HENLEY-ON-THAMES, ENGLAND — At around 3:30 a.m. on December 30, 1999, celebrity stalker Michael Abram, 33, eluded security and scaled the fence surrounding Friar Park, the famous estate that belong to Beatles superstar George Harrison.
Upon entering Friar Park’s grounds, Abram broke off part of a spear from a statue of St. George the dragon-slayer and scaled up the wall of Harrison’s home. Abram also had a knife and a single intention in mind: to murder George Harrison. As police later explained:
“Abram believed that the Beatles were witches who flew around on broomsticks. Subsequently, George Harrison possessed him and that he had been sent on a mission by God to kill him. He saw George as a sorcerer and a devil.”
Such a delusion chillingly echoed the psychotic fantasies of Mark David Chapman who, in 1980, fatally shot John Lennon to death just outside the musician’s residence.
This time, though, Abram actually made it inside Harrison’s home and, using his knife, attacked both the guitarist and George’s wife, Olivia Harrison.
Olivia heard Abram first. She and George had gone to be at 2 a.m. after watching a movie, and she initially thought the noise Abram made while breaking in was a chandelier falling from a ceiling.
Harrison reportedly leapt up from bed, threw on shoes and a coat, and told Olivia to stay back. Harrison ventured outside the bedroom and described the chaos that happened next:
“[Abram] was hysterical and frightening. He said words to the effect of, ‘You get down here, you know what it is.’ I could see a knife in one hand and the spear from part of the statue in the other.
I shouted, ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.’ He rushed towards me… I ran at him. I was aware of my wife approaching and striking him about the head with a brass poker … He stood up and chased my wife. I feared greatly for her safety and hauled myself up to tackle him.
I placed my hands around the blade … I vividly remember a deliberate thrust of the knife down into my chest. I could feel blood entering my lungs. I could feel my chest deflate. I felt blood in my mouth and air exhale from my chest. I believed I had been fatally stabbed.”
Abram had, in fact, stabbed Harrison multiple times and punctured George’s lung. Gore splattered everywhere.
As the bleeding George wrestled Abram and Olivia slammed the attacker’s head, police officers arrived at 3:45 a.m. The cops got Abram in handcuffs while paramedics worked for 20 minutes to stop Harrison’s bleeding before taking him to a hospital.
One police officer who helped cart Abram into custody later said, “You should have heard the spooky things he was saying, the b-stard.”
The court ultimately ruled Abram not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity, and ordered him to be held at a psychiatric facility indefinitely.
Harrison’s first and last statement regarding the attack perfectly encapsulates the Quiet Beatle’s understated wit (an also makes reference to his second-most-famous band): “He wasn’t a burglar and he wasn’t there to audition for the Traveling Wilburys.”
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Main image: George Harrison [WikiMedia Commons]