The Murder Of John Lennon...
Tucked away on the first floor of New Scotland yard in the aptly numbered Room 101 is the Met Police’s Crime Museum, formerly the ‘Black Museum’ The Crime museum is in two rooms and contain extensive collection of weapons, all of which have been used in murders or serious assaults and displays items from famous cases, such as Jack the Ripper, John Christie, Dennis Nilson, The Kray’s and Georgi Markov. There is also a morbid display of the death masks of people hanged at Newgate Prison and a collection of hanging ropes of Albert Pierrepoint, the most famous member of the Pierrepoint family which provided three of the United Kingdom's official hangmen in the first half of the 20th century.
The museum has never been open to the members of the public and never will be, but is now used as a lecture theatre for the curator to lecture police and like bodies in subjects such as Forensic Science, Pathology, Law and Investigative Techniques. Many dignitaries have visited the museum include Gilbert & Sullivan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, The Prince of Wales (later to be Edward VII), Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Jerome K. Jerome, E.W. Hornung and members of the Royal Family.
I was invited to visit the museum 11 months ago. Since then I have driven the Met Police’s Press department, mad. Why? You may ask! This is why…
In one of the sealed display cases, amongst the array of weaponry, knives and Uzi’s, is a single bullet, standing upright on a 30 year old 9” x 5” piece of paper and bearing a NYPD’ mug-shot’ of the owner.
The once owner of the bullet was Mark Chapman, the monster that murdered John Lennon and who only last month was turned down for a sixth time for parole.
This bullet was the sixth in the chamber of Chapman’s gun after cowardly pumping two of the bullets into the back of John Lennon, spinning him around, he then unleashed another two bullets, ripping in to their unarmed and retreating target and the fifth missing narrowly missing Lennon
Four of the bullets, although some passing straight through the former Beatle, had done irreparable damage, with one bullet in particular, ricocheting around his chest severing his wind pipe and aorta.
Lennon was dead by the time he had reached The St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room. Dr Stephan Lynn , who at the time was the Director of the ER, with his team, tried valiantly for 25 minutes to magic some form of life back in to the lifeless body of John Lennon, but to no avail. Dr Lynn said, (maybe trying to offer some comfort to the millions of Lennon/Beatle fans?) ‘No one could have survived these injuries’
This bullet had been in the possession of the NYPD, Chief medical officer, Nicholas L. Proto (who attended the post mortem on John Lennon) for 25 years and used as evidence to convict Mark Chapman. It was then donated to the(in)famous Metropolitan Police Service Crime Museum.
In September a photographer and I were given private access to attend the Crime Museum and take exclusive photographs of the bullet that was left in the chamber of the Snub-nosed ’38 handgun that cruelly took the life of one of the world’s greatest songwriters, thus ending any chance of a Beatle reunion and sending the musical world in to mourning.
In in his email to me, Phil commented
I know that some people may find the bullet somewhat macabre, but it was a question that I kept asking myself. I honestly wished that I was looking at all of the unused bullets and the NYPD had stopped what I think changed the course in popular musical history.
Phil is a journalist with the Daily Express and our thanks go out to him for providing the article and associated photos.
We publish this article today, the last day of 2010 as a tribute to John and as a reminder to evryone that violence is not the answer to anything.
All photographs copyright Rex Features
Fergy... Liverpool Beat 31st December 2010