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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Roisin O'Connor

John Lennon’s haunting final words revealed in new documentary: ‘He just collapsed on the floor’

Getty Images

John Lennon’s last words have been revealed by the concierge working on the front desk of the building where the Beatles star was shot and killed.

A new Apple TV+ documentary series, John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, is narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and investigates the shooting by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman on 8 December 1980, along with its aftermath.

It also explores the many conspiracy theories that have emerged since Lennon’s death and features audio from Chapman speaking to his lawyers while applying for parole. The title refers to the fact that Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on the eve of his trial, after which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jay Hastings was working on the front desk of the Dakota building in New York, where Lennon, 40, lived with his wife, Yoko Ono, and their young son, Sean Ono Lennon, on that fateful day.

“He runs past me. He goes, ‘I’m shot,’” he recalls in the documentary. “He had blood coming out of his mouth. He just collapsed on the floor.

“I half rolled him to his back and took his glasses off, put them on the desk. And Yoko was screaming, ‘Get an ambulance, get an ambulance, get an ambulance.’”

Taxi driver Richard Peterson also said he witnessed the shooting while sitting in his parked car outside the Dakota building.

John and Yoko in 1969
— (Getty Images)

“Lennon was walking in and this kid says, ‘John Lennon,’” he says. “He was a chunky guy. I’m looking at him through the front window of my cab.”

‘I’m looking at him shoot him. This guy just shot John Lennon. I thought they were making a movie, but I didn’t see no lights or cameras or anything so I realised, ‘Hey, this ain’t no movie.’”

The Dakota, the New York City building John Lennon lived in and was murdered outside of
— (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Apple says the three-part documentary will reveal “shocking details of Lennon’s tragic murder” and include interviews with some of his closest friends, along with Chapman’s defence lawyers, psychiatrists, detectives and prosecutors.

Mark David Chapman, pictured in 2020
— (New York State Department of Corrections)

Asked by his legal team why he shot Lennon, Chapman refers to the Beatles song when he says, “’All You Need Is Love’, have you ever heard that? Well, this is what I say to that: all you need is love and 250 million dollars. He was the biggest, phoniest bastard that ever lived.”

Chapman 68, is currently being held at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York. He has repeatedly been denied parole – his next opportunity will be in February 2024.

At his 2020 hearing, he apologised to Lennon’s widow, Ono, calling the shooting a “despicable” and “extremely selfish” act.

“I’m sorry for the pain that I caused to her,” he said. “I think about it all of the time.”

The Beatles recently relelased what has been dubbed the last Beatles song, “Now and Then”, which used AI technology to retrieve vocal stems recorded by Lennon at his piano in the Dakota apartment.

John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial is out on 6 December.

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