IMAGINE being awoken by your dog barking, and seconds later having a knife held at your chest as armed men threaten to kill you.
This is the terrifying reality for Tony a South Tamworth resident who is too scared to reveal his identity because the very men who have plagued him with fear are still on the run.
Tony’s Hillvue home was invaded by two men on the night of March 11 but the details of the home invasion were not released by Tamworth police for operational reasons.
Three weeks on, Tony is still traumatised and told The Leader he’s struggling to cope with the mental scars.
“When someone has a carving knife a few inches from your chest, saying ‘I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you’, you just can’t get that out of your head,” he said.
“It gives you nightmares ... I’m now extremely anxious at night.
“I lock myself into my house and I check locks during the night – before I go to bed and then during the night.”
Instead of preparing to celebrate his 70th birthday in a few weeks, he’s petrified and has sought professional help to cope.
While he doesn’t want to spread fear, Tony believes he’s not alone – he just wants others to be alert, not alarmed.
“It’s very difficult, I am struggling,” he said.
“We hear about the different things that happen and I can’t imagine what some of the older people of Tamworth have gone through and how they have coped, especially the elderly woman [in Winston Pl]. I can’t imagine what her experience was, it must have been terrifying.”
Tony has praised the officers and according to data from Tamworth police, there were five break-and-enters reported to police last week, down from 20 the week before.
Crime manager Inspector Phil O’Reilly said the 75 per cent reduction was down to arrests and incarceration of young offenders, as well as a Target Action Group operation which was bolstered by a dog unit.
“Police are continuing to investigate the serious incident of the home invasion in Winston Pl as well as Hillvue and others in the command,” he said.
Tony managed to flee to the neighbours who raised the alarm, but the offenders ransacked his home, made off with just $80 and stole his hire car which was abandoned a short time later.
He said in the end money can be replaced but it’s the images that you can’t move past.
“It’s very difficult to get it out your head, it’s always there, especially at night,” he said.
“It’s almost like a prison mentality – it’s the ill ease.”