Retro: Lennon shot dead

Dateline: December 1980


Beatles legend, John Lennon, was shot outside his home in New York in front of his wife, Yoko Ono.

After they returned to their apartment at about 10.50pm on December 8, Lennon was shot in the back four times at the building's entrance.

The gunman was a fan, Mark Chapman, who had met Lennon a few hours before and had got him to sign a copy of Double Fantasy. He then waited outside Lennon's apartment building to shoot him on his return. Chapman remained on the scene until the police came and arrested him.

Lennon was taken to Roosevelt Hospital in a police squad car but was pronounced dead on arrival.

A couple of days after the murder, Lennon's body was cremated and Ono scattered his ashes in Central Park after she decided not to hold a funeral ceremony.

She said: "There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him."

On December 14, over 225,000 people gathered in Central Park and, along with millions of people around the world, responded to Ono's request and paused for 10 minutes of silence.


Random street checks on men were put in place around Leeds during December in a desperate attempt to find the Yorkshire Ripper. Men were asked to identify themselves to the police as well as discuss their own theories on the Ripper.

The British politician and founder of The British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley died in his sleep at his home in France.

NHS prescription charges were increased to 1 per item.

Gildersome Church Infants School and Outwood Grange Comprehensive were burnt down during the same night, each costing thousands of pounds of damage.

The FA proposed a new code of conduct which included the ban of alcohol at all League grounds and on all transport to the grounds. The idea was strongly opposed.

There was a peaceful anti-nuclear march of 3,000 people through the streets of Leeds. Co-ordinated by Leeds Action for Peace, the protesters marched from Woodhouse Moor, to The Headrow and back again.

A Harrogate woman said she owed her life to the new battery-operated smoke alarm launched by Hoover Limited after her chip-pan caught fire.

By December 23 there was a total of 2,244,229 people unemployed according to the Department of Employment and figures were still rising. These were the highest figures the country had seen since the end of the Second World War.


American missionary Jean Donovan and three Roman Catholic nuns were murdered in El Salvador. They had volunteered to do charity work during the country's civil war but were shot by a military death squad shortly after arriving in the country. The US subsequently suspended economic and military aid to El Salvador.

The US updated its copyright law in order to include computer programs.

Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th president of the US, taking over from Jimmy Carter. His appointment was seen by many to usher in a new era of politics, characterised by dynamic, energetic leaders.

In Iran, anti-Khomeini protesters clashed with Revolutionary Guards.


Pop group ABBA was topping both the singles and the album charts with Super Trouper until John Lennon's death propelled his single, (Just Like) Starting Over, to the top. The Christmas Number One was There's No One Quite Like Grandma by the St Winifred's School Choir.

Leading British editors and the Press Council had "full and open discussions" about the alleged media harassment of Prince Charles's friend, Lady Diana Spencer.

Harlan Sanders, the symbol and founder of KFC, died after weeks of suffering from pneumonia and leukaemia.

Frank Sinatra celebrated his 63rd birthday on December 12.

Dire Straits, fronted by ex-Leeds journalist, Mark Knopfler, played a gig at Leeds University on December 13.

Footballers Ashley Cole and John Terry were born.

The BBC children's programme, Go with Noakes, in which the former Blue Peter presenter undertook a series of daring experiences, including flying with the Red Arrows display team, was broadcast for the last time.


TV guru Noel Edmonds visited Vallance's electrical shop on The Headrow as part of a promo tour. He was given a 14-inch Sony Trinitron colour TV for donation to the Sue Ryder Homes charity.