A pregnant mum shot six times in her living room says she thinks her 15-stone body saved her life during the terrifying attack.
Leona Brown was sat down cradling her baby bump when a gunman opened fire on her home in Walthamstow, north-east London, in a case of mistaken identity.
The mother initially thought someone was banging on the door, but it was actually bullets flying through the woodwork.
Leona, 39, said: “I was glad and relieved it happened to me in a way and not anyone else.
“Probably because I have got so much weight on it cushioned in me, whereas everyone else is slimmer.
“If that happened to my partner or my children or the boy it would have gone to the organs but will be because I’m size 16 my body cushioned it.
“With Leo I was 15 stone pregnant, I’m usually 14 and a half stone. I’m very happy with the weight I am.”
Describing the moment she was shot, Leona said it initially felt like she was being hit with stones.
But her torso and arm soon started to burn and she was shocked to see blood coming from six bullet holes in her body when she looked down.
Terrified, she felt her unborn child kicking in panic in her stomach.
And as her motherly instincts kicked in, she only had thoughts for the baby’s life.
“When I heard the first bang the gun was going rapid like, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,” said the tearful mother-of-five.
“When the shots went off repeatedly, I didn’t even know what hit me. I stood up and saw a hole in my chest.
“One went in the wall just above my head, literally. Bullets hit my door, floor, doorstep and there were some in my hallway.
“The person emptied the whole gun – I’m very lucky to be alive.
“I just laid on the floor and my partner was on the phone to the emergency services.”
She was taken to the Royal London Hospital where she had a hole in her chest and four wounds in her arm, along with a fragment in her leg.
In total six bullet fragments hit her.
The volley of bullets was fired at Leona’s house on March 3 last year.
It is believed the bullets were intended for a teen boy – a neighbour’s son – who had taken refuge in Leona’s house about half an hour earlier after a man she didn’t recognise tried to bundle the lad into his van.
Leona’s then partner had allowed the shocked teen inside to protect him from the adult stranger.
But after he called his parents to pick him up, a hail of bullets were fired at Leona’s home in an apparent retaliatory attack.
Leona survived and delivered a healthy 7.7lbs baby – Leo – on June 21 last year via emergency caesarean.
She added: “He has come out so perfect, I thought maybe he would have a mark on him or something but on his body he doesn’t have a mark at all.”
The attack has driven Leona into hiding far away from her support network and has had a devastating toll on her older children, now 23, 21, 19 and eight.
It caused so much stress she broke up with her long-term boyfriend.
But she says the father is still in regular contact and part of Leo’s life.
In relation to the shooting, the Met Police arrested and charged a man in June.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson previously said: “Detectives from the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force have charged a man with drugs and firearms offences.
“Mudassar Ishtiaq, 32, of Cormorant Close, Waltham Forest, was arrested on June 9 after a search warrant was executed at his address.
“In the course of the search, a quantity of ammunition and controlled drugs were recovered.
“Ishtiaq was charged on June 10 with possession of ammunition without a certificate and possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply.”
In February Ishtiaq was sentenced to four years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court in relation to the drugs charges, but the possession of ammunition count was not proceeded with.
He was also slapped with forfeiture and destruction of drugs and confiscation of the cash and a £190 victim surcharge.
A Met Police spokesperson confirmed no one else has been arrested in relation to this case.