A Hampshire grandad has told how he grappled with a masked raider who plunged a screwdriver into his head in his home.

William Sheath, 65, believes he came just inches from death after the armed intruder lashed out in the hallway of his flat in Weston, Southampton.

Reliving the terrifying attack, Mr Sheath, a grandfather-of-five, said: "I was asleep in my bedroom when I heard a noise.

"I went out into the passage to investigate and saw this figure there. I asked him what the hell he was doing.

"The next thing I knew his hand came up and struck me.

"Luckily I ducked sideways just in the nick of time and the blow caught me on the side of my head.

"It bled all over the place. I think I could have been killed if I hadn't reacted in time."

Brave Mr Sheath, pictured above with his cut, lashed out in self-defence and managed to punch the balaclava-wearing intruder with his left hand, causing him to flee. He then went to a neighbour for help.

An ambulance was called and took him to Southampton General Hospital, where doctors put six stitches in the 5cm wound.

Police said the pensioner could have been blinded in the vicious attack, which happened at his first-floor flat in Scott Road.

DC Nick Clark, of Bitterne CID, leading the inquiry, said: "The ferocity of this unprovoked attack upon a pensioner in his own home concerns us greatly.

"We are keen to speak to anyone who saw a male acting suspiciously, wearing dark headgear or carrying tools in that area or nearby on Saturday night."

The 5ft 10in intruder, who brandished a long-bladed screwdriver in his right hand, is not thought to have stolen anything in the burglary at about 10pm on Saturday.

Mr Sheath was recovering with family in Netley this week.

Anyone with information can call Bitterne CID on 0845 045 4545, or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.