Declassified papers reveal the Queen survived an assassination attempt in 1981

REUTERS  Mary Turner                   A teenager tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a trip to New Zealand

REUTERS Mary Turner A teenager tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a trip to New Zealand

New Zealand's spy agency revealed yesterday that a mentally disturbed teenager tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a 1981 visit to New Zealand and police covered up the botched attempt.

Lewis, then 17, fired his.22 calibre rifle from his hiding place on the fifth floor of a building as the Queen stepped from her auto outside a museum in the southern city of Dunedin on October 14.

Declassified documents confirm a botched assassination attempt on the British monarch in October 1981. Instead, he referred to them only as Snowman and Polar Bear. During the massive gathering, Lewis hid in a deserted cubicle on the fifth floor of the building overlooking the parade. On her way, she stepped out of her motorcade to greet onlookers.

In a 1997 story in The Times, released as part of the documents, Mr Lewis said his then police colleagues helped rewrite the assassin's confession to say he fired at the ground out of frustration. The papers said it was, "highly likely, although it may not have been aimed directly at the Queen or the Royal Party".

Although Lewis, who took his...

The newly released intelligence reports say, "Lewis did indeed originally intend to assassinate the Queen".

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Lewis was later discovered with his weapon and arrested. "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".

The police downplayed the attempt saying the sound was from a council sign falling down and not of a gunshot.

"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", a 1981 memo reads, per TWP.

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 vehicle backfiring.

Police have issued a statement saying they would be overseeing an investigation into Christopher Lewis's case file. Fortunately two police officers walked into his line of sight and he did not take the shot. Questions have been raised as to why he was not charged with attempted murder or treason. He later on said that the characters were just products of his imagination.

According to McNeilly, citing Lewis' autobiography, the gunman was sent to Great Barrier Island, off the country's north coast, at government expense.

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