Speaking to Stellar on the 20th anniversary of the brutal attack, the journalist recalls how a masked man attacked her in her apartment car park, put a gun to her head, and pulled the trigger.
'I am going to die on the floor of a car park. This is it,’ was Sandra’s only thought during the ordeal.
Coming home to her Surry Hills apartment one night in November 1997, upon exiting her car, the TV veteran couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t alone.
Terrifyingly, she was right.
A 'muscular, menacing' man in a balaclava grabbed her hair as she attempted to climb back into her car.
'I started fighting,' the journalist recounted, as she kicked and screamed until: 'he put a gun to my head.'
'I thought, "Bloody hell, I am going to die. I am going to die on the floor of a car park. This is it."'
The assailant held the gun to her temple and fired the weapon twice - but thanks to a miracle that remains unexplained to this day, it didn't go off.
However, undeterred, the mystery man began to slap her face with the gun, until eventually Sandra’s screams made him take off into the night and she was able to run upstairs and alert her then husband Mark Ryan.
For the next ten years, she was assigned a security detail comprised of ex-Federal police officers, who would even accompany her on jogs through Centennial Park.
However, despite two decades having passed since the attack, Sandra is still plagued by many unanswered details, such as the handcuffs that were found at the scene, an apparent lack of motive, the fact the man has never been found and the pistol's failure to fire.
'I still don’t like to be surprised. If someone makes a loud noise, I jump. I am always aware in a car park.'
'You realise life can be snuffed out in an instant.'
'It was at least 10 years before I was ready to talk about it... and probably 15 before I felt like I could put it behind me,’ Sandra admits, adding she still lives in fear.