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Charity founder, 38, learns to walk again after being paralysed by a white-tailed spider bite

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A woman who was left paralysed and on life support after being bitten by a white-tailed spider hiding in her Ugg boot has defied the odds by learning to walk again. 

Naomi Lambert, then-27, was putting on her Uggs in the bedroom of her parents’ home in Adelaide, South Australia, when she was bitten by the venomous spider.

The bite started a chain of events that would see the charity founder develop cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, and rapidly lose function of her body leaving her completely paralysed – but conscious – on life support.

After weeks in ICU, doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own nerves.

Ms Lambert told Daily Mail Australia of how she spent nine months in rehab in 2009 learning to walk, hold a pen and live independently again.

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

‘It wasn’t really that painful – I wasn’t screaming my head off or anything, it just felt a like a bee sting,’ she said.

Bites from a white-tailed spider can be moderately painful and cause temporary itching and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks. 

But after being bitten, Ms Lambert developed a bacterial infection called cellulitis in her foot and she was admitted to hospital for treatment.

An abscess quickly developed and she underwent surgery to remove the growth.

It was during recovery that things took a more sinister turn.

‘I started to get very weak, but the doctors assumed it was just muscle deterioration because I’d been in hospital for a few weeks,’ she said.

‘Then one day I stood up and literally dropped backwards. Things spiralled pretty quickly from there.

‘I tried to pick up a band aid it felt like I was lifting kilos.’

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common and sometimes painful bacterial skin infection. 

It first appears as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch and redness can spread quickly.

It most commonly affects the skin of the lower legs, although infection can occur anywhere on the body or face.

If cellulitis remains untreated, it can become life-threatening.

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

Unable to support herself, Ms Lambert found it increasingly difficult to breathe and she developed a chesty cough.  

‘My mum was lying with me reading one evening, and my breathing got so bad there was about 40 seconds between each breath,’ she said.

Her mother alerted staff and she was placed on life support within minutes.

‘I was conscious but couldn’t communicate. I was fully paralysed, it was like being trapped inside my own body,’ she said.

‘I was having panic attacks, but couldn’t tell anyone or do anything about it.’

After weeks on a ventilator, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and severe immune deficiency triggered by the cellulitis infection from the spider bite.

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome? 

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare disorder which involves the body’s immune system attacking the nerves.

The first symptoms are weakness and tingling in the fingers and toes. These sensations spread quickly, eventually paralysing the whole body.

Most people with Guillain-Barré syndrome have experienced a severe viral or bacterial illness beforehand, usually one to three weeks earlier.

GBS affects between two and eight people in every 100,000.

It is most common between the ages of 30 and 50.

Source: Better Health Victoria

I was conscious but couldn’t communicate – it was like being trapped inside my own body.
– Naomi Lambert 

Confined to a wheelchair, Ms Lambert spent nine months in a physical rehabilitation facility learning to walk, hold a pen and live independently again.

She received weekly injections to treat her condition for seven years, finally finishing in 2015.

‘I was so young when it happened, so I regained most of the body’s usual function really well,’ she said.

‘I’m reasonably well now and I don’t need any further treatment, but my immune system isn’t the best and I tend to catch anything that’s going around.

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

‘I can’t jump and the reflexes in my legs are a bit sluggish, but I can live with these things.’

Ms Lambert is the founder of The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness and positivity.

The movement has received recognition from The Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington, who recently tweeted about Ms Lambert’s story.

Everything you need to know about white-tailed spiders 

White-tailed spiders are dark, reddish grey in colour with a cylindrical, cigar-shaped body.

Their defining feature is a white spot at their tip.

White-tailed spiders are found across southern Australia, in southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and southern Western Australia.

They adapt to both bush and urban environments, and usually hide under tree bark and rocks and within tight spaces inside homes – particularly between pieces of fabric.

A 2003 study found 95 percent of white-tailed spider bites occurred indoors.

Two-thirds of bite victims found the spiders nestled in bedclothes, towels and clothing.

