A young magician from Oxford who recently won a place in the prestigious Magic Circle is mastering a potentially lethal new trick.

Inspired by Paul Daniels, Richard Young commissioned fellow illusionist and engineer Philip Hitchcock, from Mansfield, to build him a contraption called The Spiker Illusion.

During the trick, the magician sets a clock to count down between 10 and 60 seconds before tying himself to a metal shaft with rope.

When the clock stops, it releases a latch holding up a table of 20 metal spikes, which drops down on him.

The magician fails to free himself, but mysteriously escapes unscathed.

Mr Young, 24, from Blackbird Leys, said: "I've been practising for about a week now — it's great fun, but I had a near miss last Friday night."

He said he had seen Paul Daniels perform a similar trick on television 15 years ago, and got in touch with him last year to get permission to recreate it.

He added: "Originally I wanted the contraption made from wood, but Philip thought it would be better made from steel — and he was right."

Mr Young, a former Peers School pupil, said he hoped to have mastered the trick by Christmas.

He said: "I don't normally do dangerous stuff, but I want my show to have a really good balance.

"It's quite difficult to convince a modern audience anything is genuinely dangerous because they think it's planned and rehearsed.

"I'm thinking about performing it with the music from Countdown playing as a comedy piece.

"It should be ready for an audience in about two months — I would love to get it out before Christmas. We will have to see whether I end up in A&E or not."

Mr Young, who performs at weddings, parties and corporate functions, first began learning tricks aged eight. Six years later, he won a Magic Circle junior contest.

But it was only last year that he decided to turn professional. Last week, we reported that he had been invited to join the Magic Circle, which has 1,500 members worldwide.

He said: "It is something you dream of as a kid — it means a great deal to be accepted."