Playback singer randomly shot dead in London in ‘gang initiation’
A Reading singer had to move back in with her parents after she was randomly shot seconds from her flat in London. Natalie Gray moved to the capital to boost her music career but nearly died when a stranger shot her as part of a ‘gang initiation’.
The “only reason” Natalie is alive today is because the bullet lodged in the gun. She said the most “terrifying” thing about the ordeal was the fact that the person wasn’t trying to assault her and take away her wallet or phone, but her life.
She said: “With this the end goal was to kill me which was a very hard pill to swallow that someone could just do this for no reason.” The incident left Natalie with PTSD. Coupled with memories of an abusive relationship she had been in as a youngster, Natalie was inspired to create a podcast with her best friend, Farah, where they address the issue of violence against women.
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Farah had also been in an abusive relationship and Natalie says without their friendship she would have just locked herself away. After being shot, Natalie struggled to get out as the incident was both violent and random and made her afraid to turn corners.
Natalie said: “I was informed by the police that it was a gang initiation and it was just a really bad time, I was the first person he saw when he pulled out the gun and it was literally 10 seconds from my flat in London I think that was the most terrifying thing because if he tried to mug me or rob me I would know there was a reason so that with this, the end goal was to kill me, which was a really hard pill to swallow that someone could do this for no reason.”
After the shooting, Natalie returned to her home in Reading and “sort of broke down”. Having previously been in an abusive relationship, old fears and emotions also resurfaced.
Natalie said: “All the old emotions of fear of men kicked in and I was diagnosed with PTSD following the gun attack. I’ve been in therapy ever since. Being in therapy has kind of brought up everything I had ever seen as a weak woman or not good enough.
“The weirdest thing was during Covid I had never felt safer because I was locked in my house I was in a bubble and didn’t have to go out so when the lockdown came been lifted and life returned to normal per se, I had a really bad relapse of PTSD and had to go back to some therapy just to be able to walk past someone on the street. in London for years and the gun attack happened seven years ago now and I’m still suffering from PTSD.”
Despite everything that’s happened to her, Natalie calls herself “lucky.” Lucky for her friendship and lucky the bullet got stuck where she did as she says “it’s the only reason” she’s alive.
After the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, Natalie and Farah felt compelled to speak out about gender-based violence and their own experiences with it. The duo have created a podcast, aimed at those who have been through abusive relationships.
Following the success of the podcast, Natalie and Farah will launch a UK-wide tour called Take Back the Beat which will take place this summer. The duo will raise money for Women’s Aid through music and will visit Manchester, London and Brighton.
- The free national domestic abuse helpline is on 0808 2000 247
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Update: This article has been edited to reflect that the bullet lodged in the weapon.