A South Belfast pensioner who suffers from a range of ailments has told how a burglar threatened him at knifepoint in his home while demanding his car keys.

David Anderson from Sandy Row went through the terrifying ordeal after the intruder made his way into his unlocked Linfield Gardens home around 4.30am on Friday (January 6).

The 72-year-old, who has multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and diabetes, was prodded in the neck by the knife being wielded by the male burglar, who repeatedly demanded his car keys, despite David not owning a car.

The man finally left the property around 10 minutes later after pushing David’s wife over and stealing four pound coins, a watch and some medication.

“I was lying here watching TV and felt tired, so I thought I’d just sleep on the sofa. Next thing I knew, the light came on and this guy was standing there. My two grandsons live with me and I thought it was one of them acting the fool because he was holding a big knife up and had his fingers over his face to hide it.

“But then he started asking me where the car keys were. I told him I didn’t have any and knew nothing about cars. He asked me if I thought he would stab me and I told him he would be silly if he did because he would go to prison for it.

“He then prodded me in the neck with the knife four times. I told him not to be foolish and do something he would regret over a car I knew nothing about. He then placed the blade against my head and checked me for the keys, before saying he wasn’t leaving empty-handed and taking the pound coins and watch.”

David said his wife, believing a neighbour was in the house, then came down the stairs and the burglar pushed her over, before grabbing several boxes of medication and running from the house.

“I told him I’d show him out because I just wanted him gone. He left still brandishing the big knife he took from my kitchen and bolted towards Sandy Row. I originally wasn’t going to call the police but then was worried he might attack someone else with that knife or try robbing another house.

“The real regret I have is not hitting him. It’s annoying me because part of me thinks I’m a coward for not doing that. But the police have told me I did the right thing in just getting rid of him.”

David said his front door lock broke over the holiday period, which is why the property was unlocked.

“The Housing Executive put two bars across it but you couldn’t open it from the outside. There is a proper lock on it now but until the weekend I left it unlocked because my grandsons were coming home late at night.

“It’s taken a while but I’m now thinking how bad things could have been if he followed through with his threat. I feel sorry for him in a way because his circumstances are that bad but there are a lot of people who are going through bad times and they don’t do something like this.”

The man is described as being between 23 and 25-years-old, approximately 6ft 1in tall, of slim build with short, dirty fair hair. He was wearing a dark blue beanie hat, beige jacket, light blue jeans and blue trainers.  Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously on 0800 555 111.