Dana Vulin

When Dana Vulin told her burns story on TV, she never imag­ined it would start a viewer’s five-year ob­ses­sion that had her fear­ing for her life once again

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Con­tents -

New night­mare

Dana Vulin’s life jour­ney is a stoic tale of re­mark­able brav­ery and sur­vival. The suc­cess­ful self-em­ployed busi­ness­woman will never for­get the early hours of Fe­bru­ary 16, 2012 when she be­came vic­tim to a heinous at­tack, which changed her life for­ever.

So hor­rific was her or­deal it made global head­lines. Asleep on the couch of her Perth apart­ment, the then-25-year-old woke to the sound of an in­truder in her home who’d forced their way in through the slid­ing g doors rs at the back of her unit. Across the other side of the lounge stood Natalie Dim­itro­vska, dressed in black, arms crossed and glar­ing at her soon-to-be vic­tim. The drug-fu­elled woman launched into a ver­bal at­tack, ac­cus­ing Dana of hav­ing an af­fair with her ex-hus­band Edin Han­danovic. The es­tranged wife was said to be des­per­ate to get back with her hus­band, who Dana had met once in the past. She’d al­ready bom­barded the beau­ti­ful blonde with abu­sive calls threat­en­ing to “ruin her pretty face” and that night, in a jeal­ous rage, doused help­less Dana in methy­lated spir­its and turned her into a hu­man torch.

HOR­RIFIC BURNS

Dana was placed in an in­duced coma in hospi­tal, and cov­ered head-to-toe in ban­dages to treat hor­rific burns that smoth­ered 64 per cent of her slen­der frame.

Her or­deal and fight for sur­vival grabbed the at­ten­tion and cap­ti­vated the hearts of hun­dreds of thou­sands of well-wish­ers. Her plight reached even more peo­ple af­ter she ap­peared on cur­rent af­fairs show, Seven’s Sun­day Night, af­ter 30 months of surgery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

STRANGE MES­SAGE

Among all the heart­felt and wel­come re­sponses from many of Dana’s 100,000 social me­dia fol­low­ers, one very dif­fer­ent mes­sage leapt out.

“I was alarmed when the first neg­a­tive mes­sage came through on my In­sta­gram ac­count,” says the now 32-year-old of the post from san­drafaye­an­der­son in Jan­uary this year.

The mes­sage read, “She scams peo­ple on­line for money via Face­book and email, un­der old lady ac­counts ask­ing for money un­der Nige­rian scams and church needs!”

At first, Dana let the mys­te­ri­ous mes­sage wash over her, re­fus­ing to let it upset her. “I didn’t let it af­fect me,” she says. “In fact, I sent it to my

siste sis­ter er Svet­lana and we both had a laugh at it. I sus­pected it was a fake pro­file be­cause it had zero posts, zero fol­low­ers and was fol­low­ing no other pro­files. So I deleted the mes­sage and blocked the pro­file.”

The “freez­ing out”, how­ever, only seemed to ag­gra­vate the source of the mes­sage, and in no time more jibes were fired from the same In­sta­gram ac­count.

The con­tents of the posts were ob­scene and hos­tile, with one end­ing, “A brick thrown at your head might do the trick.”

By day four of the tirade, Dana was at the end of her tether. “It takes a lot to hurt me, be­cause I’ve been burnt,” burnt, she says. “That That is hurt­ful, I’ve got per­spec­tive.”

As the weeks un­folded, the

‘I was alarmed when the first neg­a­tive mes­sage came through’

abuse and de­prav­ity of the mis­sives es­ca­lated and changed course, tak­ing aim at Dana’s fam­ily, friends and col­leagues, who was still reel­ing from the news that Sa­man­tha Mc­clymans, a for­mer char­ity em­ployee, had been jailed for steal­ing $70,000 do­nated to Dana’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fund.

The bizarre be­hav­iour of her In­sta­gram hater took a turn when flow­ers and a love stricken note ar­rived for Dana at her mother’s house. Sud­denly frus­tra­tion turned to fear…. her stalker had an ad­dress.

“That was it for me,” says Dana, who was mor­ti­fied. “Mess with me all you want, but mess with my fam­ily and you’ve got a prob­lem.”

DAN­GER­OUS OB­SES­SION

The po­lice were in­formed. Within six weeks, the mes­sages were traced to a Vic­to­rian ad ad­dress and a 26-year-old wo woman has since been charged an and con­victed of stalk­ing and us us­ing threats to kill.

I It came out in court that the woman had be­come in inf in­fat­u­ated with Dana af­ter her ap ap­pear­ance pp on Sun­day Night, an and nd ini­tially wrote gush­ing and glo glow­ing o posts on Dana’s social me me­dia e page – un­til her ad ad­mi­ra­tion dm turned ugly and be bec be­came a dan­ger­ous ob­ses­sion.

““Hear­ing it was a woman blew me e away,” ad­mits Dana. “It was ah a huge re­lief that the per­son has bee been e caught and is no longer a threat thh to me and my fam­ily.”

Dana was in a coma for 10 days, then had to un­dergo years of surgery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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