Confronted by two thugs, one carrying a gun, on an Oldham housing estate where he had arranged to meet vigilantes, Manchester Evening News reporter James Ducker was subjected to a traumatic ordeal.
Ducker, 23, who covers the Oldham and Rochdale district, had got lost on the Alt estate and returned to his car to get directions.
The next moment he looked up and saw two men – both in their early 20s – walking towards him, one armed with a gun.
“The man with the gun, clad from head to toe in black clothing and wearing a balaclava underneath the hood of his coat, asked me if I had any money,” Ducker wrote in the MEN.
“I gave him the £8 I had on me. Then he asked to try my shoes on, but gave me them back saying they didn’t fit.
“What followed after that, though, was something I will never be able to forget, no matter how much I try.
“Staring up at me, a picture of pure aggression, the man without the gun told his ‘friend’ to kill me. I just froze as the gunman put the pistol to my forehead.
“The next 30 seconds were probably the clearest of my life as the gunman just stood there smirking.
“You often hear of people saying their lives flashed before their eyes in these situations, but there was none of that. Getting home was my only aim, my greatest hope. ‘Nah, I don’t feel like killing anybody today,’ said the gunman and with that they let me go, only vowing to kill me if I ever returned to the estate.”
By Jean Morgan