Thursday, March 1, 2018

Secret papers reveal teen shot at Queen in failed assassination attempt

Secret papers reveal teen shot at Queen in failed assassination attempt

A troubled 17-year-old boy tried to assassinate Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during her 1981 visit to New Zealand when he opened fire near her motorcade, according to newly released documents.
Christopher Lewis shot a rifle as the queen got out of her vehicle on the way to a science fair on Oct. 14 during her eight-day tour of the country, according to the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.
“Lewis did indeed originally intend to assassinate the Queen, however 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 that was sent to Reuters on Thursday.
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Christopher LewisCaters News
According to the documents, police found a .22-caliber rifle with a discharged cartridge on the fifth floor of a building after Lewis told them it was there.
The documents — which sparked a police inquiry into how the incident in the southern city of Dunedin was handled — were declassified in response to a request by Fairfax Media.
Lewis was only charged with unlawful possession and discharge of a firearm, not attempted murder or treason — fueling speculation the incident was downplayed to prevent embarrassment to New Zealand.
Authorities initially told people who heard the shot that the noise was from a falling sign or a car backfiring.
“Current police investigations into the shots have been conducted discreetly and most media representatives probably have the impression that the noise was caused by a firework of some description,” according to a November 1981 memo from SIS that was released Thursday.
When questioned by police, Lewis — who was described as a “severely disturbed” youth — claimed to belong to the group National Imperial Guerrilla Army that was carrying out terror operations.
He said there were two other members called the Snowman and the Polar Bear, but later admitted he’d made them up.
During the queen’s subsequent visit to New Zealand in 1986, police were so worried that Lewis might try again to kill her that they paid him to go on a 10-day vacation to a remote island, according to the news outlet Stuff.
They gave Lewis free accommodation, a daily spending allowance and the use of an SUV.
Years later, Lewis was charged with the murder of an Auckland woman and the abduction of her baby daughter, who was later dropped at a nearby church.
Lewis electrocuted himself while in the slammer at age 33 in 1997 awaiting the murder trial, according to news reports at the time. He denied the murder charge in a suicide note.
A New Zealand police spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday that the police commissioner had ordered the case file of the assassination attempt to be examined.
With Post wires

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