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John Lennon's killer apologises to his widow for 'despicable' crime

Sky News logo Sky News 21/09/2020

John Lennon's killer has apologised to his widow Yoko Ono, saying his murder was "despicable" and merits a lifetime behind bars.

John Lennon standing in front of a car posing for the camera: John Lennon and Yoko Ono, pictured in 1969 © Getty John Lennon and Yoko Ono, pictured in 1969

Mark David Chapman, 65, was denied parole at a hearing in New York on 19 August, a Press Association freedom of information request has revealed.

a man posing for the camera: Mark David Chapman in a 2010 mugshot © Getty Mark David Chapman in a 2010 mugshot

A transcript of the hearing shows officials denied his release because "it would be incompatible with the welfare of society".

a large crowd of people in front of The Dakota: Crowds gather outside Lennon's New York home after his murder in December 1980 © Getty Crowds gather outside Lennon's New York home after his murder in December 1980

Chapman, who was 25 at the time of Lennon's death, shot the Beatles star four times in Manhattan in December 1980 - as his wife looked on.

He apologised to the 40-year-old's widow, saying he only killed the singer for "self-glory", admitting his actions were "despicable" and "pretty creepy".

Chapman also believes he should have been given the death penalty, according to the transcript.

He told officials: "I just want to reiterate that I'm sorry for my crime. I have no excuse. This was for self-glory.

"I think it's the worst crime that there could be to do something to someone that's innocent.

"He was extremely famous. I didn't kill him because of his character or the kind of man he was.

"He was a family man. He was an icon. I assassinated him… because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory, very selfish.

William Campbell, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison posing for the camera: The Beatles in 1963 (L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison © PA The Beatles in 1963 (L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison

"I want to add that and emphasise that greatly. It was an extremely selfish act. I'm sorry for the pain that I caused to her [Ono]. I think about it all of the time."

Chapman is married and his wife, 69, lives near Wende Correctional Facility in New York, where he has spent the past eight years.

He describes himself as deeply religious and a "devoted Christian".

The 65-year-old wakes up at 6.30am every day and works as a porter and clerk in the block he lives in - which is separate from the rest of the prison - for his own protection, the transcript says.

In its decision, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision board said it found a claim he made that "infamy brings you glory" disturbing.

It commended his "personal growth and productive use of time" but said his "selfish actions stole the chance for future fans to experience the words of inspiration that this artist provide for millions of people".

"Your violent act caused devastation to not only family and former band members, but the world," it added.

Chapman is next eligible for parole in two years.

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