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Tania Furlan
Christopher John Lewis was found dead in his cell by Auckland Mt Eden prison staff, around mid-afternoon on the 23 September,1997. Lewis 32, had electrocuted himself using the wires from a television aerial. There will be few New Zealanders who will grieve for him. Lewis was on remand awaiting trial for the murder of Tania Furlan.
In July 1996, Mrs Tania Furlan 27, was found battered to death in her Howick home. Her six week old daughter Tiffany was missing but was later found abandoned outside the Royal Oak Baptist church, 18km away from the family home. Police believed Lewis intended to kidnap Tania and hold her for ransom to extort money from her husband.

Lewis denied murdering Tania and the case will not come to trial. Lewis's lawyer, David Jones, has cast his doubt on whether Lewis was guilty or framed while the police have said they were satisfied Lewis was the killer. A police witness, whose name has been suppressed, told a depositions hearing earlier in the year that Lewis had confessed to the murder, stating he had posed as a delivery man to gain entrance.

After Tania let him in, he produced a hammer and told her to lie on the floor. He apparently hit her to only knock her out but realised he had struck too hard. He then hit her several more times.

Lewis left a ransom note and took baby Tiffany to a church where he left her. He returned to the Furlan residence and recovered his ransom note which was now no good to him. This case may raise doubts as to Lewis's guilt as the evidence will never be heard, but a look into Lewis's background reveals a propensity for extreme criminal offending.

He started young, coming to the police's attention in 1981 as a school boy. He had established his own self styled fascist group called the National Imperial Guerilla Army (NIGA). Lewis and the two members of his group staged an armed hold-up on the Andersons Bay Post Office in Dunedin. They held two 10-year-old children and the postmistress at gunpoint, stealing $10,000. The three cycled back to school and sat a test
Christopher John Lewis was found dead in his cell by Auckland Mt Eden prison staff around mid-afternoon on the 23 September,1997. Lewis 32, had electrocuted himself using the wires from a television aerial.
, scoring in the top six.

At around the same time, Lewis went to downtown Dunedin during a visit by the Queen. He was armed with a .22 rifle and as an anti-royalist, said he intended to shoot her, according to his friends at the time (this could very well have been said only to impress his mates). Instead, growing impatient, he fired a shot into the road.

Lewis who was then 17, was charged with 16 offences including burglary, arson, aggravated robbery and charges over the discharging of a firearm in the Otago University area during the Queen's visit. He was sentenced to eight and half years in jail. He was also a resident on occasion at the Lake Alice mental hospital and Cherry Farm, a psychiatric hospital near Dunedin.

A list of his convictions follows:

November 1980 - Burglary and theft: 10 months supervision
January 1981 - Theft :Convicted and discharged
December 1981 - Aggravated robbery, burglary ( 9 counts), arson, Discharging a firearm near a public dwelling, unlawful Possession of firearms: 8 1/2 years Jail
January 1982 - Escape from jail: 3 months jail
August 1984 - Theft of motor vehicle: 6 months jail, burglary: 6 months jail
March 1985 - Burglary (4 counts), Theft of motorcycle: 1 year jail
July 1986 - Theft: Fined $125.00
June 1987 - Aggravated robbery, Attempted aggravated robbery, Burglary (2 counts): 7 years jail, 4 years jail, 1 month jail, Theft: 1 year jail
November 1992 - Aggravated robbery: 4 years jail
March 1996 - Burglary, False Passport: Repaid $1,000, 1 month jail
Charges laid at time of death:  
Abduction of minor, aggravated robbery ( 2 counts), murder, obstruction of justice.

Back to Murder Index

Tania Furlan was brutally murdered in July 1996 with Christopher John Lewis, 32, charged with her murder. He committed suicide in prison before the trial could begin.

 C.J. Lewis Portrait 

 C.J. Lewis Portrait 

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