A grandmother spent 26 hours on life support after being bitten by a killer spider.
The false widow - a close relative of the lethal black widow - crept into bed with Lyn Mitchell, 52.
She rolled over and it sank its fangs into her chest, leaving two angry puncture wounds.
Within seconds she was gasping for breath and losing consciousness.
Mrs Mitchell summoned a GP who immediately called an ambulance. She was whisked to hospital where she lapsed into a coma. Bed bug: The false widow spider, recognisable by pale markings in its brown skin, crept into Lyn's bed before biting her (file picture)
Thankfully after a day in intensive care, Mrs Mitchell recovered and told of her ordeal yesterday.
Mrs Mitchell said: 'This widow spider could have killed me.
'It was an absolute nightmare, just horrible. The pain I felt was so bad. I am still in shock.
'If I hadn't been put on the life support machine I think I would have died. It nearly killed me.'
Describing her ordeal, she added: 'It happened in the early hours of the morning when I was asleep in bed.
'I had my electric blanket on overnight and I think it must have been the warmth of the house and the bed that attracted the spider inside.
'It was very cold outside and by all accounts these spiders don't like the cold and try to get into people's houses.
'Obviously once this one got into mine it decided it was too cold to stay on the floor.
The spider specialist at the History
museum has told me it must have felt the heat from the electric blanket and climbed up and got between the sheets. The Natural History Museum said a warmer climate means false widows are now spreading across England (file picture)
'I was in a deep sleep but I must have rolled over on top of the spider and it bit me.
'I didn't realise anything had happened until I suddenly woke up in severe pain.
'I just jumped out of bed, pulled the duvet and sheets back and saw a spider running all over the other side of the bed.
'It was only tiny, black and shiny and it ran so quick - I have never seen anything move so fast. I didn't try and kill it because I felt so ill.
'When I looked down I noticed a bite mark on my chest, there were two little pin marks. I couldn't breathe and had to call Cuedoc.
'Dr Ironside, who was my GP before I moved to Egremont from Hensingham, arrived very quickly, he gave me some medicine, but I got more poorly and he dialled for an ambulance which came within minutes and took me to hospital.
'I was rushed up to the intensive care unit and put on a life support machine, I was on it for 26 hours.
'They told me they would have to put me to sleep and I can't remember any more apart from seeing loads of doctors and nurses around me.
'After I came round I knew I had been bitten by a spider but I didn't realise the consequences - I had been seriously ill.
'A bite from this kind of female spider would normally give someone a tingling kind of sensation but if you are allergic as I am it can have life or death consequences.
'If it wasn't for Dr Ironside's quick reaction and the hospital staff, I wouldn't be here - they really did save my life.'
Lyn went to her daughter's home nearby while a council pest control team sprayed the floors of her house.
'They didn't find the spider but when I got back five hours later there it was, halfway up the wall behind the bedroom door - it was dying.'
The spider - Steatoda Grossa - is one of 12 UK spider species known to bite humans and is on the increase because of the milder climate.
The rare creepy crawly - often mistaken for a black widow - is purple and black in colour and up to 10mm in length.
The Natural History
Museum identified its species and told Mrs Mitchell it was the worst case of its kind they had come across.
The spider that bit her is now dead after council environmental and pest control officers fumigated her bungalow.