I drew the curtains and quietly closed the bedroom door. ‘Goodnight my loves, sleep well,’ I whispered to my three youngest children before padding downstairs.

It was a cold winter’s night in November 2013 and I joined my two older children, Katie and Nicky, in front of the television.

‘You can watch an hour or so before bed, ok?’ I told the kids before curling up on the sofa in the room next door.

Life as a single mum to five children between three and 12 was hectic, and it wasn’t long before I dozed off on the sofa.

I suffer from narcolepsy, so I never really know which room I’ll wake up in, but in the early hours of that morning, I woke to a vision that will haunt me forever.

‘Where’s the money? Go on, where is it?’ the stranger’s voice suddenly boomed above me, as he shook me awake by the shoulders.

Panic shot through me as I blinked awake. As my eyes slowly swam into focus, I saw a huge hooded intruder looming over me in the darkness.

What was going on? Who was he? What did he want?... Were the kids ok?

I barely had time to think as the brutal burglar barked demands. ‘Hand over all your cash and jewellery,’ he snarled, his face covered with a balaclava.

Too terrified to speak, I couldn’t even muster a scream as I lay there, helpless. The kids were asleep upstairs and I was prepared to give the burglar anything to put an end to my nightmare.

‘Just do as you’re told, shut up, and give me the money,’ he went on, his fists gripping my top and his face just inches from mine.

But just then, I heard Katie, who was only 12-years-old at the time, climbing out of bed and creeping across the landing.

The commotion must have woken her but from where she was standing at the top of the stairs she could see me… but not the masked intruder.

‘What’s the matter, Mum?’ she whispered into the darkness, studying the fear on my face.

I desperately motioned for her to go back to bed, trying to give her hand signals to send her back to her room, but she didn’t take the hint.

I didn’t want to worry her but I desperately hoped she’d clock that something was up and call for help. But Katie didn’t understand.

‘What was all the shouting about?’ she went on as I tried to tell her there was nothing to worry about, to go back to her room. But she wouldn’t let it drop.

'Don't argue Katie, just go back to bed,’ I urged her, stronger now. She still couldn’t see the sinister stranger lurking in the darkness… until he piped up.

'I haven't got time to listen to you two having a family domestic,’ he snarled.

My little girl froze then, gripped with terror. I could see the fear in her eyes and in that moment, the criminal made his fatal mistake.

My maternal instinct kicked in and the fear that had engulfed me, gave way to anger. How dare he scare my children?

I was like a fearsome lioness… and I'd do whatever it took to protect my cubs.

‘It’s ok Katie, this man is just leaving… aren’t you?’ I looked him in the eye, holding his stare with a steel I didn’t know I had.

Then from somewhere within me, I summoned the strength to heave myself up and square up to face him.

‘Just give me the money so I can go,’ he snapped. But I wasn’t backing down.

'Get the hell out of my house!’ I yelled in his face. ‘You’ve frightened my daughter. How dare you come into my house and scare my kids?’ I went on, the anger rising inside me.

It was my turn to start shouting and screaming. I just wanted this monster out of my house and away from Katie.

His eyes gave it away - he was finished. After that, he couldn’t get out quick enough, falling over a table and a lamp in his hurry to flee.

But I wasn’t done. I was still terrified, but I couldn’t let him get away with it. ‘Lock the door behind me,’ I told Katie as I tore after him.

I chased him up the street, watching our belongings fall out of his pockets as he frantically sprinted away from me.

When I noticed one of my large bottles of perfume, lying smashed up on the street, I picked it up and hurled it at his head.

Barefoot and wearing just a dressing gown, I must have been quite a sight as I ran after this 6ft burly burglar for 15 minutes.

It was bitterly cold but I didn’t care. The masked monster hadn’t seen the last of me yet.

I must have chased him along four streets before he eventually disappeared down some steps and I stopped at a breathless halt.

I spotted a door that had opened on the terrace across the road and with courage I wasn't sure I felt, I yanked open the door and stormed in.

The first thing I noticed was that the TV I had bought for the children for Christmas was sitting on top of the fridge. Cheek! He must have burgled us earlier and come back for more loot.

‘Where is he?’ I yelled at a clueless girl standing at the door. I was in hysterics by the time I noticed that the back door was open. He couldn’t get away…

Meanwhile, Katie had called the police and as officers swarmed around me, the burglar was caught and arrested after fleeing through the back garden and back into the streets.

I later learned that the police had watched me chase him through CCTV cameras, then blocked off the road he was heading towards, trapping him.

Lee Draper pleaded guilty to burglary and theft and was sent to prison for four months, but only completed half of his sentence before being released.

Now, I always make sure I lock the door behind me as soon as I get home. My narcolepsy means I could fall asleep at any time, so I have to be extra vigilant.

It took me and Katie a while to get over it but now we're stronger than ever. I refuse to let him rule my life and live in fear in my own home.

I don't feel like a hero but I'm glad I caught my bungling burglar and that he was locked up, where he belongs.

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