The woman left battered and bruised this weekend at the hands of ‘psychotic’ Nick Gordon says it’s a miracle she didn’t end up dead – like his late fiancée Bobbi Kristina Brown.
Gordon faces charges of domestic violence battery and false imprisonment for allegedly trapping new flame Laura Leal inside his mother’s Sanford, Florida home and savagely beating her.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Leal, 26, has revealed how Gordon pinned her to the bed during the hours-long attack and punched her head so hard she wondered if she was dead.
Leal says she fought back, however, when her ‘survival instinct’ kicked in, smashing Gordon’s nose with a heavy candle before bursting into his sleeping mother’s bedroom to beg for protection.
Gordon became notorious for dating Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s daughter, who died in 2015 after she spent six months in a coma having been found unconscious in a bathtub with a slew of drugs in her system.
Her controlling ex-fiancé never faced criminal charges but was held legally responsible, by default judgment, for her wrongful death in a civil case.
Leal is convinced she would have suffered a similar fate if Michelle Gordon had not woken up to face down her raging son, who was still in jail early Monday morning after failing to post $15,500 bail.
‘I’ve been reading the reports about Bobbi Kristina and I’m physically shaking,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘I read about her being isolated, her family not knowing where she was, the manipulation, the bullying – it’s the exact same thing.
‘That could have been me. Only the Grace of God saved me.’
Leal told DailyMail.com she dismissed those same reports as ‘negative nonsense’ when she met charismatic Gordon, 28, in a bar three months ago and the pair began dating.
The trusting restaurant worker says she soon fell in love and dreamed of marrying and having kids with her handsome new beau, who claimed to have kicked drugs after a stint in rehab.
‘In all sincerity we never talked about Bobbi Kristina. I was protective of his feelings and what he had been through,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘I felt like I could trust him. He has a love for kids and I do too, and that’s what captured me. Everything was going great.’
As the weeks went by, however, Gordon slowly seized control of Leal’s life, subjecting her to frequent jealous outbursts, shutting out her family and destroying her phone.
She says their relationship became ‘toxic’ with Gordon drinking heavily every day, smoking marijuana and falsely accusing her of trying to sleep with male friends.
The pair started to physically fight, with 6ft 1in Gordon subjecting his 5ft 2in lover to pushing, punching and, on one occasion, choking her to the point that she threw up.
In another violent episode she says he slammed her face into the passenger window of his BMW before attending a friend’s party as if nothing had happened.
Just two weeks ago Leal says she locked herself in a bathroom so she could call for help only for Gordon to pry the lock open with a knife before grabbing and smashing her iPhone.
‘It started with a push and a slap, it would happen at least once a week,’ recalled Leal of Daytona Beach, Florida.
‘I would have to put makeup on my bruises to cover them up, especially on my face.
‘But I blamed myself. I thought it was my problem and that I had to work harder at the relationship to make it work.
‘I thought he loved me but how can you love someone when you put them through this hell? It’s like a double personality in one person. He’s psychotic.
‘I didn’t ever see him take heroin or crack but now I’m wondering if he was doing that behind my back.’
The latest clash began Friday night when Leal and Gordon were drinking with friends and watching Game 4 of the NBA finals at Duffy’s Sports Bar in Lake Mary, Florida.
Gordon headed to his car to fetch a phone charger but didn’t return for an hour, sparking yet another heated argument when they got home.
According to a police report it soon ‘became physical and lasted through the night’ as Gordon repeatedly accused Leal of cheating.
‘Who knows where he went or what he went to buy when he left the bar,’ she said.
‘But it was like a switch had been flicked. He wanted me to admit that I was involved with his friend but I wasn’t going to admit to something that wasn’t true.
‘He literally sat on top of me on the bed punching my head with his big ass body on top of me. I was punched so hard that I was seeing colors and a bright flashing light.
‘I thought I was going to go blind and wondered whether I was ever going to be able to see again. I thought to myself, am I dying?
‘My head was swollen my neck hurt so bad. He grabbed me by my hair. He would wrestle me one minute then try to hug me. We were going through this for six hours.
‘People will ask why I didn’t just run out of the house but I could not leave. He was never going to let me just walk out of there and go into 7-eleven to get help.
‘I would never have made it. He was capable of anything.’
Leal’s ordeal reached a brutal climax around 7am Saturday when she tried to use Gordon’s laptop to send a Facebook SOS to her family.
Her sister Carla ordered her an Uber but by then Gordon had seen the messages, snatched the device away and blocked her escape.
In a final desperate attempt to flee Leal says she picked up a large decorative candle and hurled it at Gordon’s face, shattering his nose and causing it to stream blood.
‘I didn’t mean to break his nose but it was a survival instinct,’ she said. ‘He looked at me with such hate that I will never forget it.
‘He raised his fist like he was about to knock me out so I opened the door and ran into his mom’s room.
‘She hopped out of bed, I said ”Michelle I need to get home” and she said she would take me. She is a great woman. She saved my life. ‘Nick threw my stuff all over the sidewalk but it ended right there.’
After being dropped at her sister’s place, Leal says her horrified family members demanded that she go to the police to report the attack.
When she arrived at the Stanford Police Department she says officers took one look at her bruises and swollen head and said she needed to go to the hospital.
DailyMail.com can reveal that cops found Gordon relaxing in the pool at his mother’s gated community when they arrived to arrest him later that day.
Gordon appeared in court on Sunday morning where his bail was set at $15,000 for the kidnapping charge and an additional $500 for the battery charge.
He was yet to post bond on Monday and will only be released on the condition that he wears an ankle monitor.
Saturday’s arrest is the latest troubling episode in the life of Gordon who shot to infamy after the July 2017 death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and the rapper Bobby Brown.
Gordon found the aspiring singer’s body submerged in a bathtub at the Alpharetta, Georgia home they shared and she fell into a coma that the 22-year-old would never wake from.
Three years earlier, Houston had also drowned in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel, with cocaine abuse and heart disease contributing to her February 2012 death. Bobby Kristina’s autopsy similarly listed drug intoxication and the immersion of her face in the water as factors.
Gordon, who was taken in by Houston at the age of 12 when his mother said she could not cope with him, has never faced criminal charges and claims he tried his best to save the girl he considered his ‘Li’l Sis’ before their relationship became romantic.
However he was sued by Brown’s estate last year, accused of causing her wrongful death by giving her a ‘toxic mixture’ and also stealing from her bank account while she was comatose.
When neither he, nor his lawyer, showed up at a hearing last November, a Fulton County Superior Court judge ruled against him by default and ordered him pay $36 million in damages.
Leal says she has no desire to see Gordon spend years behind bars but she can’t sit idly by and see another woman suffer at his hands.
‘Honestly I do still care about him,’ she said of Gordon. ‘This is hell compared to what I wanted us to be. I feel like he’s gone through enough. He’s in jail now and he doesn’t know when he going to get out.
‘But I can’t let anyone else get hurt. I just pray that he finally gets the help he needs because without professional help he’ll never get out of this.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ben Ashford