April Sykes was just 18 years-old when she suffered her horrendous ordeal at the hands of monster Virgil Samuels.
She had been travelling in a car with Samuels and a friend when he suddenly flipped out.
First he began attempting to strangle her pal Brandon McMinn, forcing her to pull over.
Samuels then locked Brandon in the boot, before turning to April.
She attempted to flee but he caught up with her.
Samuels raped April multiple times during a night of terror.
Then when he discovered that Brandon had escaped from the boot, he bundled April in there, poured petrol over her and set her alight.
Incredibly, brave April managed to get out of the boot and walk down the street in the pouring rain – somebody picked her up and rushed her to hospital with burns over more than 64 per cent of her body.
Doctors didn’t know if she would survive the night, but she did.
She had her right hand amputated just below her elbow and the fingers on her left hand were amputated too.
April recovered and later met landscape gardener Chris The pair have had their first child, something April never believed possible She was burned over almost the whole of her body – 43 per cent of her burns were third degree.
Since then, she has battled back to regain her life and her biggest wish was to have her own family, something the doctors weren’t sure she could ever achieve.
The crime shocked the city of Paris, Tennessee, where April’s father Jackie was a police sergeant in 2005.
|April and Chris|
Samuels tried to flee but later handed himself in a pleaded guilty to multiple charges including rape, attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping.
He was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2007.
More than decade after the despicable crime, April now feels she is finally putting her suffering behind her.
She is engaged to her partner Chris, 32, a landscaper, and now she has nine months old baby boy Jonah.
Now aged 29, she said: “I have adapted myself to cope with Jonah because of course I am limited.
“I have my own way of carrying him and picking him up and now he’s bigger, I’m not afraid to hold him.
“I’ve learned that a person isn’t defined by what has happened to them. In the end I chose life.