A FORMER soldier will attempt a daring stunt which has claimed the lives of dozens of magicians.

Edward Askham-Spencer is hoping to catch a bullet between his teeth at a magic show in Brighton’s Grand hotel next month.

An audience member will fire a steel ball bearing at Edward’s mouth from a miniature cannon.

The paratrooper turned magician believes he is uniquely qualified to perform the death-defying feat.

He said: “There are only a few people in the country capable of doing this. I thought I would take part of everyday life as soldier and mix it with the theatrics of magic.

“12 famous magicians have unfortunately lost their lives doing the trick. It requires pinpoint precision: if it goes wrong, the consequences are lethal.”

The popularity of the ‘bullet-catch’ declined sharply after magician Chung Ling Soo was shot dead when his firearm malfunctioned in London in 1918. Harry Houdini is said to have been too afraid to perform the trick.

But Edward feels confident it will be a success. He has already pulled off the stunt at a show in Southampton, and has spent months preparing.

It was through the army that he first became involved in magic.

He said: “I was in the parachute regiment. I toured Afghanistan in 2008, and later joined the reserves.

But when I attempted reselection, I injured my knee and was medically withdrawn. That’s when I met my mentor, the Magic Marine Steel Johnson.

Edward said: “He showed me a card trick and it completely blew my mind. But I didn’t think anything more of it. Years later, I tried to get back into the army. I got fit again, but I slipped a disc in my lower back. That brought an end to my special forces career. It was a difficult situation to find myself in. It was a time of big struggle.

“Then my friend took me along to the local magic club. I wasn’t keen. He dragged me kicking and screaming. In the end, I ran out of excuses.

“It was one of the best things that could have happened.

“It was a bunch of interested, professional people who were passionate about magic, and earning money from it.

“I was hooked straight away.

“I got into magic lectures and I would study from the moment I woke up to when I went to bed.

“I focussed on getting up to speed.

“It paid off. I was hired to perform at restaurants, weddings, and shows, and now I’m doing the legendary bullet-catch.

Edward’s show, Magic at The Grand hotel, takes place on November 29.