Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I, Too, Was Robbed While Asleep in Bed; Life & Style

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I, Too, Was Robbed While Asleep in Bed; Life & Style

Article excerpt


I NEVER thought I could feel sorry for Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, especially not on a glamorous assignment to Cannes, but I do now. Like me, they know how it feels to have your most private space invaded by an intruder. Your body may be unscathed but your mind takes much longer to recover. The girls were victims of a classic Cote d'Azur robbery. They happen on night sleepers down to the Mediterranean, they happen in hotels and also, it seems, in villas.

Somebody sneaks in and chloroforms you, or sprays knockout gas under your door, and while you are comatose and unresisting, your worldly goods are stripped. You wake up poorer, sadder and unable to remember a single thing.

But nobody got hurt and, as Trinny Woodall said briskly and with plenty of British sangfroid: "It was a really unpleasant incident and we just want to put it behind us." It's the same spirit that has you scoffing as you chuck away the Victim Support letter offering comfort when your house has been burgled. Get over it, you tell yourself as you smartly change the locks and kiss your vanished possessions goodbye. But getting over it isn't so easy, as I found when I woke to the ultimate nightmare: a burglar in my bedroom. It was four in the morning. My One woman recalls how, like Trinny and Susannah this week, someone broke into her bedroom in the middle of the night.

It was a long time before she felt secure in her own home again husband was away. The children were tiny and tucked up in their beds, but they were still at the stage of sleepwalking into my room in the middle of the night, so a few nocturnal noises were par for the course. Something woke me up - small, scratchy noises, somewhere beyond the rim of my consciousness. I surfaced slightly and waited for a small, warm body to climb into bed beside me - and waited.

No pad of little feet, no warm body, but still, I realised, those soft, indefinable rustlings. I opened my eyes and realised that the room was illuminated by a strange, dim light. It went off, then on again, like a torch. The bedroom I had at the time was L-shaped, with the bed in a recess, so I couldn't see what was happening around the corner.

I was profoundly puzzled but not scared. Whatever was happening was too unprecedented and undefined to have formed into a threat.

In fact it was so dreamlike that I closed my eyes again, but it didn't go away. So, without the idea of a burglar having even formed clearly in my mind, I thought I'd better see what was going on. I still thought "child" rather than "intruder".

Very quietly, I crept out of bed and around the corner of the recess and came face-to-face with a figure, right there in the sanctuary of my bedroom, rifling his way through my shelves. I still didn't have time to be frightened because the burglar was terrified first. …

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