On In People

“My Best Friend Married The Man Who Raped Me” Says The Bridesmaid

"I couldn't have gone to my best pal's wedding knowing what her new husband had done to me - and that it could happen again", words of a depressed woman who was living a nightmare. This 26-year-old woman (name hidden on purpose) was going to be the bridesmaid at her best friend April’s wedding, until she found out that the guy her best friend is going to marry is the reason for the destruction of her life. When she confronted April about her to-be-husband with the hope of saving her best friend’s life, she was unexpectedly shunned and insulted. Once best friends are upset and angry at what happened. April married Royal Army Medical Corps Officer Daniel Howard, 29, just three weeks before he was jailed for seven years. The attack happened at Howard’s home on a night out in Darlington, County Durham. Howard left the bed he shared with fiancee April and went to the next room to rape her friend. To add to the sorrow, the girl’s boyfriend committed suicide after a few days when he came to know about the assault that was made on his girlfriend. He partially blamed himself for this as he had switched off his phone the night his girlfriend was assaulted.

When she told her university pal and former best friend April about the assault, she refused to believe and went on with the wedding.

Upset with the breaking of the expected lifelong bond of friendship, she said,” Her former best friend, a university pal who thought their friendship would be a 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.”

She is shattered because now her friend circle is broken and she is trying really hard to get out of the depression.

“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.”

Her boyfriend had been a ‘rock’ while she was going through all the police complain work, but her broke down eventually and committed suicide.

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.”

Howard claimed in the court that the case was out of jealousy.

He claimed she had found a sex toy he had used weeks earlier, and then hid it in a drawer in the room where she stayed – to use it as evidence, acting out of jealousy over his relationship. The jury at Teesside crown court dismissed his claims and convicted him in just 90 minutes. The recorder Andrew Sutcliffe, QC, spoke against Howard’s claim: “In the face of overwhelming DNA evidence to the contrary, you continued to deny this ever happened. This attempt to humiliate your victim severely exacerbated the wrong you had already done to her.”

April married Howard, who is an alumni of the Sandhurst military academy, in a lavish wedding last month and wept at the court as he was found guilty after a four-day trial.

The victim is destroyed emotionally as well. She says, “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. Sadly, she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She says, “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.”