On October 14, 1981, the Queen almost died. A teenager was armed with a .22 rifle hiding in a building where Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, were.
The gunman, 17-year-old Christopher Lewis, was hiding in a bathroom stall ready to take the Queen's life. As he stationed himself on the fifth floor of a building overlooking the Parade, he took aim and fired. Thankfully, he missed.
At the time, the New Zealand police downplayed the incident and told the news outlets that the sound was a council sign falling over. Later, the police announced it was a firecracker.
A former police officer told a source that the police were concerned that if the public knew how close the gunman had got to assassinating the Queen, no British royal would ever return to New Zealand.
According to "The Guardian," "it may be the closest anyone has ever come to assassinating Queen Elizabeth II."
Interestingly enough, Lewis was captured but was never charged with attempted murder. At the time, there was speculation that the New Zealand police was possibly trying to "cover up" the details of the crime.
Recently, the New Zealand police have decided to re-examine the details of the case due to the public's interest. According to "The New York Times," a statement was released by a police spokesman:
“Given the passage of time, it is anticipated this examination of the old file and its associated material will take some time. NZ Police will share the outcome of this examination once it has been completed."
Also according to the police spokesman, the Commissioner, Mike Bush, has assigned Mike Clement, a deputy commissioner, to oversee the case.
Lewis had a history of criminal acts, such as arson, animal torture, and armed robbery. He even idolized American serial killer Charles Manson. Lewis also disclosed that he was part of a terrorist operation overseen by the "National Imperial Guerrilla Army."
“Lewis did indeed originally intend to assassinate the Queen,” a released memo said. “However, did not have a suitable vantage point from which to fire, nor a sufficiently high-powered rifle for the range from the target.”
Lewis confessed that he did intend to kill the Queen. He wasn't trying to shoot a bird or anyone else, but he wanted to take the Queen's life. He even said, "Damn, I missed," in a hearing.
Two years later after his murder attempt, Lewis planned on killing Prince Charles once he escaped from a psychiatric ward. As the years went on, the attempted assassination was being quietly and conveniently forgotten said “The Guardian.”
Lewis was placed in a maximum security prison when he murdered a mother and kidnapped her child in 1997. A corrections officer opened the cell doors for him and his cellmate to go outside. Lewis refused and stayed in his cell alone.
Later that afternoon, when officers were doing their rounds, they found Lewis slumped over in a metal chair "in a lifeless state." He had electrocuted himself. According to Hamish McNeilly from the website, "Stuff," Lewis committed suicide by tampering with a junction box.
"Stuff" has extensive information about the gunman and the Queen. There is a series called "The Snowman and the Queen" which looks at the life of Christopher Lewis. There are a total of six chapters. You can check them out here.
In other news, Chip and Joanna reveal details about their new show. Check it out here!