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Natalie Bignell: Woman, 26, paralysed after being shot in crossfire in Hackney

·3-min read
Natalie Bignell, 32, was a keen traveller before she was shot in the neck (GoFundMe)
Natalie Bignell, 32, was a keen traveller before she was shot in the neck (GoFundMe)

A woman shot in crossfire in Hackney’s London Fields has detailed her road to recovery after being paralysed by the stray bullet.

Natalie Bignell, 32, was shot in the neck and suffered a C4 spinal cord injury.

Police believed the shooting took place between two rival gangs, one of which was filming a Drill music video in November.

Ms Bignell, from Plymouth, is now learning to paint again without the use of her hands as part of her recovery to become “Natalie 2.0”.

She wrote: “Ten months ago my whole life got turned upside down in a second.

“Back in November 2020 I was shot through the neck by a bullet and fought for my life. I will forever be grateful to everybody that saved me as it’s a miracle I’m still here.

“Although I’m still alive the injury has changed my life. The bullet not only severed my main artery but it also went through my spinal cord leaving me with a C4 injury. This means I’m paralysed from the neck down.”

After emerging from a coma the fashion worker has gradually begun the slow road to recovery.

She added on Instagram: “After weeks on life support I was finally able to breathe by myself, eat solid food and I got my voice back. This was by far the happiest day of my life. From this point on I was able to start my rehab.

“My rehab started at Stanmore’s specialist spinal centre where the amazing team helped me regain some movement back in my shoulders, arms and wrists. This was the point I started to draw again, but without any use of my hands.

“After almost six months of hard work in hospital I was let loose and finally reunites with family and friends after Covid.

“I’m now getting used to my new life as Natalie 2.0.”

She detailed the heart-warming moment she saw her family again (@sneaky_biggers/Instagram)
She detailed the heart-warming moment she saw her family again (@sneaky_biggers/Instagram)

Her sister Rebecca wrote on Facebook that Natalie was her “absolute hero”.

She said: “10 months ago I received the worst phone call of my life, the police tell me my sister has been shot in the neck.

“Even now it’s still unbelievable, this just doesn’t happen, but I’m so bloody happy she’s alive, able to talk, breathe and be the Natalie we love. But that night, the bullet changed her life forever and she is paralysed from the neck down.”

On an appeal to raise money for her sister’s rehab, which has already raised more than £25,000, she added: “Natalie is a creative, kind, compassionate and loyal person who before the incident had a career in fashion ecommerce, loved travelling, socialising and enjoying life as a go-getting 32-year-old.

“With her second chance at life Natalie has plans to continue exploring her creativity through painting, drawing and making prints - all hugely inspirational given her injuries.”

Two men have been charged with the shooting and are expected to appear in court next year.

Det Insp Matt Webb from the Met’s Trident team described how his team has heard from witnesses that about 10 people were together in nearby Broadway Market about 10 minutes before Ms Bignell was injured.

“It appears the group were being filmed for the purposes of a music video, with professional looking camera equipment,” he said.

“It then appears that the group have become involved in an altercation with another group of people who arrived at the scene.

“During this incident one of the groups produced and discharged a firearm and both groups then fled the scene.

“The victim was an innocent bystander and left seriously injured in the street.”

Reuel Briscoe, 28, and Jeremiah Briscoe, 24, were both charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. The pair will appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 15 April.

To donate to Natasha’s GoFundMe please click here.

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