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They burst into her apartment, doused her in metho and set her alight.

Dana

By MAMAMIA TEAM

Dana Vulin was a 25-year-old woman with everything to live for.

In her sister Svetlana’s words, Dana was a “loving, loyal, fun” person. She was “always really generous with her time, effort, money, everything.”

But in February 2012, Dana’s world changed forever.

Dana started receiving abusive phone calls from a woman named Natalia Dimitrovska. Natalia had recently separated from her husband and suspected Dana of sleeping with him – a claim Dana denies.

Dana says she did met Natalia Dimitrovska’s husband Edin at a New Year’s Eve party in 2011. But she says they only spoke for about half an hour and that “he didn’t hit on me, he wasn’t sleazy”.

But that didn’t stop Edin’s wife Natalia from wanting to get revenge.

On the 16th of February, after harassing her for almost a month, Natalia – the drug-affected mother-of-one – and a male friend forced their way into Dana’s apartment. Natalia approached Dana and demanded to know where her husband was. But Dana couldn’t answer.

Natalia Dimitrosvka

After she asked Natalia leave her house, Natalia responded by grabbing a bottle of methylated spirits and threatening to set Dana on fire.

And it was then that Dana was transformed into “human fireball”.

“She twisted the lid off and doused me in methylated spirits,” Dana says. “I was engulfed in flames.”

For the first time since she suffered this vicious attack, Dana has spoken out and shared her side of the story, in a segment on Channel 7’s Sunday Night that aired last night.

“The the moment I was on fire, they laughed … They watched me burn, laughed and ran out of my apartment.”

“The pain was unbelievable.”

She tried throwing water over herself but she continued to burn. “Every drop felt like it was acid burning into my skin… Everything was hurting so much.”

After Natalia Dimitrovska and her accomplice had fled, Dana continued to burn and was rushed to hospital after a neighbour heard her screams.

Dana had suffered burns to 64 per cent of her body and was immediately placed in an induced coma.

Dana Vulin after the attack

After Dana awoke 10 days later, her family showed her images of her body, burned beyond recognition.

“I was shattered. My soul was broken. I could feel it pouring out, everything,” Dana says

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She told Sunday Night, “I wasn’t going to be a miracle case” and that “the Dana on the outside was gone”.

Dana has since undergone repeated skin grafts, and has to wear a compression suit for 23 out of 24 hours every day. She has suffered extreme burns to her face, beck, chest and abdomen – and she is worried she may never be able to have children because of her attack.

In her victim impact statement for the courts, she said that: “It’s impossible to say how painful it is being set on fire. But the aftermath is a billion times worse.”

“The day I was set on fire not just my body was burned… my hopes, dreams and future ambitions all burned.”

“I loved the way I looked,” she told Sunday Night. “And I’m not ashamed of what happened to me because I can’t help it … but I’m embarrassed…. I’m not completely used to the way I look.”

“I know personality shines through. But that’s all well and good if you weren’t burned alive and didn’t lose your face.”

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Dana leaving court last week with her family

Natalia Dimitrovska was arrested at Perth Airport as she tried to catch a flight and flee the country just a few days after the crime.

She maintained that she was acting in self defence, but last week, Natalia was jailed for 17 years. The sentence is only three years less than the maximum sentence for the grievous bodily harm with intent.

In his sentencing, Judge Bruce Goetze said: “It is really difficult to imagine how one human being could leave while another human being is on fire.”

“It is totally unimaginable how you could not put out the flames, or try to do so, or at least call for help. Instead, you laughed and ran away.”

Dana and her sister attended the sentencing and after the hearing, Dana said: “Justice did an amazing job..  and I legitimately feel safe with her behind bars.”

UPDATE: Last week, for the first time since the attack 30 months ago, Dana stepped out in public without her mask.

On Sunday, at the West Australian Ballet Centre, Dana walked down the catwalk. That incredible moment was shown on Channel 7’s Sunday Night.

“In my wildest dreams in the beginning – I didn’t for one second think I could look in the mirror and see the old Dana again.’  

‘I will always love the person I am and that is what got me through this.’

And if you want to support Dana further, you can do so here.

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