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A mum who was strangled by a bodybuilder she met on Plenty of Fish only survived after she “gouged his eyes out” – with her FALSE NAILS.
Divorcee Debora Colman, 42, was wooed by sales rep Vincent Cunningham, 49, on the dating site after being attracted by his charm and muscles.
But the romance quickly turned dark and Debora claims the dad-of-one became controlling and abusive.
Then, when support worker Debora got home late after a shift one night, the brute flew into a drunken rage and called her a “slag”.
She says she asked him to leave but he throttled her, pushing onto the ground and pinning her down, his hands around her neck.
The brave mum-of-three yesterday revealed how she only managed to break free when she pressed her bright pink gel nails into his eyes.
Cunningham jumped away, blood streaming down his face, and Debora mustered up the energy to bolt through the front door.
She got in her car and sped half a mile up the road before dialling 999.
Cunningham was arrested later that night and he was jailed for almost three years last February for the assault and another attack.
Debora, of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, said: “My nails saved my life. Without them I would be dead.
“I remember lying on the floor as Vincent was hunched over me and had his full weight – 17 stone – on my chest.
“I could feel his hands around my neck and there was this terrifying look in his eyes – they were jet black.
“He was chanting about the devil and saying, ‘I am going to take you to the dark side.’
“I couldn’t struggle any more. My body was dying. I just thought, ‘I am going to die.’
“I remember thinking in my last moment that I wanted him to give my body back to my family.
“But unbelievably, I found some inner strength. Somehow I managed to put my hands through the gap in his arms.
“I had acrylic nails – I get them done every week – and I grabbed his face.
“I pushed my thumbs into his eyes and gouged them out.”
“That was the only reason he got off me.”
Debora, who was married for eight years until 2010, fell for Cunningham after he messaged her online in 2013.
She said: “His body was a work of art and he was a big gym-goer at the time, so we had that in common.
“He told me he was half Italian and could speak fluent Italian and Arabic.
“We started messaging and we clicked right away. He was totally charming.”
After a string of dates the couple became official and in February 2014 they moved into a flat together.
She said: “The happy part lasted for a while, but then it was hell.
“I wanted to leave a few weeks after we met but the situation was embarrassing. I had told my family about him and they thought he was a nice guy.
“In private, he had tantrums and would fly into rages and put his fist in my face. He would go ballistic – anything could trigger it.
“Sometimes he would apologise afterwards and say he was disgusted with himself and he would never do it again.
“I was scared, but I loved him so much. He had total control over me.”
The couple stayed together but as the months rolled by, the attacks became more frequent.
Then, on December 12 2015, Debora returned home from a night shift at the warehouse where she was holding down a second job and the nightmare unfolded.
Debora recalls Vincent squeezing his hands around her neck on three occasions over the course of 20 minutes – but thanks to her nails she miraculously escaped.
The mum, who gets her acrylics done every week, said: “I have no idea how I managed to get him off me. It must have been natural instinct.”
Cunningham was arrested later that night and charged with assault to injury.
He was jailed after pleading guilty to the offence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court – nine months for the assault and two years for a separate attack on a man in a nightclub.
Debora, who was still under his spell, even visited him in prison at first.
“He never apologised – he blamed me,” she said.
“I saw him about four times in prison but I was still petrified.
“My ex tried to kill me. But I realised he wasn’t sorry – he was angry at me for putting him there.
“The last time I saw him was in July and I said, ‘I’ve got to go.’ He just said, ‘Whatever, cheerio.'”
She cut contact and is on the road to getting her life back, but Vincent was released from prison last month.
Now Debora is desperate to warn others against her “evil” ex.
She said: “I worry for my safety all the time. I’m basically a sitting duck.
“I’m fighting to get myself back to the person I was before. I used to love going to the gym and have loads of friends, but he drained the life from me.
“I have to get the message about him out into the world because it could save another woman’s life.
“Next time, he will kill somebody.”
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