White-tailed spider bites result in symptoms similar to those of a bee sting: an immediate burning sensation in the local area, followed by mild swelling and an itchy red mark. 

Source: Australian Geographic

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Warrandyte crash causes traffic delays after truck hits car

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A road in Melbourne’s northeast is closed in both directions after a serious crash involving a truck and two cars.

The collision happened on Research-Warrandyte Road about 8am on Tuesday and two vehicles have been left with smashed bonnets.

According to one witness, Karen, the truck “lost its brakes” and rolled back down a hill, crushing two cars.

A road in Melbourne's northeast is closed in both directions after a serious crash involving a truck and two cars.

“I don’t know how she escaped without getting hurt. She was trying to back down the road to get away from him,” she told 3AW.

The road is closed in both directions near Albert Road and motorists are urged to use Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road as an alternative and allow “plenty” of extra time.

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Emergency services are on the scene including police and firefighters.

A tow truck is also on the scene to start removing the crashed truck and no one is believed to have been injured.

Labradoodle named Romsey dies from injuries after hit-run in Melbourne.

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Afghan says British special forces soldier wrongly shot his two brothers

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An Afghan family has claimed a British special forces soldier wrongly shot two young brothers in the head as they drank tea.

Sultan Mohammed and Sabbah said Fazel, 20, and Naik, 17, were killed during a raid on their village of Loy Bagh in 2012, with two other boys, 14 and 12, also being slain. 

The family’s claims are part of a BBC Panorama episode which aired tonight.

The episode argued that killings of civilians during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been covered up by the state.

Sabbah, the boys' mother, told the programme: 'They had shot the boys in the head. They had shot them from one side'

Sabbah, the boys' mother, told the programme: 'They had shot the boys in the head. They had shot them from one side'

Sabbah, the boys’ mother, told the programme: ‘They had shot the boys in the head. They had shot them from one side’

The mother added: 'They were placed next to each other and their brains had come out'

The mother added: 'They were placed next to each other and their brains had come out'

The mother added: ‘They were placed next to each other and their brains had come out’

A picture taken from a preview of tonight's Panorama show appears to show bodies under blankets

A picture taken from a preview of tonight's Panorama show appears to show bodies under blankets

A picture taken from a preview of tonight’s Panorama show appears to show bodies under blankets

British soldiers may now be investigated for the first time over war crime allegations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said today.

Sabbah, the boys’ mother, told the programme: ‘They had shot the boys in the head. They had shot them from one side.

‘They were placed next to each other and their brains had come out.’

Sultan, the boys’ older brother, added: ‘When I entered the room, the bones, the teeth, blood and brain were all over the place.’

Sultan, the boys' older brother, added: 'When I entered the room, the bones, the teeth, blood and brain were all over the place'

Sultan, the boys' older brother, added: 'When I entered the room, the bones, the teeth, blood and brain were all over the place'

Sultan, the boys’ older brother, added: ‘When I entered the room, the bones, the teeth, blood and brain were all over the place’

It is alleged an SAS soldier burst into the room in the remote village and shot the three boys and young man in the head at close range.

The teacups they had been drinking from were filled with blood.

The British government claimed the two youngest victims were Taliban suspects, while the two brothers were suspected Taliban commanders.

It is alleged an SAS soldier burst into the room in the remote village and shot the three boys and young man in the head at close range. Pictured: The bullet holes left

It is alleged an SAS soldier burst into the room in the remote village and shot the three boys and young man in the head at close range. Pictured: The bullet holes left

It is alleged an SAS soldier burst into the room in the remote village and shot the three boys and young man in the head at close range. Pictured: The bullet holes left

No evidence has been produced to support this, according to the BBC show.

Community leader Zarif Lalzoy rubbished the idea, saying: ‘They were little kids, how can they be commanders? That’s impossible. The boys were killed for no reason. They were innocent.

‘They were still very young, still at school.’

