'Please don't kill us' - boys' plea to raiders
Two boys aged just 10 and 12 were held up by a gang of armed and masked men in a terror burglary in their home.
The shocking incident happened while the boys' parents were unavoidably out of the home and a gang of men burst in through the back doors.
Nudrat Malik told of how she feared for her boys when she rang them in their home in Mornington near Laytown in Co Meath on Monday evening and heard her eldest boy screaming "Who are you?" to one of the masked raiders before the phone went dead.
"My brave boys told the men to take their iBook and said 'please don't kill me', but they did not want the electronic devices, it was cash and jewellery they wanted, nothing else," Ms Malik told the Herald.
Ms Malik had left the house collect her car that evening and visit a friend who was sick.
"I took our younger twins and asked the older boys to stay at home because I had no room for everybody. I was not going to be long," she said.
"Then I rang home at around seven o'clock and my son said 'hello' when he answered the phone but then started screaming as the phone went dead. I got the shock of my life and tried to ring back.
"The third time I tried my son answered again but the phone was suddenly disconnected," she added.
"I was with my husband and we were trying to get back to the house as fast as we could, and I rang my neighbour Miriam to ask her to check on the boys," said Nudrat.
Her sons were being threatened by the gang of around four or five raiders, who kept demanding "Where does your mother keep her jewellery?" and "Where does your father keep his money?"
The men wore gloves and masks and one was armed with a hammer and shook the eldest son's shoulders in an effort to get them to talk.
While Nudrat and her husband Anwar were trying to get home, their neighbour went to their house and rang the doorbell. The gang had fled and the boys were afraid to answer at first, but when they recognised Miriam's voice they let her in and she took them to her house.
"When we got home Anwar checked the house and then we brought the boys back.
"They were very shaken and they did not want to sleep in their own beds, but they were OK to go to school the next day," Nudrat explained.
"They were in the house for around ten minutes we think. There were two keeping watch while the others went through the rooms opening drawers and asking all the time about money and jewellery, but we have nothing of value here," said Nudrat.
"One of the men asked my younger son where I was and he told him I was in Tesco, which was quite near, so maybe that is why they left," she said.
"It is just frightening to think that something like this could happen. You think you feel safe in your home."
The burglars gained entry by snapping in half the euro-profile cylinder lock that is common in so many doors around Ireland.
More modern versions of this cylinder lock have come to the market in recent years that have anti-snap features which are stronger and offer more protection.
Gardai advise that people switch their old locks for the newer design that is much-less tamper proof or ask a locksmith for advice.
The Malik family are now getting new locks fitted.
"Thankfully my sons were not injured, but they were very shaken by the whole experience," she added.
Gardai at Laytown are investigating the burglary but no arrests have yet been made.