Mid Wales

April Jones: Family's campaign for tougher laws takes 'step forward'

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Media caption'Drink was my release', says sister of murdered schoolgirl April Jones

The sister of murdered Machynlleth schoolgirl April Jones has said her family's campaign for tougher sentences for sex offenders has taken a step forward.

Jazmin Jones' petition for 'April's Law' has now reached more than 100,000 signatures and will be debated in Parliament.

It calls for sex offenders to remain on the register for life.

Five-year-old April was killed by paedophile Mark Bridger in 2012.

Miss Jones, 21, said: "We want any child sex offenders, anyone who has downloaded images or looked at images, to stay on the sex offenders' register for life."

Bridger was looking at child pornography before he abducted April and Miss Jones believes internet search engines should be better policed.

"He had over 500 images on his computer of children.

Image copyright Jazmin Jones

"If he'd been caught with them before and if the internet was monitored better, police could have got to him then and he'd have been on the sex offenders register and there could have been a different outcome for us."

She expressed her frustration that the petition had been stuck at just over 37,000 signatures in its first few months.

"It was going really slow and other petitions were flying up and past the 100,000 mark. I thought 'this petition I've started could save a child's life' and it wasn't getting any more signatures.

"So when it finally passed the 100,000 mark I was really excited.

"It just meant maybe they might listen to us. I know there's a long way to go, but it's another small step.

Image copyright Police
Image caption Mark Bridger received a whole-life sentence for April's murder

"We're hopeful it will get the law out and even if it saves one child's life we'll prevent another family having to go through what we've been through."

Miss Jones also revealed she had battled with alcohol since April's murder and that starting the petition had helped her gain focus.

"I felt I couldn't relate to anyone, no-one had been through what I'd been through.

"So when I turned 18 I just turned to drink as a sort of release. I'd finish work about three or four in the afternoon and I'd go to the pub and drink all night, to the point I didn't remember who I was, I didn't remember my name.

"I'd wake up in the morning with cuts and bruises because I'd fallen over the night before.

"I was getting so drunk all the time I thought if I carried on I was going to kill myself.

"So I thought I can't put the family through this and also thought, being April's older sister, I can't act like this for April's sake. So I had to stop and I focused on this campaign and now petition."

MPs have agreed to debate April's Law in Westminster Hall on 13 March.

You can see more on this story on BBC Wales Today, Monday at 18:30 GMT.

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