He added: ‘Obviously no matter where this happened, it will cause people to get upset.’

No evidence has been produced to support this, according to the BBC show. Community leader Zarif Lalzoy (pictured) rubbished the idea, saying: 'They were little kids, how can they be commanders? That's impossible. The boys were killed for no reason. They were innocent'

No evidence has been produced to support this, according to the BBC show. Community leader Zarif Lalzoy (pictured) rubbished the idea, saying: 'They were little kids, how can they be commanders? That's impossible. The boys were killed for no reason. They were innocent'

No evidence has been produced to support this, according to the BBC show. Community leader Zarif Lalzoy (pictured) rubbished the idea, saying: ‘They were little kids, how can they be commanders? That’s impossible. The boys were killed for no reason. They were innocent’

The investigation between the BBC and Sunday Times said it had new evidence from inside the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner, a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practising law amid allegations that he had paid people in Iraq to find clients.

But some former IHAT and Operation Northmoor investigators said Mr Shiner’s actions were used as an excuse to close down the inquiries.

No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution.

The ICC said it has taken the accusations ‘very seriously’, according to the BBC.

The Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner (pictured), a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off

The Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner (pictured), a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off

The Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner (pictured), a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off

‘The ICC said it would independently assess the BBC’s findings and would begin a landmark case if it believed the Government was shielding soldiers from prosecution,’ the corporation reported this morning.

In footage released ahead of the show, it is claimed the British Army did not admit soldiers were involved in the raid to begin with.

It adds that British detectives have said the special forces were falsely attributing suspicious deaths to Afghans so they would not be investigated.

They have called for the soldier to be charged with four counts of murder.

And they wanted to prosecute the officer commanding the raid for falsifying a report, as well as his boss for the alleged subsequent cover up.

‘Steve’, an Operation Northmoor detective, told the programme: ‘The difference is if you call it an Afghan kill there’s no shooting incident review.

‘There’s no paperwork because the British soldiers didn’t fire the guns.’

The soldier who fired the shots later claimed he acted in self defence.

He claimed two of the boys were pointing weapons out of the window, while the others were shot after they emerged from the shadows.

A BBC Panorama programme claims that killings of civilians during the conflicts have been covered up by the state (file image)

A BBC Panorama programme claims that killings of civilians during the conflicts have been covered up by the state (file image)

A BBC Panorama programme claims that killings of civilians during the conflicts have been covered up by the state (file image)

But former district governor Mohammad Ibrahim said: ‘The bottom areas of the wall was shot, it seemed that the boys were sitting when they were shot.

‘I had the police with me at the time. They confirmed that the boys were not moving when they were shot because the bullets struck the walls close to the floor.

‘There was blood all over the room. I visited it myself.’

Lord Macdonald QC, the former director of public prosecutions, said: ‘The evidence of the bullet marks doesn’t seem to be consistent with the account given by the soldier.

‘It is consistent with the account given by the victims’ families and if it’s right that there was an attempt to falsify documents after the event, that makes me even more suspicious about what happened in that room.’

Asked by the Panorama journalist what he had personally made of the case, Macdonald replied: ‘I’m very, very troubled by it.’

He said he thinks it should be revisited. 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the allegations are unsubstantiated but the ICC is reportedly taking the accusations ‘very seriously’.

The ICC has previously concluded it was credible British troops committed war crimes in Iraq related to the mistreatment of detainees.

The government announced the closure of investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan before a single soldier was prosecuted (file image)

The government announced the closure of investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan before a single soldier was prosecuted (file image)

The government announced the closure of investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan before a single soldier was prosecuted (file image)

The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch.

A senior SAS commander was referred to prosecutors for attempting to pervert the course of justice, the investigation claims.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today: ‘Allegations that have been made that the MoD interfered in investigations of the prosecutions are untrue.

‘The service police carried out an extensive investigation into allegations about the conduct of forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘The independent Service Prosecuting Authority decided not to prosecute any of the cases referred to it.’ 

