Police are appealing for information about two masked burglars who tortured a 73-year-old woman for three hours after breaking into her home near Weybridge, Surrey on Friday night.
Francoise Jansen, who has ten grandchildren, has spoken openly about her ordeal in the hope that it will spur witnesses to come forward.
She told ITV News how her tormentors subjected her to a form of water-boarding, poured boiling water over her and left her gagged and bound to a radiator.
Viewers are warned that her account is very upsetting.
Detective Inspector Jake Nuttall of Surrey Police, who is leading the investigation, described Mrs Jansen's ordeal as "an appalling, unprovoked attack on a defenceless, elderly woman in her own home".
He added: "I would urge anyone who may have seen or heard anything out of the ordinary in St George's Hill late on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning to call police as a matter of urgency."
Mrs Jansen was left with injuries to her wrists, arms and shoulders and is understandably shaken. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Mrs Jansen was watching the Olympics on television when two men dressed in black clothes and balaclavas walked into her living room.
They forced her to open a safe in her bedroom, stealing jewellery worth thousands of pounds and other items that belonged to her late husband.
At one point she tried to push a panic button that was concealed in her bedroom. Her captors poured boiling water on her bare arm as punishment for trying to call help.
She was then marched downstairs and made to open another safe, but she could not perform the tricky combination because it had not been opened for many years.
Although the safe only contained a few papers, her captors became convinced she was lying and that she was concealing money. They threatened to cut off her fingers with secateurs and told her that her ten grandchildren would never see again if she did not comply.
Becoming frustrated, the burglars tied her hands behind her back and made her lie in her bath, where they subjected her to water-boarding around five times. This involved pouring water onto a towel on her face, simulating the feeling of drowning.
Mrs Jansen said this was the moment she truly feared for her life.
Before leaving, her captors cut her clothes away and tied her to a radiator. She was eventually able to untie the cords that bound her hands using her teeth, and to raise the alarm.
Police believe the offenders left the area on foot heading towards Brooklands Road in Weybridge. Although they searched the surrounding area, the suspects remain at large.
Mrs Jansen said of her tormenters: "I think they are evil, and so cruel". But she added: "I am thankful, because it could have been much worse".
Anyone who witnessed the burglary or has any information should call Surrey Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.