A New South Wales coronial inquest has heard that a man who tried to murder a woman he met on Tinder threatened police with a knife in the minutes before his death.
Paul Lambert, 36, was fatally shot by police at Bonville on the state’s Mid North Coast two years ago, after stabbing Angela Jay 11 times and dousing her in petrol.
Dr Jay survived, and gave evidence at day two of the coronial inquest into Lambert’s death.
“I basically felt like a murder victim,” she said.
“I felt really weird [that] I didn’t die … I feel like I should have.”
The court heard that the Port Macquarie doctor had met Lambert, a serial stalker, on Tinder in August 2016, but the relationship soon turned sour as Lambert became increasingly possessive, controlling and dramatic.
When Dr Jay tried to break up with Lambert, she said he became suicidal.
“I felt like if he killed himself it would be my fault,” she said.
“I felt trapped. I really wanted to get away from him, but I didn’t know how.”
‘You’re not safe in that house’
The inquest heard Lambert, who had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, had 10 restraining orders against him when he met Dr Jay in August 2016.
Soon after the relationship broke down, Lambert began stalking Dr Jay at the hospital she worked at, and sent her threatening text messages stating “You’re not safe in that house. I have house keys”.
Dr Jay told the court she began worrying for her safety and decided to approach the local police.
“I was really embarrassed by how out of hand it had gotten,” she said.
But she said officers validated her concerns and took note of their meeting.
Lambert ‘challenged police to shoot’
Lambert had tried to a buy a gun in the days before the attack but was turned down.
The coroner was told that in the days before the attack, Lambert had been pulled over by NSW Police for speeding and driving on a disqualified licence, but officers did not know he was in breach of his parole conditions.
On November 3, 2016, Lambert had led police on a high-speed chase near Coffs Harbour after attempting to kill Dr Jay.
When cornered, he lunged at police with a knife screaming “What do I have to do to get you to shoot me?”
After a six-minute stand-off, Lambert was dead.
Police may have missed arrest chances
The hearing will also examine whether the death was avoidable were it not for several system failures.
Circumstances suggest police may have had at least two opportunities to apprehend Lambert in the days leading up to the attack.
Family and friends packed the gallery at the inquest, supporting Dr Jay as she relived the traumatic day.
Medical evidence after his death showed Lambert had bipolar and borderline personality disorder, making him hypersensitive to rejection and abandonment.
Long history of violence
That same year, Lambert had been convicted of assaulting his ex-wife after signing divorce papers, and had been deported from the US for stalking and threatening TV presenter Brittany Ann Kiel.
He had 10 restraining orders against him involving five women and was the subject of a strict probation order in Queensland.
Dr Jay had also visited Gosford Police Station to discuss Lambert’s behaviour, but the computer system did not show he was in breach of his probation.
She ultimately chose not to serve him with an AVO.
The inquest continues.
Distressed readers who have experienced domestic violence should call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for counselling.
For mental health support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 of MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
In an emergency, dial triple-0.