I feel no anger... God is doing beautiful things, says Abigail Witchalls

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The Independent Online

Abigail Witchalls, the young mother left paralysed after being stabbed, feels no anger towards her attacker, her husband said. His comments came as his wife released a statement yesterday saying her voice was returning and that she had regained sensation in her body.

Abigail Witchalls, the young mother left paralysed after being stabbed, feels no anger towards her attacker, her husband said. His comments came as his wife released a statement yesterday saying her voice was returning and that she had regained sensation in her body.

Mrs Witchalls, 26, who was stabbed in the neck last month while walking with her 21-month- old son Joseph in a Surrey village, said: "I have sensation over most of my body and the pain is less now. I can move my head, but as yet I cannot move my arms and legs. I can breathe and speak on my own for short periods."

"I am making progress every day. Please pass on my thanks to everyone for their support and prayers. God is doing beautiful things."

The latest improvements ­ less than a month after she was declared clinically dead following the attack in Little Bookham on 20 April ­ came as two new potential key witnesses came forward as a result of an appeal on BBC1's Crimewatch.

The first, a man from Kent, believes he witnessed the moments after the attack. Detective Superintendent Adrian Harper from Surrey Police described it as an "important call".

The second, a woman from Crawley, West Sussex, said that she had been "frightened" by a man driving a light blue car, whose description may have matched that given by Mrs Witchalls of her assailant, the day before the attemped murder.

In the appeal, Mrs Witchalls' husband, Benoit, 26, said the only hope the couple, both devout Catholics, had for her attacker was that he received help.

"To be honest, I haven't thought much about the attacker. Obviously whoever did this needs help and it would be absolutely tragic if this was to happen again to somebody. We haven't had any feelings of anger, it's just a case of helping out this person, really."

"You know life is just such a lottery and this could have so easily happened as it does to so many people through a car accident or through some sort of illness. People live wonderful lives paralysed from the neck down."

Anger might come with time, he said, but his initial reaction was that the attacker had probably suffered throughout his life. "We've just got to see what we can do as a society to help [him]", he said. The couple "thanked God" that Joseph had not been harmed. "He seems to be an amazingly stable little boy," Mr Witchalls said.

Despite Mrs Witchalls' progress, a senior source involved in the inquiry said she was still in an extremely serious condition and specialists had said she may never regain the use of her limbs. Dr Fred Middleton, consultant in spinal rehabilitation, said: "With injuries such as this it can take months before it becomes clearer as to any likely outcome for the patient." But Mrs Witchalls' courage would aid her rehabilitation.

Detectives are waiting for the results of tests on two sets of bloodstains ­ one from trousers owned by Richard Cazaly, a 23-year-old gardener from Little Bookham who committed suicide 10 days after the attack. He is said to have written "I must have done it" in one of the suicide notes he left. The second, tiny blood samples recovered from a door handle and a car, belong to a 25-year-old man, previously arrested in connection with the attack, and are being tested to discover whether they belong to Mrs Witchalls.