An elderly man's quick thinking may have saved his wife's life during a violent home invasion in Sydney's northwest.
Police suspect the botched robbery was targeted with the thieves demanding what locked in the safe in their home.
John and Sharon White were taken hostage in their own home and left shaken, swollen and bruised.
"I thought I was going to die. I never want to feel that helpless again," John told 7 News.
Sharon had just arrived home when the two men in balaclavas and armed with a knife bundled her inside the house.
While one choked her on the living room floor the other demanded John hand over private documents.
"He started swearing a lot because he wanted the safe opened, and I said okay I'll open the safe."
With the intruder distracted and Sharon struggling to breathe, 73-year-old John made a split second decision to call for help.
"He said you better go and save your wife - that mans going to kill him, kill your wife.
"So I said beauty. So I went up… I wasn't going there, I was going straight to the alarm.
"So I just went and pressed it. And then it all started off," John said.
The panicked intruders fled but not before a "big boy" set upon John and left him with a broken eye socket.
Forensic officers searched the property looking for evidence of the men who remain on the run, leaving empty handed.
News break – July 31