Royal Army Medical Corps officer Daniel Howard , 29, was jailed last week for seven years for rape after the bridesmaid reported the case to the police.
Her former best friend whom she had known since their University days said:
“I was meant to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. We were meant to have children at similar times and raise them together.
“I only said something in the first place to try to protect April.
“I couldn’t have stood in church on her wedding day knowing what had happened and that it would most probably happen again.”Revealing her heartbreak in a victim impact statement, the woman added:
“Our whole friendship group has become divided when I most needed my close friends.
“I went travelling around Asia by myself before all this – now I’m scared to live by myself in England.”
His terrified victim, a professional woman now aged 26, tried to call her own boyfriend after the attack but his phone was switched off.
She went to hospital alone, where nurses contacted police.
The woman spoke of how her boyfriend had been like “a rock” as she struggled to cope, but killed himself because he couldn't bear to think of what happened to her and that he was unavailable when she needed him most.
She said:“He felt partly responsible for what had happened, he had turned his phone off that night. I couldn’t get hold of him.
“He never forgave himself for that. He always worried every time I went somewhere and wouldn’t sleep if I went out, it put a strain on us.”
“He committed suicide a few months after we broke up.
“Even though there were multiple things contributing to this it had quite an effect on him.
“He was always my rock and supported me through everything. I feel this is partly my fault. The rape made me a nightmare girlfriend. He shouldn’t have had to deal with anything like this.”When Howard was arrested, he denied the allegation and tried to explain how his DNA was found on intimate swabs from his victim which was lame.
He claimed she had found a sex toy he had used weeks earlier, hidden in a drawer in the room where she stayed and had used it to leave the evidence, acting out of jealousy over his relationship with his bride, April.
His claims were dismissed by the jury at Teesside crown court, who took just 90 minutes to convict him.
In her victim statement, the former bridesmaid-tobe- said:
“I’m really upset my friendship with April no longer exists.
“April was my best friend from Uni. I can’t actually believe she doesn’t believe me. A person I really cared for and who cared for me has been turned against me. I can’t believe April is a witness, fighting against me when we always fought together and for each other.”
"He loves April and April loves him so why this happened I will never know.
“I blamed myself until I had counselling. I thought the playsuit I wore was too provocative, but any 24-year-old would have worn it. Then I thought maybe I looked too similar to April.
“I never worried and would dress up in ridiculous outfits at Uni with April, we didn’t care. I’m so conscious of other people’s perceptions now.”
She added: “I was ready to buy my own house but don’t feel confident enough to be by myself.
“It sounds silly but I am frightened someone will come and get me again and no one will know. I had a job I loved, a strong relationship, a bright future.
“Now I feel damaged and broken. My sister is a lot more protective of me – I’m supposed to be her big sister.”