'12 minutes of terror' - Christina Noble held at knife point in her own home

The charity worker says her home feels 'soiled' after the robbery

'12 minutes of terror' - Christina Noble held at knife point in her own home

File photo of Christina Noble. Picture by: Chris Young/PA Archive/PA Images

Children's rights activist Christina Noble has described the experience of being held at knife point in her own home.

The 72-year-old founder of the Christina Noble Children's Foundation told The Pat Kenny Show about a man breaking into her house at night and repeatedly threatening to kill her. 

Ms Noble had recently been in Vietnam, but she was told to return home after she collapsed. Back in Ireland, a doctor told her she was exhausted.

After a second collapse in a supermarket, she was rushed to hospital.

Christina told Pat: "My blood pressure was very low and very dangerous... they thought I might have a stroke. I'm a tough bird, so I got through it all."

After being released from hospital, she returned home - and she began sleeping downstairs in order to let her cat in and out at night.

She explained: "He has a poor bladder, so I stayed downstairs and slept on the settee so I could let him in and out when he wanted to."

Earlier this week, she woke up to something touching her arm.

"I turned around, and he took the knife he had in his hand and he put it towards my throat," she recalled. "He held it over my throat viciously."

The man yelled at Christina to give her the money, and threatened that he was going to kill her.

"I had the alarm, but it only goes off inside the house - it doesn't go off outside," she observed. "It didn't distract him at all. He stayed 12 minutes [...] He's constantly lunging at me with this knife.

"I went into a very calm state. I just sat there... I didn't utter a word. [I] don't know if it was shock or adrenaline."

"He desecrated my home"

Christina has a panic button, but she was afraid that the man would see her pressing it. Eventually she managed to hit the button when the thief briefly turned away.

The ensuing loud noise provoked the thief to grab Christina's phone and keys, and he left with her car.

Christina said gardaí arrived very quickly after the panic button was pressed. It is believed the burglar used screwdrivers to break into the house, which had been locked up at the time.

Christina thought 'long and hard' about going public with her experience, but she told Pat: "I'm just very angry that he desecrated my home... I just want people to know there's some man going around doing this.

"I thought people should know what happened, make them more vigilant for themselves."

She told Pat she has considered selling her home after the incident, saying it feels 'soiled'.

However, she added: "There are beautiful neighbours around, and the police were fantastic... they were just amazing."