I thought I would be assassinated, says Blaine

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David Blaine was ridiculed by British security experts yester-day for claiming that he been at risk from an assassin's bullet during his 44-day fast in a plastic box near Tower Bridge.

The American illusionist said he had wanted the protection of bullet-resistant glass, but no British company had been able to meet his requirements. "In London they can't make anything that's bullet-proof glass," he told the CNN interviewer Larry King, as he described how frightened he had been of onlookers who had pelted him with eggs and fireworks. "I would jump up because I was sure they were shooting a gun at me," he said. "I would wake up and my heart would start racing."

Blaine's comments, made as he unveiled plans for his latest stunt involving a leap from a helicopter into a river, were greeted with incredulity by British security firms.

Mike Fawcett, of the bullet-resistant glass specialists C3S, of Elland, near Leeds, said: "There is no reason at all why it couldn't have been done. This country has had a lot of experience - because of Northern Ireland - in bullet-resistant protection. If we had known he was looking for a bullet- resistant box we would have been down there like a shot, if you will pardon the pun."

A spokesman for Romag, of Consett, Co Durham, which supplies bullet-resistant glass to Her Majesty's Treasury, many big banks and the airport operator BAA, said Blaine was "just wrong".

The illusionist told Larry King that his worries increased after a man who tried to cut the water supply to his box shouted: "Go back to America! I hate you, I'll kill."