Sister of murdered April Jones reveals comment that stopped her drinking herself to death

ENDLESS nights of swigging back shots and downing bottles of spirits had become the norm for the teenage sister of murdered schoolgirl April Jones.

But when her childhood pal pulled her back from yet another boozy brawl, Jazmin Jones was forced to end her spiral of self-destruction when he dared to ask: "What would April think?"

 Jazmin Jones was 16 when her five-year-old sister April was snatched by paedo Mark Bridger

It was then she looked down at her battered body –  covered in cuts and bruises from her drunken falls – and realised she had been drinking herself to death.

Jazmin, a 21-year-old bartender from Machynlleth, Wales, has today told of the moment she hit rock bottom as she struggled to cope with living as a murder victim's sister.

She told The Sun Online: "You're no longer the same person you were. You don't have the same normality as the person next to you does.

"I had so much anger because I went from having a normal life, to suddenly my whole world changing.

 Jazmin, 21, and her parents took a petition to Parliament for sex offenders to remain on the register for life

"Everyone focuses on the parents losing a child. I felt so alone.

"For a long time I was the person who didn't cry and just kept everything bottled up. I turned to drink to be able to cope and that's how it all came out."

Five-year-old April was snatched as she played outside her home in Machynlleth, Wales, on October 1, 2012 by her paedo killer Mark Bridger.

Looking back, Jazmin believes she would have died too if it wasn't for her best friend who stopped her drinking "everything and anything" to cope with what happened to her younger sister.

 Little April Jones with sister Jazmin who has struggled to cope since her death

At her worst, Jazmin was knocking back bottles of vodka, wine, and shots of sambuca, tequila and jäger to numb her pain.

Concerned family and friends tried to warn Jazmin to quit the booze – but the then 18-year-old wouldn't listen.

The final straw came when Jazmin started a row in the pub – and her best friend delivered some home truths.

She said: "I lost my temper and was basically just being a b****.

 April Jones' family have all struggled to cope with the five-year-old's death

"My best friend just turned round to me and said 'what would your sister think of you?'

"I went absolutely mad at him. I lost it totally, telling him he was an a***hole for saying it.

"I hated him for it."

Reality hit when Jazmin sobered up and let her friend's tough love sink in.

 Family photo taken before April was snatched of dad Paul, mum Coral, brother Harley and Jazmin

She said: "I wouldn't stop drinking until silly o'clock in the morning until I was absolutely steaming.

"The amount of times I got myself into a state where anything could have happened to me.

"I thought to myself 'what would April say, what would she think of me? I need to stop this.'

"At that moment it clicked and I went to my friend and said 'thank you, you just saved my life.'"

 The family support each other at April's funeral where they wore her favourite colour pink

"If I had had carried on, I genuinely don't know what would have happened.

"I owe him my life. I would honestly be lost without him."

Remembering April, Jazmin describes her as the "centre of the family".

Since her death, Jazmin says her family have faced a tough time as they all battled grief in their own way.

 Jazmin pictured inside April's bedroom with her favourite toys when she was 19

Her mum sunk into a deep depression, and later admitted her daughter's death almost drove her to take her own life.

Meanwhile Jazmin was forced to become a parent to her younger brother as her dad continued to support the family.

Jazmin said: "When she was alive, everything was based around April, there was no denying it.

"After she died I had to grow up overnight and become a parent to my brother.

 Mum Coral is comforted as she cries for daughter April at her funeral

"I no longer had an annoying little sister to annoy me. I had taken it all for granted.

"I miss that. I know I'm never going to have her annoying me ever again."

Despite an investigation costing £8.5million over six months, April's body was never found.

He left behind only fragments of human bone and blood matching April’s DNA at his cottage in Ceinws.

 April was playing on her bicycle close to her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in Machynlleth, Wales

It was there twisted Bridger is believed to have sexually assaulted the little girl before killing her and disposing of her remains.

The father-of-six was convicted of her murder on May 30, 2013 – but still claims he killed her accidentally when he hit her with his car.

Last Sunday was the fifth anniversary of April's disappearance.

Jazmin and her family chose to keep the occasion low key – refusing to let memories of killer Mark Bridger creep in.

 Jazmin hopes to change the law by keeping sex offenders on the register for life in memory of April

She said: "It's a day you don't want to remember.

"Why should I stop my day to remember something he did in such a selfish act?

"If April was here she would want me to carry on as normal.

"I literally have no feelings for him, I don't have hatred, anger or anything towards him at all.

 April's body was never found after her killer claimed he 'couldn't remember' where he had taken her

"Why should I waste any energy or feelings when he did what he did."

Instead, Jazmin, who dreams of travelling around the world with her partner, is focusing her efforts on getting tougher sentences for sex offenders.

In March, her family presented a petition in Parliament which had gained more than 100,000 signatures.

They are now waiting for MPs to take the next steps towards introducing "April's Law", which will ensure sex offenders are kept on the register for life.


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