Dr Angela Jay took her new boyfriend, Paul, home to meet her parents and sister in the middle of last year.
“This tall, good-looking, very confident, well-presented man walked in with the most amazing bunch of flowers I’ve ever seen in my life,” Angela’s mum Susan recalled.
However, the 28-year-old says she ended the relationship after six weeks of dating, thinking Paul "ticked all the boxes" but his "intensity" was smothering. She told Channel Seven’s Sunday Night that she felt guilty and was worried she'd lead him on.
It turns out 36-year-old insurance manager Paul Lambert used to be known as Paul Scales. He had been deported from the U.S. after stalking his ex-girlfriend and had been arrested for beating his previous wife. He had been diagnosed by a psychologist with borderline personality disorder and wasn't supposed to be in New South Wales.
The intensity Angela first noted escalated quickly once she ended the relationship. Paul started to message and call like crazy and threatened to kill himself over the rejection.
Angela tried to calm him by inviting him to her high school reunion, however, when Paul started abusing her on the street, Angela and her sister, Danielle, went straight to the police station.
"We were told, 'This guy is known to police very well. But he's more of a threat to himself than he is to you'," Danielle recalled.
Paul then sent Angela messages saying that he'd stolen copies of her house keys and that she wasn't safe in her Port Macquarie home.
"I considered telling my work colleagues what was going on," Angela, said. "Maybe not in full, but at least enough to say, 'Don't stress, but if I don't show up to work, you should probably call the police'. I was just so ashamed that I was in this situation at all."
One evening in November, Angela left work and went home to feed her cat and have some dinner, before heading to her cousin's house to stay the night there.
"I felt really calm, I don't know why," she said. "It was daytime, I thought I'd just quickly duck home, have some dinner and grab some clothes."
"I started walking down [to the bedroom] and, as I was turning corner to enter my bedroom, he jumped out at me," Angela said. "I screamed, obviously. And he put his hand around my mouth so I couldn't scream any more. He look me in the eye, a really intense look, and said, 'it's okay, I just want talk'."
Paul told Angela to sit on the bed and started quizzing her about where she had been staying, asking over and over whether it was at a man's house.
"I realised I had to try and get away or die trying," Angela said. She tried to run from the room but Paul caught her.
"I suddenly saw this knife in his hand. I didn't actually feel him stabbing me but I could see the blood when I looked down."
"I just thought, 'Oh my God, he's actually stabbing me, he's actually going to kill me'. I was so scared and felt so alone and that I was just going to die alone in this big house that I should never have gone back to."
She says she fought to get away again but he caught her. "He raised a big rectangular can and started pouring petrol over my head," Angela said.
"My eyes were burning, it got in my mouth, it got in my ears. I can't even explain the horror you feel when you know that someone is trying to set you on fire. I was just terrified that any second I would go up in flames."
On her third escape, she finally made it to the front door and ran to her neighbour, Steve Willdern, who had heard the screams and was running down the driveway with a steel bar to intervene.
"All I could smell was petrol," Steve said. "I know I had my arm around her and I dragged her up into our garage."
"I just kept saying over and over again, 'I'm gonna bleed to death, please call an ambulance'," Angela said.
Paul had stabbed her 11 times in the thigh and upper arm. He fled the scene in a car that he'd parked out the back of Angela's property and while driving made three phone calls. He called Angela's mobile first. Steve, who was riding in the ambulance with her, answered it.
"He said, as calm as can be, in the calmest voice, 'How is she?' and then I knew, I thought, 'holy shit, this is the bloody bloke that's done this.'"
Paul then called Angela's mum before calling the police and recounting the attack, referring to himself in the third person.
"He was gonna force her to have sex with him. Then he was going to strangle her," he told police of his planned attack. "He was gonna pour petrol on her and kill her."
Police tracked Paul's mobile and stopped him in his car around 150 kilometres from Port Macquarie. He got out of the car holding a knife. They tried tasering him, it didn't work. He ran, still carrying the knife, and police fired with guns. Paul was shot dead.
"He was gone and he couldn't hurt me any more. It was a huge, huge relief," Angela said. "It was almost a euphoric sense that I somehow got away and he's gone. I don't have to worry. I'm well and truly safe."
Now, Angela, her father and her brother are all training for White Ribbon's Trek for Respect, a week-long hike along the Larapinta trail in the Northern Territory in September this year. She is aiming to raise $100,000 for White Ribbon Australia to fund domestic violence prevention programs.
To donate to the cause, head here.
National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line: 1800Respect, 1800 737 732.
This article originally appeared on marie claire.