One case investigated by IHAT was the shooting of an Iraqi policeman by a British soldier on patrol in Basra in 2003.

The International Criminal Court (file photo) said it has taken the accusations 'very seriously', according to the BBC

The International Criminal Court (file photo) said it has taken the accusations 'very seriously', according to the BBC

The International Criminal Court (file photo) said it has taken the accusations ‘very seriously’, according to the BBC

Raid al-Mosawi was shot in an alleyway as he left his family home and later died but military prosecutors have not taken anyone to court over the incident.

The Ministry of Defence said military operations are conducted in accordance with the law and there had been an extensive investigation of allegations.

An IHAT detective told Panorama: ‘The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.’

Three events that are being examined 

‘Murder’ of three children and one young man: They were allegedly shot in the head at close range while drinking tea in Afghanistan in October 2012. The SAS soldier and his senior officers were referred to the military prosecutor but no action was taken. 

Fatal shooting of a policeman: The Iraqi officer was shot in August 2003, and his killing allegedly covered up using a witness account of a soldier who later said his evidence had been fabricated without him knowing. 

Alleged abuse of prisoners: Two inmates died in custody at Camp Stephen, in Basra, Iraq,  during the summer of 2003 after alleged widespread abuse.  

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: ‘Allegations that the MoD interfered with investigations or prosecution decisions relating to the conduct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are untrue.

‘Throughout the process the decisions of prosecutors and the investigators have been independent of the MoD and involved external oversight and legal advice.’ 

The MoD said cases were referred to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) as a result of investigations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘Cases from Iraq were referred as a result of historic investigations. It is untrue to claim cases investigated under Operation Northmoor in Afghanistan were not acted upon. After careful investigation, overseen by a former chief constable, no Northmoor cases were referred to prosecutors,’ the spokesman said.

The MoD also said Service Police undertook extensive investigations into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the SPA decided not to prosecute any of the cases referred to it.

A spokesman for the MOD said: ‘Our military served with great courage and professionalism in Iraq and Afghanistan and we hold them to the highest standards.

‘It is Government policy that military operations are conducted in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict and where allegations are raised, they are investigated.

‘The Sunday Times’ claims have been passed to the Service Police and the Service Prosecuting Authority who remain open to considering allegations.’

Panorama, War Crimes Scandal Exposed is on BBC One at 9pm tonight.

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Prince Andrew out in cold: Businesses including KPMG and Aon distance themselves from the Duke

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Leading businesses and charities began to desert Prince Andrew last night over the Epstein scandal.

On another hugely damaging day for the Duke of York, accountancy firm KPMG said it was protecting its reputation by ending sponsorship of his business start-up project.

Insurance giant Aon asked for its name be removed from the scheme’s website and drugs maker Astrazeneca said it was reviewing its relationship.

Prince Andrew (pictured during a Pitch@Palace event in November 2015) is facing a furious backlash as companies consider their relationship with the Duke

Prince Andrew (pictured during a Pitch@Palace event in November 2015) is facing a furious backlash as companies consider their relationship with the Duke

Prince Andrew (pictured during a Pitch@Palace event in November 2015) is facing a furious backlash as companies consider their relationship with the Duke 

The drugs giant Astrazeneca is considering its links to the Duke of York's Pitch@Palace following his Newsnight interview

The drugs giant Astrazeneca is considering its links to the Duke of York's Pitch@Palace following his Newsnight interview

The drugs giant Astrazeneca is considering its links to the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace following his Newsnight interview 

A string of major companies and charities are also examining their links with Andrew after his extraordinary TV interview on Saturday.

The Outward Bound Trust, which has the prince’s daughter Beatrice as a trustee, is holding a special meeting this week to discuss the issue.

Andrew appeared on BBC Newsnight to answer questions about his relationship with Epstein, a paedophile billionaire who killed himself in jail.

The interview went down spectacularly badly however and the backlash grew yesterday when an Epstein victim went public at a dramatic press conference. She said the financier had tried to lure her to his private island by saying Andrew was there.

