MASKED raiders threatened to kill a woman unless she handed over the keys to a safe during a terrifying ordeal at her Catherine-de-Barnes home.
Mary Mclean said she feared for her life when the three thugs struck while she was alone at the Lugtrout Lane bungalow she shares with her husband Noel.
Her ordeal began in broad daylight around 12.30pm last Wednesday, shortly after she had said goodbye to her son Adrian who had been visiting.
"I went to open the back door to go out to the garage and these three fellows in masks were outside the back door," said Mary.
They pushed me back, grabbed me and one put their hand over my mouth. They shouted 'where's the keys to the safe' and one of them was shouting 'kill her, kill her'. I was trying to be brave so I swore at them and said 'I think I know you'.
The masked men then dragged Mary to the safe in a bedroom and emptied the contents, including cash and jewellery, into a hessian-style supermarket bag.
Watches, jewellery and a substantial amout of cash were taken and Mary and Noel estimated the burglars escaped with a haul worth around £40,000.
About £9,000 in cash was stolen, a quarter of which was earmarked for charity.
The couple had recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and instead of gifts had asked family and friends to make a donation to St Mary's Hospice in Birmingham.
Mary's ordeal ended 15 minutes later when she was bundled into the bathroom by the robbers. In a bid to prevent her escaping one of the robbers kicked the handle and lock off the bathroom door.
Just before that she was trying to make her way to a panic button to raise the alarm.
Mary managed to escape through the bathroom window in time to see the raiders climbing over the garden wall and make their getaway in a small black car. She then made her way to a neighbour to raise the alarm.
Mary believed all the assailants were aged between 18 and 19 and all had Birmingham accents.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 0845 113 5000.