I told him, “Don’t contact me, I don’t want to see you again.”
‘On Sunday night, 30 October, I got home from being out with my family and was shocked to see him waiting for me at my house. I was scared – he was demanding to collect some of his stuff, so I gave it to him and told him to leave the property and never return.
‘After that, he sent me threatening text messages, saying I wasn’t safe in my own home, that he wasn’t sure what he would do. He told me he had stolen my keys. I looked at my key chain – some were missing. Terrified, I went next door to my neighbours’ house, whom I didn’t know very well at all besides saying hi on occasion. They took me in, calming me down while we waited for the police to arrive. That night I filed for a restraining order and went to a family member’s place.
‘The next day I went back to work, but I was still scared. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen, but still I kept telling myself, “You’re being ridiculous. Be rational. He knows there’s a restraining order. He’s going to leave you alone.”
‘By Thursday, I needed to feed my cat and get some clothes, so I thought I could duck home quickly during the day before going back to my family member’s place. When I got home, I put on the TV and ate dinner. Part of me was thinking, “Screw you! This is my home!”
‘I’d already removed the locks and doorknobs that he had the keys to.
As I opened my bedroom door, Paul jumped out from inside my closet. I screamed and he grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. He was looking into my eyes and said, “I just want to talk. If you stay quiet, I won’t hurt you.” His eyes looked crazy and he had a knife in his pocket.
‘He ordered me into the bedroom and told me to sit on the bed. Then he started interrogating me, asking me, “Where have you been? You haven’t been staying at the house.” I said I was at work; he replied, “I was at the hospital, I didn’t see you.” I thought maybe I could buy myself some time if I used the bathroom. He let me use the loo, but with the door open. I had my phone and I thought, “Do I dare call the police?”
‘But then I thought, “He’ll see for sure, and then I’m a goner.” The whole time I was thinking, “How can I call for help? Nobody’s coming to help me!” I sat back on the bed while he continued to interrogate me. Somehow I managed to work my way to the edge of the bed so I was closer to the door. It became very apparent to me that he wasn’t just going to let me go. He seemed very agitated and angry, and I didn’t know what he was capable of. It got to a point where I thought, “I can’t wait to find out – I have to run for it, or die trying.”
‘I made a run for the door, but he caught me. He grabbed me and that’s when I saw the blood from him stabbing me – I didn’t really feel it at all. I fell to the ground and tried to put pressure on my wounds. I struggled to stand up. Next thing I knew, he’d grabbed me again and started pouring petrol over my head, which was intense. Luckily, though, I think it made me slippery enough that I was able to break free from his grasp. I grabbed the edge of a banister and swung myself around it so I didn’t slip, and then I ran for it. When I ran outside, I saw my neighbour standing there. He’d heard me screaming and had run to his car to grab a metal bar before coming over to the house. I collapsed, but managed to tell him how to attend to my wounds.
[COSMO note: According to the police, after Angela escaped, Paul sped off in his car to a town about 150km away, where he was cornered by police. They tasered him as he lunged at them with the knife, then fatally shot him.]
‘In terms of healing, I’m still getting there. I have scars and scar tissue that aches. He stabbed me 11 times in total – six times in my legs, once in my hip, once in my back, and three times in my forearm and hand. Mentally, some days are better than others. My family and friends have been amazing, and going back to work really helped. I’ve also been seeing a psychologist, who has really helped me.
‘Lately, nightmares have become an issue. I dream that I run out of the house and no-one is there. He haunts me. I have felt what it’s like to experience violence. It needs to stop. So in September, I’ll hike 65km of the Larapinta Trail in Australia with my dad and brother as a spiritual healing journey, and I’m hoping to raise money for White Ribbon [an Australian campaign to end violence against women]. I believe what happened to me happened for a reason, and I’m trying to make some good come from it. I try to focus on that.’ ■ If you’re in immediate danger, call 10111. Call Lifeline on 0800 150 150 for help and advice.
Angela’s quick thinking kept her alive
Angela is determined to help end violence against women