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Bullet fired from gun that shot John Lennon given to British police officer as ‘apology’

Auctioneer John Bullock-Anderson poses with a framed bullet fired from the gun that  shot John Lennon
Auctioneer John Bullock-Anderson poses with a framed bullet fired from the gun that shot John Lennon - Raoul Dixon/NNP

A bullet fired from the gun that killed John Lennon is to go up for auction after it was given to a British policeman.

The bullet in question, shot from the revolver used by the Beatles star’s killer Mark Chapman, was presented to Brian Taylor after he was involved in a shooting while working with officers in the United States.

The former divisional commander from South Tyneside was offered the bullet on a trip to New York as an “apology” for the unexpected shootout.

Following Taylor’s death, the framed bullet will be sold at auction with an estimate of £1,500-£2,000 by Anderson & Garland on Feb 29.

John Lennon was shot and fatally wounded by Mark Chapman on the evening of Dec 8 1980
John Lennon was shot and fatally wounded by Mark Chapman on the evening of Dec 8 1980 - Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Taylor had a long career as police officer in Newcastle and Northumbria and in 1982 the then detective chief inspector transferred to the new Community Services police department.

The role meant he worked in areas such as crime prevention and schools liaison and in 1984 he visited New York accompanied by children who had won a place on the trip through a TV show’s “super sleuth” competition.

Mark Chapman was convicted of murdering Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment
Mark Chapman was convicted of murdering Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment - EPA/NYSDOCS/HO

While he was representing British police in a crime prevention exchange visit, he escaped unscathed during a shooting in New York, where he was the only policeman who was unarmed.

“As a memento the NYPD gave me a bullet from the gun that shot John Lennon,” Taylor previously wrote in a family document.

The bullet, which was presented to British policeman Brian Taylor, will be sold at auction with an estimate of £1,500-£2,000
The bullet, which was presented to British policeman Brian Taylor, will be sold at auction with an estimate of £1,500-£2,000 - Raoul Dixon/NNP

According to the auction listing, the glass frame includes a picture of Taylor holding the gun used by Chapman. A plaque included in the frame also reads: “A bullet from the gun which shot John Lennon given to Supt. B.W. Taylor on a visit to New York City Police, September 1984”.

‘One of music’s most beloved stars’

The description adds: “While in New York on patrol with the NYPD Taylor was involved in a shooting and, being both British and a visitor, he was the only officer unarmed. By way of an apology, and in the knowledge of his being British and a Beatles fan, they took him to a small museum in the Forensic Investigation Division of the New York Police Department in New York City.

“There he was allowed to fire the weapon that fired the bullets that shot one of music’s best and most beloved stars, John Lennon. The bullet and cartridge were retrieved and given to Taylor as a gift. He had them mounted and hung it on the wall of his office for the remainder of his career. His family have now decided it is time for another true John Lennon fan to own this historic item.”

Lennon, 40, was shot and fatally wounded by 25-year-old Chapman on the evening of  Dec 8 1980, in the archway of the Dakota apartments which he and Yoko Ono were using as their base in New York. He died from four bullet wounds to his chest and shoulder.