Emergency services were called to a house in Church Street, Cudworth in December 2021 after reports that two women, Donna Kemp, 46, and Nikki Kemp, 42, had been seriously injured.
The sisters were taken to hospital and although Nikki was discharged soon after, Donna ended up fighting for her life in a coma for a month.
Nikki’s children, then nine-year-old Inness and eight-year-old Orryn Leggett, were upstairs in bed when the drama unfolded.
This week as the man who carried out the attack was jailed for 16 years Donna told the Chronicle that without the intervention of Inness and Orryn, she and her sister could have both died in the attack.
She added: “My nephews heard us shouting and they both came running downstairs and screamed.
“That’s when Inness was on the phone to 999.
“I was stabbed twice in the back, once on my side, and also received a slash to my face, my arm and my foot. My sister was stabbed twice in the back.
“I was in and out of consciousness whilst laid in a pool of blood.
“Inness came over to me talking on the phone to the ambulance.
“He couldn’t feel for a pulse so was talking to me, asking me to tap my fingers on the floor if I could hear him.
“Without their actions neither of us would be here.
“I’m so proud of them I just can’t put it into words.”
The attack was carried out by David Fairweather who only stopped punching, choking and stabbing Nikki when her older sister lay on top of her in a courageous attempt to shield her from his blows.
Fairweather, 44, formerly of Princess Street, in the town centre, admitted two counts of wounding.
He was handed a 16-year sentence at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday.
Donna told the Chronicle that she and her sister were happy with the sentence and are ready to ‘shut the door’ on that part of their lives.
“We’re happy with the result,” she said.
“We’re just so proud of the boys they saved our lives and even the judge said that in court.”
Detective Sergeant Becky Robinson, investigating, said: “Even as experienced detectives, there are some cases which will stay on your mind for a very long time to come and this is one of them.
“This horrendous ordeal was the stuff of nightmares.
“The two sisters, who had invited Fairweather over for a pre-Christmas drink, have been left with life-changing physical and psychological injuries, while the two little boys who watched their mum slip out of consciousness are also receiving ongoing support.
“Both boys were simply heroic. The nine-year-old boy told Fairweather he was phoning the police and to get out, which caused him to flee the address.
“On the phone, the boy told the ambulance call handler what had happened and described his mum and auntie as laying in pools of blood, not moving or talking.
“He told the call handler he was scared they were going to die.
“Despite the unimaginable situation, he was able to give enough detail for police and ambulance crews to attend the address quickly and both victims were rushed to hospital.”
Fairweather was later found by police hiding in a nearby church yard.
“While nothing can heal their trauma, I am satisfied with today’s sentence and the knowledge Fairweather will be exactly where he belongs for many, many years to come,” DS Robinson added.
Donna had to endure more heartbreak as both her parents died just months before and after the horrific incident.
“I was in hospital for five months, in a coma for three-and-a-half weeks and had three major operations,” she said.
“My dad died in January 2021 due to Covid and we knew that mum had cancer.
“She died whilst I was in my coma and my sister had to tell me.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet and I haven’t even processed it it was a horrible 18 months.
“I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to my mum properly I had to watch her funeral through a screen in the intensive care unit.”
Donna and Nikki have nominated Inness and Orryn in this year’s Proud of Barnsley awards which are launched today.