Former One Direction singer Liam Payne revealed that he was attacked at knifepoint when he was just 12-years-old.
Recalling the incident to The Mirror, Payne says he is “lucky” to be alive.
“It was one of the scariest things I’ve been through,” he said, as he is backing the Mirror’s campaign against the knife epidemic currently happening in the United Kingdom.
The ordeal as a child is what has inspired him to help raise awareness.
Payne spoke of how he and a friend were “lured” to a remote spot in the town. “This six-foot-two guy says ‘I will tell you the truth, lads, you’ve been brought here today to get jacked.’ My life flashed before my eyes. He pulled out a massive hunting knife and I felt my heart in my throat. It was really scary. He was pointing the knife in our faces, then sharpening the blade with a stick and making up raps.”
He added, “We ended up giving him what we had in our wallets. Eventually, we just legged it and jumped on the nearest bus even though we didn’t know where it was going.”
“I was lucky, but so many aren’t… Something needs to be done. We’ve reached unprecedented levels of people losing their lives,” the “For You” singer said as he calls on the government to step in and act.
Payne didn’t tell his parents at the time but encourages youth today to speak to an adult. “I didn’t want my parents to know how far I was from my home… It’s important that you tell someone if something like that happens to you. They can help.”
Payne, who shares a one-year-old son with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini/Cole, noted that becoming a father has inspired him to make a difference.
“It’s really important that parents are talking to their kids, and that schools are running programmes with people who have been affected by knife crime,” he said. “It’s not just the life you are taking, you are going to take away from your own life. You will end up in prison. There are better ways to do things – you have to reach and ask for the right help.”