Her lawyer joined the international clamour for Andrew to face the US authorities and tell them everything he knows. As representatives of other victims made the same demand:

  • Prosecutors in France said Andrew should travel to Paris to face questions about his stay at a mansion flat that Epstein owned there;
  • Labour and the Lib Dems added to the pressure on Andrew, with one frontbencher calling on him to give evidence to American investigators;
  • The prince was mired in fresh controversy for allegedly using the n-word – a claim he strongly denied – at a Buckingham Palace meeting with government officials;
  • Students at the University of Huddersfield announced they will vote on a motion to lobby Andrew to resign as chancellor;
  • A poll found that just 6 per cent of the public believe his explanation for his relationship with Epstein.

Sources today said the Royal Family has been left reeling by the fallout from the BBC interview and the renewed criticism from Epstein’s victims.

While insiders were keen not to be seen to be criticising Andrew, it was clear that his wider family were ‘aghast’ at the interview and the subsequent reaction. ‘People are shaking their heads and wondering where to go from here,’ said one.

The insurance giant has insisted that its name is removed from Pitch@Palace's website

The insurance giant has insisted that its name is removed from Pitch@Palace's website

The insurance giant has insisted that its name is removed from Pitch@Palace’s website

Another former royal aide has called for the prince to ‘take a sabbatical’ before irreversible damage is done to the charities and organisations he works with.

Questions remain as to how much the Queen knew and whether she sanctioned the interview. Palace officials repeated their line that she had been ‘aware’ of the interview but refused to be drawn on whether she had approved it.

On a disastrous day for the eighth in line to the throne pressure centred on the charity that he sees as a lifeline to repairing his public reputation.

During Saturday’s ‘make or break’ appearance on BBC’s Newsnight, Andrew flagged Pitch@Palace – a Dragons’ Den-style scheme for entrepreneurs – as a vital way of reconnecting with the public following the scandal. 

A royal aide yesterday described it as one of the few ‘real success stories’ of his life. But KPMG, one of Britain’s leading accountancy firms, revealed it had cut ties with the duke. The firm was a founding partner and had paid up to £100,000 a year in sponsorship since 2014.

KPMG bosses decided to end the relationship last month due to ‘unsavoury’ issues stemming from the duke’s friendship with Epstein. The decision was taken by the firm after consultation with its ‘risk committee’ that considers reputational issues.

KPMG has decided not to renew its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace, which is Prince Andrew's scheme for start-ups

KPMG has decided not to renew its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace, which is Prince Andrew's scheme for start-ups

KPMG has decided not to renew its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace, which is Prince Andrew’s scheme for start-ups 

Prince Andrew (pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC's Newsnight) is facing a furious backlash over his relationship with Epstein

Prince Andrew (pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC's Newsnight) is facing a furious backlash over his relationship with Epstein

Prince Andrew (pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight) is facing a furious backlash over his relationship with Epstein 

Astrazeneca, which is a ‘strategic partner’, said it was reviewing its three-year relationship which is due to end next month.

Aon was listed as the initiative’s sole ‘global partner’ but sources insisted the company was not associated with Pitch@Palace and the listing was an error. It is understood that several firms were prompted to review their relationship with Andrew after he was again accused of having sex with a teenage victim of the billionaire financier earlier this year. He vehemently denies the claims.

A web page advertising Pitch@Palace’s sponsors was removed from the internet yesterday afternoon. The project has helped 931 businesses, created 5,982 jobs and generated £1.105billion of economic activity, according to Andrew’s team.

The Daily Mail yesterday contacted many other multinational companies linked to the scheme, including the bank Standard Chartered and Air Asia. But none gave their backing to the duke and instead refused to comment on their links. A KPMG spokesman refused to comment last night.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘KPMG’s contract with Pitch@Palace ended at the end of October. A full programme of Pitch@Palace events is continuing across the United Kingdom.’

 

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