Intelligence Service Confirms Police Covered Up Teen's Queen Assassination Attempt
A teenager tried to kill the Queen during her visit to New Zealand, it has been confirmed by the country's intelligence agency.
New Zealand's Security Intelligence Service (SIS) confirmed for the first time that 17-year-old Christopher Lewis shot at the Queen during her tour of Dunedin in 1981, releasing documents that reveal how he fired at Her Majesty as she got out of her car on the way to a science fair.
The documents were declassified in response to a request by Fairfax Media, and were sent to Reuters on Thursday.
"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," a 1997 SIS memo said.
The intelligence documents also describe Lewis as a 'severely disturbed' youth. He was not charged with attempted murder or treason, and was instead just charged with unlawful possession and discharge of a firearm.
Apparently the investigations were conducted 'discreetly', adding to claims that police covered up the assassination attempt.
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"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," said a November 1981 memo from SIS, which was also released on Thursday.
According to the Mirror, witnesses reported that a loud crack 'echoed' as the Queen stepped out of the Rolls Royce, but that they were initially told by police that the noise was from a falling sign or a car backfiring.
Lewis claimed he'd never meant to assassinate the Queen, but did plead guilty to the shooting. 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.
Instead, Lewis said he just wanted to scare her into tackling prevalent problems in New Zealand at the time.
According to the NZ Herald, he said: "I felt that giving her a scare somehow, that the issues and problems that were evident in New Zealand might be finally brought into the public attention and as a bonus if the Queen would look at these issues - she might well take notice."
The revelations made by the SIS have prompted a police inquiry into the case, with a New Zealand police spokeswoman explaining in a statement to Reuters that the commissioner had ordered the case file be examined.
Featured Image Credit: PA