Police not at fault in killing Tinder stalker, inquest finds
THE NSW Coroner has found police officers had no other choice but to fatally shoot Tinder stalker Paul Lambert after he doused his ex-girlfriend in petrol, and stabbed her 11 times.
Lambert, 36, was shot three times in the chest and abdomen at the culmination of a car chase that ended with his death on the night of November 3, 2016 at Bonville, south of Coffs Harbour.
He was advancing on police with a raised knife in his hand when he was shot and killed at the scene.
A coronial inquest into his death, which questioned the actions of the officers and Lambert's mental health at the time, came to a conclusion at Coffs Harbour today.
Lambert's former partner Dr Angela Jay, who dated Lambert for just six weeks, spoke at the inquest last year saying she felt "like a murder victim".
Dr Jay was working as a trainee obstetrician at Port Macquarie when she met Lambert through dating app Tinder.
She described him as "charming", unaware Lambert had a history of controlling and intimidating his partners, and was unknowingly struggling with bipolar and borderline personality disorder.
Lambert was known to frequently threaten his partners that he would kill himself, and create elaborate lies and false identities to manipulate them.
He would claim diagnoses of various psychiatric disorders to blame for his behaviour, referring to himself as "bad Paul" or "evil Paul".
At the time of his death, he was not being treated for any mental health issues.
The coroner said Dr Jay had attempted to end their relationship numerous times, but Lambert would manipulate her into thinking he would take his life.
He went so far as to lie about the deaths of family members, and created fake friend "Dan" to convince Dr Jay not to leave him via text.
On November 3, Dr Jay came home from work, turned on the TV and reheated food in the microwave.
Lambert had been hiding in her wardrobe, barefoot and bare-chested.
He grabbed her wrist, and stabbed her multiple times.
He then poured petrol over her, but Dr Jay managed to escape where she was assisted by neighbours.
Lambert then led police on a pursuit when he was stopped by road spikes at Bonville, where police attempted to negotiate with him.
One officer fired a taser at Lambert which failed to connect. Aggravated, Lambert lunged towards the officers, and he was shot.
The coroner today, however, found the officer had no other option.
"I do not consider there was any available alternative to lethal force in the circumstances... I accept without reservation (the officer) had an honest and reasonable belief his life was in danger," the coroner said.
The coroner stated the officers had done everything they could to disarm Lambert.
"Lambert's psyche was complex... when Mr Lambert was tasered witnesses described his demeanour as as having rigidity consistent with violent rage."
The inquest found no possible recommendation on any way an intervention could have been made to stop Lambert in the final two weeks before his death.
"The only realistic way to prevent attack was for Mr Lambert to save himself... an AVO would not have stopped him" the coroner said
The coroner however urged the NSW Police Force to continue to review other tactical operations of a non-lethal nature for handling offenders armed with knives, such as shields.
The officers involved spoke at the inquest, expressing deep remorse. The officer who shot Lambert tearfully said he wished he could "swap positions" with Lambert.
Lambert's family attended the inquest everyday, which the coroner stated was a testament to his life.
"They read a beautiful statement of a kinder, gentler and more complex person than the evidence revealed."