TEENAGER Cara Lawton has been left terrified after she was covered in petrol and smashed glass during an attack on her family home.
The 13-year-old was asleep on the sofa when her Hylton Castle house came under attack.
Fearing for her life, the petrified schoolgirl ran upstairs where her mum, Tracey, and two brothers –Kurtis, 12, and Bradley, 10 – were sleeping to warn them.
Tracey, 49, said: “The smell of the petrol just hit me and I was so scared we were going to die in that house.
“I kept thinking all it takes is for them to set it alight and we’re dead.
“I’ve never been so scared in my whole life. I was frightened for myself but also for my family.”
Tracey, whose grandson Paul, nine, was also in the house, went downstairs but the thugs had fled the scene, leaving the carpet and sofa doused in a mixture of petrol and paint.
Neighbours, who had been woken by the noise, had already phoned the police.
Now Tracey and her three children are living in fear of a repeat attack.
“I don’t feel as if this is my house any more and none of us feel safe here,” Tracey said.
“Cara is unable to sleep, keeps getting herself upset and is really distressed about it, which is understandable, because she had glass on her and petrol.
“I feel my daughter woke up in the nick of time and saved all of our lives because if she hadn’t disturbed them, they might have set the whole place on fire.”
Tracey, of Cheadle Road, Hylton Castle, believes the attack may have been committed by someone with a grudge against her 28-year-old son, who does not even live in the property.
She said: “My daughter said she heard them say ‘we can’t do it, there’s a bairn in there’ and then it seems they ran off but who knows whether they’ll be back and what they’ll do next time.
“We just want to be able to get on with our lives as normal.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed they had received a report of an incident at an address in Cheadle Road.
Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 03456 043 043 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.