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Learning English - Words in the News
16 November, 2005 - Published 15:11 GMT
John Lennon's killer saw himself as hero
Mark Chapman, Lennon's killer
Mark Chapman, Lennon's killer

Recorded interviews with the man who murdered John Lennon almost 25 years ago reveal that he considered himself a hero on an unstoppable crusade. Mark Chapman shot the ex-Beatle in New York on December the eighth 1980. This report from Jeremy Cooke:

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The tape recordings are of interviews conducted with Mark Chapman in prison in 1991 and 1992. In them, the convicted murderer gives a remarkable insight into his state of mind when he decided that his mission in life would be to kill John Lennon.

Chapman says the idea came to him when he was in his apartment looking at the Beatles' 'Sergeant Pepper' album. Speaking of Lennon, he says: 'there was a successful man who kind of had the world on a chain, so to speak and there I was, not even a link of the chain. Something inside me just broke.'

Chapman killed John Lennon as the ex-Beatle's car arrived outside his Manhattan home on December the eighth, 1980. Describing that moment, he says, 'I had this incredible feeling when John Lennon's car pulled up. I heard a voice in my head saying ‘do it, do it, do it’ and as he passed me, I pulled out the gun, aimed at his back and pulled the trigger five times in succession.'

The full interviews with Mark Chapman will be broadcast on NBC in the United States on Friday and on Channel 4 in the UK on the anniversary of John Lennon's death.

Listen to the words

a determined attempt to do something you believe in

the convicted murderer
the man whom a court had found guilty of murder

a remarkable insight
a very interesting understanding

his state of mind
the way he was thinking

his mission in life
his aim in life

had the world on a chain
had control over the world

a link
a part of

pulled up
arrived and stopped

the trigger
the switch on a weapon which makes it fire

in succession
one after the other

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