John Lennon’s killer: ‘I was under total compulsion’

Mark Chapman says nothing could have stopped him shooting the Beatle

John Lennon’s killer has revealed his compulsion to shoot the former Beatle was “like a runaway train”.

Talking in newly released interviews given a decade ago at the Attica State Prison in New York, Mark Chapman explained he felt an overwhelming compulsion to kill the star outside the Dakota Apartment Building in Manhattan on December 8 1980.

Talking to author Jack Jones for his biography ‘Let Me Take You Down’, Chapman explained he saw Lennon as “a successful man who kind of had the world on a chain, so to speak, and there I was, not even a link in that chain, just a person who had no personality. And something in me just broke”.

Adding that he hoped he would find his own identity in the killing, Chapman recalled he “heard a voice in my head, saying, ‘Do it, do it, do it.’ And as (Lennon) passed me, I pulled out the gun, aimed at his back and pulled the trigger five times in succession”.

“I was under total compulsion,” he explained in the tapes which are being aired as part of an NBC documentary marking the 25 anniversary of Lennon’s death. “It was like a train, a runaway train, there was no stopping it. No matter … nothing could have stopped me.”

Chapman is currently serving a sentence of 20 years to life for the shooting. He will be eligible for parole again in 2006.