NZ teen tried to kill Queen in 1981

  • NZ teen tried to kill Queen in 1981

NZ teen tried to kill Queen in 1981

While the queen was touring the city of Dunedin on New Zealand's south island on October 14, 1981, a mentally disturbed teenager named Christopher Lewis fired a single shot toward the her as she exited her motorcade at the Otago Museum, according to papers from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

Speculation surrounds the reason the incident was downplayed - police officers reportedly told members of the crowd that the noise of the gun shot was from a falling sign or a auto backfiring.

Based on the documents released by SIS, authorities were concerned the incident would become public and conspired to keep it secret.

This has added to claims that "the incident was downplayed to prevent embarrassment to a country hosting a royal visit", says Reuters.

He would later kill himself at age 33 while in prison awaiting trial on murder charges in an unrelated case.

According to the docs, Lewis meant to kill Elizabeth, but was never charged for it.

The official story began falling apart in the 1990s, as several people close to the investigation began talking to the media, and particularly with the publication of the book "Coverups and Copouts", by retired police officer Tom Lewis, published in 1998.

In 1981, while Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on a royal tour, they rode in a parade in Dunedin, New Zealand.

"Lewis did indeed originally intend to assassinate the Queen, however [he] did not have a suitable vantage point from which to fire, nor a sufficiently high-powered rifle for the range from the target", said a 1997 SIS memo.

Christopher Lewis was described in the documents as "severely disturbed" and was charged with unlawful possession and discharge of a firearm.

Ex-cop Lewis told Stuff: "You will never get a true file on that".

Lewis served an initial jail term and went on to commit armed robberies and be charged with murder. However, he narrowly avoided a treason charge - which a former Dunedin detective believes was part of the government's cover-up attempt, according to the Mirror.

According to the New Zealand Herald, witnesses at that time said they heard a shot but the police statements said otherwise.

The Guardian has reported that the New Zealand police commissioner has ordered "an examination by current investigation staff of the relevant case file". The shot was sacked by Christopher Lewis, a man who was said to have a deep-seated hatred for the royal family, and was later accused of murdering a mother and abducting her child.