Sandra Sully breaks silence on terrifying night
IT'S 20 years to the month since Sandra Sully had a gun put to her head in the carpark of her Sydney apartment.
The terrifying moment is something the Network 10 journalist has never spoken publicly about until now.
As she got out of her car a little after midnight in November, 1997 she was attacked by a masked assailant wearing a balaclava, who tried to push her back into the car.
The pair struggled and then he put the gun to her temple and pulled the trigger twice. But for reasons still unknown the gun failed to go off.
Sully refused to give up, screaming louder and louder until her attacker fled.
Sully told Stellar the attack was something that took a long time for her to process and still affects her today.
"It was at least 10 years before I was ready to talk about it to anyone other than my family, and probably 15 years before I felt like I could put it behind me," she said.
"I still don't like to be surprised. If someone makes a loud noise, I jump. I am always aware in a carpark."
Sully admitted the moment had a powerful affect on her.
"You realise life can be snuffed out in an instant," she said.
After the attack she took extra precautions to ensure her safety.
"I had ex-federal police officers spend time with me. They would come running in Centennial Park with me because I couldn't run on my own.
Sully said fitness had always played a big role in her "sanity" but confessed "I couldn't leave the house".
She said, "My parents came to stay for a while. Then I worked out you have to cope."
"I am OK to talk about it now because it's been 20 years."
The attack helped her define her barriers.
"I don't chase publicity for publicity's sake. Sometimes I think that's probably hurt me, but it doesn't fulfil me. I've seen the ugly side of that.
"No regrets. It's made me a lot stronger."
Though Sully said she loves her job and coming to work everyday gave her a purpose, her friends and family still mean the most.
"She (Mia, her stepdaughter) and Symon (her husband) have both been gifts. Work doesn't define me. What is really important to me is family and friendships, and making sure my life is fulfilled in other ways."