A teenager tried to shoot and kill the Queen during a visit to New Zealand in 1981, classified documents from the country’s security services have confirmed.
The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) released the secret documents finally confirming Christopher John Lewis – who was 17-years-old at the time – had in fact opened fire as the monarch visited on 14 October.
An NZSIS document dated 9 November 1981 confirms “the possibility that a firearm was discharged in the vicinity of the Queen”.
It states it is “highly likely although it may not have been aimed directly at the Queen or the Royal Party”.
However, another secret document from 1997 responds to allegations in a newspaper from a former detective who claimed senior police officers attempted to cover up the assassination attempt.
The document reads: “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 1981 document also references media reports of the time and fears held by officers.
“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,” it stated.
“There is a worry, however, that in court the press may make the connection between the date of the offence and the Queen’s visit.”
The documents were released following a Freedom of Information request.
Lewis, who had already been charged along with his accomplices with 15 counts of burglary and one of armed robbery, was later charged with possessing a firearm and discharging it in a public place.
In a document from 1985, officials said Lewis was still considered a threat to the Queen.
“Lewis is still considered unstable by police and is regarded as a potential threat to Her Majesty The Queen when she visits next year,” they wrote.
And in 1995, after he was released from prison, officials said police were still “paying close attention” to Lewis ahead of another royal visit.
It said police were “sceptical, given the almost psychopathic nature of some of his past activities” despite Lewis claiming to be a “reformed character”.
The ex-Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital inmate killed himself in 1997 while awaiting trial for murdering a woman and the kidnapping of her child.