If the gun used to abduct Jack Drummond in 1995 had been pointing in a slightly different direction when it was fired, it's possible he wouldn't have heard it, or anything else ever again.
In the third of his Paper Clips series, which looks at articles from the Manawatu Standard's archives, Chris Hyde talks to Drummond about an armed offenders squad demonstration like no other.
It was time for lunch on a clear calm day at Manfeild, and the crowd was in for a treat.
The entertainment to go with their hotdog and chips was a textbook demonstration of how to catch a civilian-abducting armed offender.
Playing the part of the victim, former Palmerston North doctor Jack Drummond was supposed to be carjacked by a ''villain'' and told to drive around Manfeild.
He would be pursued by police around the circuit where they would wedge him and the villain in.
The villain would then run into a central grass area of Manfeild, before a New Zealand Rail Rescue helicopter flew in, dispatching a police dog to round him up.
''Well, that was what was supposed to happen,'' Drummond says, chuckling.
The first part went smoothly enough.
He sat in the driver's seat of the new Holden Commodore safety car that had been loaned out for the race meet as a young officer wearing a balaclava and carrying a sawn-off shotgun jumped in the back seat.
Keen to act out a situation that was as real as possible, Drummond sped off in the Commodore with a police car in hot pursuit.
A competitor at Manfeild at the time, he wasn't shy of a bit of acceleration.
By his own admission he went into Coca-Cola corner at Manfeild that day ''relatively rapidly''.
As he hit the brakes the young officer's finger hit the trigger, the shotgun's safety malfunctioned, and blanks fired past Drummond into the car's roof lining.
''There was a loud 'f...' behind me as the gun went off,'' Drummond says.
''It [the blast] blew past the hair on the back of my neck and it made a big bend in the roof.
''I couldn't hear for about half an hour afterwards but we just went on driving the circuit.''
The investigation into the incident showed the shotgun's safety was faulty, but even at the time Drummond was quick to tell the young officer he wasn't to blame.
''He was thrown off balance, hit the trigger and the investigation showed the safety was faulty.
''I told him it was just one of those things, and that's exactly what it was."
A later inspection showed the blast put a 4cm-diameter hole through the roof lining and the bulge in the roof caused the paint to flake off.
All up there was about $1000 of damage, which the new Commodore's owners - Wellington driving instructors Stan Pycroft and Stuart Roddick - were less than impressed about.
All of Drummond's sympathy was, and still is, with the young officer.
''I didn't even know him to be honest, and I really hope it hasn't adversely affected him at all in his career.''
Drummond, now 71, still works for the police in an advisory role as well as sitting on the MidCentral District Health Board.
He remembers the incident vividly, although he's pretty staunch about the potential consequences of it.
''These things don't worry me at all.
''The shotgun only had blank wads in it. They would have been fine from a distance although up close they are a bit lethal.
''You don't get shot at too often, but you don't worry about the shots you can hear, you worry about the ones you can't.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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