A TERRIFIED pensioner thought she was “going to be killed” when she woke to find a burglar on top of her in bed.

Jane Howden woke up with a “black figure” on top of her with their hands over her face and mouth and the intruder said: “No, you’re not dreaming. This is really happening to you.”

The tearful 67-year-old, of Eversley Road, Bexhill, said: “He had his hands over my mouth and nose and his head was into my ear telling me to be quiet. I couldn’t breathe and was struggling.

“I thought I was going to pass out because I couldn’t get any oxygen. I didn’t know what time it was or how long it lasted but I thought I was going to be killed.”

The culprit, who Mrs Howden said looked like a “ninja”, had their face covered and was dressed all in black.

The burglar asked Mrs Howden whether she was alone in the house and shut the bedroom door when he was told there were two dogs in the house. The thug then told her to keep still, with her eyes shut.

Mrs Howden, who was hyperventilating, said: “I couldn’t see him except for a brief moment when he got off and I saw the side of him.

“He was very tall but had no face. It was just black.

“He then started tying my legs up. I thought: ‘I can’t let him tie me up or he’s going to kill me’. I was pleading for my life to him. At that stage I noticed I was bleeding from my mouth where the earlier struggle had taken place. He asked where the blood was coming from and asked why I was pleading.”

A brave and quick-thinking Mrs Howden told the thug she was “very ill” and believes he became agitated because he had her blood on him.

He demanded £70 but kept asking where the dogs were and refused to go into the hallway to get the cash.

Instead, he stole various items of jewellery before telling Mrs Howden to sit on her bed with her eyes closed and not to contact the police for ten minutes. As the person fled through the open bedroom window, the same way they entered, he said: “I’m sorry, but I’m homeless and I need the money.”

Mrs Howden said: “I moved to Bexhill in March because I wanted to retire by the sea after working hard all my life. Every day was like a holiday here, but I haven’t slept since and spend as much time as I can out of the house until late at night. He stole jewellery but at the moment I feel he’s taken my life from me. I am terrified.”

Detectives said the burglar stole distinctive gold antique rings – one with a pink diamond and the other with rubies. A string of freshwater pearls was also taken.

The suspect is described as slim, dressed all in black except his hands, which were small, and with a well-spoken voice.

DS Paul Graham, of Sussex Police, said: “There’ll be someone out there with a cut finger or twisted ankle which someone may have noticed or thought it didn’t add up, so we’d ask them to come forward.