Top Boy and its brutal scenes of gang violence has captured the attention of millions of Netflix fans across the country.
But now the cruel reality of the criminal underworld has been exposed by one reformed member – and it's even more bloody than the show.
The woman – who is remaining anonymous but goes by the name Danielle Marin – had a difficult upbringing, moving in and out of the care system as her mother struggled with her own issues.
Despite this, Danielle achieved good grades in school, and even attended a Grammar school before later returning to education to attain a degree at university.
But before she’d turned her life around and captured her experiences in her new book, Danielle became involved with gangs. She spoke about her early experiences on the Anything Goes with James English podcast.
After her first boyfriend went to prison, Danielle described how started to hang around with his mates, who had begun to conduct armed robberies after selling marijuana.
“While I was with them, there was a lot of violence that I experienced. [There was] one time where I was told that I needed to tie a girl to a bench and set her on fire, which was done,” she remembered.
“Everyone ran off and I remember I felt so guilty that I had to ring an ambulance, I didn’t really care if I got arrested.
“He [one gang member] cut off a boy’s fingers in front of me, there were a couple of stabbings that I witnessed. This was all at a very young age, I was only about 14 or 15.”
Despite the horror of her experiences, Danielle confessed that they had caused such a traumatic effect that she doesn’t think about their actions at all.
“I was diagnosed with complex PTSD and one of the symptoms is that you have no emotions. Towards all of those things I feel nothing, which is quite scary,” she explained.
In her early years, the school pupil managed to avoid becoming the victim of violence herself, but soon became embroiled in an abusive relationship as an adult and even claimed to have once been “gangraped” by four members of the gang.
“I ended up in a flat with four men, and they tied me up, they poured alcohol on me, lit me, beat me up and broke some ribs,” she recalled.
“It was a horrific event but at the time I didn’t feel anything.”
But, despite finding herself on the street covered in blood, Danielle remembered that the men had never been prosecuted, admitting: “Initially, I lied to the police saying I didn’t know who it was because I was terrified.”
And, after Danielle eventually opened up and named her attackers, she suggested that the prosecution was dropped as she was considered an unreliable witness.
Even after meeting the man who would go on to father her child, Danielle struggled to escape from gang life and her council flat was rented out by members to cook crack cocaine.
Now, after numerous arrests, Danielle has turned her life around, and has published a book detailing her experiences, titled Top Girl.
Although admitting that she didn't think up the name herself, the author revealed that the ghost-writer chose the name as a "spin-off of Top Boy", the popular Netflix series that paints a picture of London's criminal underworld.
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