Coroner Finds Tinder Stalker Horror Could Have Been Avoided
Paul Lambert died on the side of the M1 near Bonville just shy of Coffs Harbour. He had lunged at officers with a knife so they shot him.
Today a Coroner found the two police officers who opened fire had no choice, but had there been better communication between state parole authorities things might have ended very differently.
Hours earlier Lambert had tried to kill his ex-girlfriend, doctor Angela Jay. She was stabbed eleven times and almost set alight in her Port Macquarie home.
When his plan failed he led police on a high speed chase north.
The 36-year-old had spent days preparing to kill her.
He had tried to buy a gun but failed, so settled for a knife, a small axe and duct tape before filling a jerry can full of petrol.
He lay in wait in her home. jumping out of a wardrobe, grabbing and stabbing at her.
When he doused her in petrol she became slippery and managed to get free, running to a neighbour who saved her life.
"Doctor Jay did everything possible to save herself. He exploited her caring nature and duty as a medical professional," Deputy State Coroner Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan said.
Lambert – a serial stalker – couldn’t accept the pair had broken up after a whirlwind romance that lasted about two months following a Tinder match-up.
Today a coroner found an AVO wouldn’t have stopped Lambert - but his parole violation should have.
The subject of 10 restraining orders the 36-year-old was being watched by Queensland authorities after being charged and sentenced for assaulting his former partner.
"The best prospect of intervention was detection of Mr Lambert's breach of parole… if a warrant had been issued for his arrest it is highly likely… it would have led to his arrest." the Deputy Coroner said.
The 36-year-old was supposed to be in the sunshine state but police there didn’t know he’d fled.
If they had, they would have issued an arrest warrant and officers down in NSW – who pulled Lambert over for speeding four days before the attack could have arrested him.
While the Coroner can’t make Queensland authorities share information with the inter-sate counterpart she recommended they read today’s inquest findings.
The Magistrate praised Senior Constables Myles and Buckley who shot the 36-year-old, calling them brave.
Damien Buckley wishes he never had to pull the trigger. He is no longer a police officer and was accompanied to court by his therapy dog.
"I do not consider that there was any other available alternative to lethal force in the circumstances."
It was also recommended that weapons dealers be able to check if a customer has any current Apprehended Violence Orders out against them – to ensure violent people aren’t being sold guns or knives.
But even the coroner conceded that; "this recommendation will not stop a determined killer... but is desirable for public safety."