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
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.
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.
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.”
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.