20/02/2012 04:20 GMT | Updated 20/04/2012 06:12 BST

EastEnders' Jamie Foreman Reveals He Came Close To Murder

EastEnders bad boy Jamie Foreman has opened up about his own villainous past, revealing he once came close to shooting a man dead.

The actor has made his name playing on-screen tough guys, including a drug dealer in Layer Cake and nasty Bill Sikes in a 2005 adaptation of Oliver Twist, while his latest character is Derek Branning, the dangerous elder brother of Max, Carol and Jack in the hit BBC soap.

Jamie's father was gangster Freddie Foreman, an associate of the notorious Kray twins, and his new autobiography, Gangsters, Guns and Me, the star reveals he came close to becoming embroiled in the criminal underworld while the family were in hiding in America.

In his book, which is serialised in The Mirror, he writes: "It was the darkest period in my life. I found out I was capable of doing things I'd never imagined... even capable of killing.

"We'd been on the run for almost 18 months after the drug deal was botched. An innocent family man had been killed for doing his job and dad was horrified and furious that it had gone so wrong.

"We spent six months in Tenerife then moved to Pennsylvania where dad and I had to start from scratch. No one knew the Foreman name out there, but we built up a successful business running a games room full of state of the art machines.

"We were under a lot of pressure. It's not a glamorous thing to be hiding abroad. When your freedom and liberty are at stake it wears your life away and becomes a prison in itself.

"I became very frustrated and depressed but I bottled up my feelings for the sake of the family. But all that frustration started turning to anger and one day I just snapped.

"Tyrone was a local guy who did a good line in nicked gear. He was funny and we usually got on well. But that day he waltzed into my office with a load of stolen designer shirts... and jokingly threw one at me.

"Within seconds of it hitting my chest, I was out of my chair, across the room and pointing a cocked .32 automatic against Tyrone's head.

"I just completely flipped... He was shaking and trying to calm me down. But for the first time in my life I wanted to kill and I came terrifyingly close.

"I remember thinking how easy it would be to pull the trigger. I knew I was capable of it. I had it in me. Thank God I calmed down enough to realise what I was doing. I slung Tyrone out of the building and eventually, the adrenaline died down.

"But I'd threatened to end a man's life over a shirt, for f**ks sake! That was the point I realised I had to come home and get back to my 'other' life."