Lennon's killer is refused bail for second time

The man who has served 22 years in jail for the murder of John Lennon has again been refused bail after a parole board decided his release would "deprecate the seriousness" of the crime.

Officials in New York state told Mark Chapman that his behaviour in prison was positive. But they added: "Your current positive adjustment in this controlled and highly structured environment cannot predict your community behaviour. Discretionary release at this time would deprecate the seriousness of your offence and diminish respect for the law."

Chapman, 47, is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in Attica prison, New York, for murdering Lennon in 1980 as he returned to his apartment with his wife, Yoko Ono, after a late-night recording session. He was struck by four hollow .38 calibre bullets, which the parole board noted were designed to expand on impact and be "especially destructive".

In a statement, issued after interviewing Chapman on Tuesday, the parole board said: "You have acknowledged that you planned this murder for several months, intending to wipe out this international celebrity for being a hypocrite living a decadent lifestyle."

The transcript of the interview was not released yesterday but at his previous parole hearing two years ago, Chapman said a "small voice" that was "probably something very evil" had told him to kill Lennon.