at home.”
She said one of the most heartbreaking after-effects of losing April was still needing to sleep in the room they had shared, which was full of the five-year-olds things.
“Her teddies were all at the bottom of her bed. Her clothes, toys, DVDs were all over the place,” Jazz recalls.
“Every morning I’d wake up and in that time before you are completely awake, I’d look over expecting to see her.
“Unless I looked at the wall, I couldn’t avoid her things.”
Bridger will now spend the rest of his life behind bars for his harrowing crime, but Jazz says she doesn’t want to spend any time thinking of the monster.
“I have hated him, in the past, but now I don’t think he’s even worth that,” she says.
Now ten years on from the ordeal, Jazz said she can tragically no longer recall April’s face.
She said: “I can’t see her face unless I look at a photograph. I can’t remember how tall she is, how her voice sounds”.
The Disappearance Of April Jones starts on Channel 4 on Monday, December 12 at 9pm.
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