Loyalist and partner fight off masked men during burglary
A prominent loyalist has been left traumatised after fighting off masked men who kicked in his front door before stabbing him with a screwdriver and punching him and his partner in the face.
PUP spokesman Ken Wilkinson (69) and his partner Eileen Mathieson (55) were sitting on the sofa when two intruders burst into his home at Castle Road in Antrim at 1.20am yesterday.
The couple jumped up in terror to confront the masked men in the hallway, where the scuffle broke out.
"We heard a thump and we got straight up, but by the time we got to the door they were already in the house," Mr Wilkinson said.
"I punched one of them on the chin and that's when he stuck a screwdriver my arm.
"Then the bigger one clipped me on the mouth and the skinny one jumped on my back."
At this point Mr Wilkinson's partner jumped on one of the thugs in a desperate attempt to drive them off.
"It wasn't bravery, it wasn't me being a hero, it was sheer fear," Ms Mathieson explained. "I thought they were here to kill us."
She was then punched in the face and had her arm twisted behind her back, but she believes she succeeded in thwarting their plans.
"I think they expected me to fall down but adrenaline kicked in," she said. "It's only now I can feel the pain. I have a black eye developing and my legs and arms are stinging."
CCTV footage shows how the culprits kicked the door before running off just 22 seconds later.
"It all happened so quickly but it felt like a long time," Mr Wilkinson said.
"The skinny one ran off first and left his fat mate behind, but he ran off soon after before speeding off in a car."
The father-of-three - who requires oxygen 17 hours a day after being diagnosed with a lung condition last year - has been encouraging his anxious partner to see a doctor following the attack, but she is too frightened.
"What if the doctor gives me something to sleep and they come back?," she asked as she wiped away tears.
"If they want to hurt someone they'll do it - there's no point saying they won't come back. Those boys aren't human."
Mr Wilkinson has previously received bullets and a sympathy card in the post.
A car was set on fire against his home and it has been targeted in a pipe bomb attack, but he has had no trouble since moving house four years ago.
The Policing and Community Partnership member and anti-drug campaigner is not convinced that he was targeted by burglars.
"They didn't get anything - except a sore chin - and there were easier houses to target. No one robs a house with the lights on," he said.
"I'm at a loss. I thought these days were behind me, I really did.
"They must know me because there wasn't one single word out of them, even when I slammed the door against one of their arms three times.
"What frightens me is that even though his mate ran and left him, one guy kept trying to get in; they were determined.
"My three-year-old grandson could have been here. It's worrying to think that he could have been caught up in this."
Police, who are treating the incident as an aggravated burglary, have appealed for witnesses to contact them on 101.