John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman was hanging around the entrance to the New York apartment complex where the ex-beatle met his death 24 hours before the fatal gunshot was fired, according to a cleaner that encountered him.

ROSAURA LORENZO - who befriended Lennon during her days cleaning the Dakota building apartment he shared with wife YOKO ONO - was dumbfounded when the identity of the singer's murderer was revealed, because she'd exchanged words with Chapman and concluded he was simply an "admiring" fan who possessed absolutely no threat.

While eyewitnesses have commonly placed Chapman outside the Dakota hours before he killed Lennon on 8 December 1980, Lorenzo is the first person to come forward and claim he was actually roaming the vicinity a whole day prior to the tragedy.

She says, "What I can add to this well-known tale is that this big guy with glasses had been hanging around the area at least since the day before. He had got past the outside security control."

On 7 December, upon leaving the Dakota with Lennon's son, SEAN, Lorenzo encountered Chapman, "He had got past outside security control. We were all chatting informally for a good while. It was the very place where John would be assassinated the following day. It was unimaginable. How could anyone conceive that such a man would commit such a dreadful atrocity.

"During our conversation, Mark Chapman gave the impression of admiring and appreciating John as much, if not more, than any of us. He didn't seem an unbalanced person, even a strange person, to any of us who were there that day."

22/04/2005 17:09