Queen assassination attempt covered up for 40 years – New Zealand horror attack exposed
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The Queen visited New Zealand with her husband Prince Philip in October 1981. During a visit to Dunedin, a city in the South Island, a 17-year-old attempted to shoot Her Majesty in broad daylight. At the time, officials explained away the distant sound of a gunshot as a falling council sign, later adding that the noise was a firecracker. The Government feared news of the assassination attempt would see the end of all royal visits to the country.
Royal biographer Matthew Dennison noted the story in his new book, The Queen, where he explained the monarch had been subject to a similar incident just months before.
In June 1981, during the annual Trooping the Colour, a 17-year-old fired six blank shots at the Queen.
At the time, the monarch was riding on a black mare, Burmese, who bolted at the noise.
Marcus Serjeant, who shot the gun, was sentenced to five years in prison under the 1842 Treason Act.
But, unknown to the Queen, she was subject to a second attack just months later while on a visit to New Zealand.
Mr Dennison said: “Elizabeth had again been the target of a gunman’s shots, in Dunedin in New Zealand.
“Frightened that news of an attempt on her life, albeit unsuccessful, would mean the end of royal visits, the New Zealand government colluded in a cover-up that lasted four decades.
“The seventeen-year-old gunman, Christopher Lewis, committed suicide in 1997 on a subsequent trial for murder.
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“Elizabeth herself may not have known what happened: New Zealand officials explained the distant sound of a gunshot as a falling council sign.”
Years later, it emerged Mr Lewis had been hiding in an empty toilet stall on the fifth floor of a building.
He took aim at the Queen with a 0.22 rifle just as she got out of a Rolls-Royce.
Police later found clippings on the Royal Family in his squalid flat, as well as a detailed map of the Queen’s route that day, with the words “Operation – Ass QUEB” written on the paper.
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Former Dunedin police detective sergeant Tom Lewis said police immediately acted to convene the seriousness of the threat, telling reporters the noise was just a falling council sign.
Later, police said someone had been letting off firecrackers nearby.
The officer said the then prime minister Robert Muldoon feared the news about how close the attempt was would result in no future royal visits.
The 1981 annual police report read: “The discharge of a firearm during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen serves to remind us all of the potential risks to royalty, particularly during public walks.”
Two years later, it appeared Mr Lewis had his sights set on Prince Charles.
He attempted to overpower a guard at a psychiatric hospital where he was being detained in order to assassinate Prince Charles, who visited the country in April with the Princess of Wales and their young son, William.
Mr Lewis took his own life in prison at the age of 33, while awaiting trial for the murder of a young mother and the kidnapping of her child.
Shortly before his death, Lewis told his partner about his infamous attempt to assassinate the Queen of England.
He told her: “Damn … I missed.”
The Queen by Matthew Dennison is available to buy now.
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