Police 'tried to cover up' assassination attempt on Queen in 1981
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Queen Elizabeth has travelled extensively all around the world for both business and pleasure during her reign. The vast majority of the Queen’s royal visits abroad go very well. However, a trip to New Zealand nearly resulted in the monarch’s untimely death.
On a 1981 visit to the country, a 17-year-old boy tried to assassinate the Queen.
Teenager Christopher Lewis shot at Elizabeth as exited her vehicle on the way to a science fair in Dunedin on October 14.
The Queen was on an eight-day tour of New Zealand when the assassination attempt was made.
Fortunately, the shooting failed due to the weapon itself and the position of the shooter.
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) released a 1997 memo on the incident in 2018.
“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,” the document said.
The teenager hid inside a deserted toilet cubicle and aimed at the Queen’s motorcade as it passed five storeys beneath him.
Intelligence documents described Lewis as a “severely disturbed” youth who was obsessed with the Royal Family.
Police later found clippings in his flat all about the Royal Family and a detailed map of the Queen’s route on the day he tried to shoot her.
At the time of the attempted assassination, police told the press the noise of the gunshot was a council sign falling over, reported The Guardian. They later accredited it to someone letting off firecrackers.
Former Dunedin police detective sergeant Tom Lewis said that then-prime minister Robert Muldoon was worried that the Royal Family would never return to New Zealand if they knew how close the Queen was to being killed.
Despite trying to murder the Queen, Lewis was not charged with murder or treason.
Instead, he was charged with unlawful possession and discharge of a firearm.
Lewis’s obsession with the Royal Family was further suggested when police alleged he developed a plot to shoot Prince Charles while in a psychiatric hospital.
Over a decade after the 1981 royal assassination attempt, Lewis murdered a mother and abducted her baby before abandoning it.
According to news reports, Lewis electrocuted himself while awaiting trial in prison.
Royals go to great length to make sure they are safe during visits abroad.
Queen Elizabeth will always be accompanied by a Royal Navy doctor who will have to research the nearest hospitals carefully in advance.
She will also take a bag of her own blood with her in case a transfusion should be necessary.
The doctor will carry “a bulky medical bag containing a mobile defibrillator and all manner of emergency medicine,” royal reporter Gordon Rayner told the Telegraph.
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