Wednesday 17 October 2018

Fresh heartbreak: Father of April Jones 'relearns of daughter's murder after suffering memory loss after virus'

April Jones. Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire
April Jones. Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire

Ryan Wilkinson

The father of murdered schoolgirl April Jones suffered the devastation of learning of his daughter's death for a second time after a virus damaged his memory, her mother has said.

Paul Jones (49) asked why his daughter had not been to see him as he recovered from a severe case of encephalitis, a potentially lethal brain condition.

April's mother, Coral, told the Sunday People how her husband had recognised the youngster in family photos used to jog his memory.

"He asked, 'What happened to April?'

"I had to tell him she was no longer with us and that she'd been killed.

"He broke down. It was an awful conversation because he was so emotional and it was so hard for me to speak about it.

"I couldn't go on, I just couldn't tell him any more. It was like reliving it all over again."

April, five, was snatched from outside her home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on October 1 2012 before being murdered by paedophile Mark Bridger.

Coral (centre) and Paul Jones, the parents of April Jones give a statement outside Mold Crown Court after Mark Bridger was given a whole life sentence for the abduction and murder of the schoolgirl. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 30, 2013. See PA story COURTS April. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Coral (centre) and Paul Jones, the parents of April Jones give a statement outside Mold Crown Court after Mark Bridger was given a whole life sentence for the abduction and murder of the schoolgirl. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 30, 2013. See PA story COURTS April. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Her parents' marriage withstood the immense strain of the harrowing ordeal, although Mr Jones' illness came as a major blow.

Mrs Jones said: "How much more can my family take?

"I've already lost my daughter and now I have lost my soulmate and my rock and I feel so alone.

"Paul is the only person who can truly understand the pain I have felt over losing April."

Mr Jones reportedly fell ill 18 months ago and spent more than a year in hospital recovering.

The infection and resulting brain swelling led to the loss of memory for most of the last decade, although Mrs Jones said he remembers some people closest to him.

Bridger, who was convicted of April's murder, child abduction and perverting the course of justice, refused to tell police what he had done with the youngster's body - although officers did recover fragments of her skull from his fireplace.

The former lifeguard was sentenced to a whole life tariff, meaning he will die behind bars.

Press Association

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