Lennon's stolen photos traced

Beatle John Lennon waves his marriage certificate after he and Yoko Ono wed in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. Photo / AP
Beatle John Lennon waves his marriage certificate after he and Yoko Ono wed in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. Photo / AP

They are some of the most intimate images ever taken of John and Yoko. In one portrait, the couple are pictured at their secret wedding in Gibraltar in 1969. In another, they happily nestle together in the back of a limo following the ceremony.

Others show the newlyweds, both in white, looking relaxed on a private jet at the end of the wedding saga that would later be immortalised in hit song The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

As John Lennon's widow prepares to mark the anniversary of her wedding to the late Beatle next Sunday, the Mail on Sunday has revealed these images have distressed her for decades.

As the photographer who took the pictures that day explains, they are at the heart of a long-running mystery after vanishing in an apparent burglary. And, despite the best efforts of detectives, have never been seen since.

The paper's investigation tracked down the negatives for the 118 missing pictures, estimated to be worth more than 100,000 ($213,134), and discovered they are being touted for sale by a notorious Beatles biographer.

The Mail reports that Thailand-based Geoffrey Giuliano offered to sell the negatives to an undercover reporter, who was posing as a collector. After sending over the contact sheet as proof he had the negatives, Giuliano, 62, a US author who is known to have a vast collection of Beatles memorabilia, demanded a cash transfer into his account - but pulled out of the deal after suspecting the buyer was acting for Ono.

He claimed the original photographer is dead but David Nutter is very much alive, and was furious to learn his images were being sold without his permission. He said: 'It's heart-breaking. It was the most important assignment for me ... I'm so angry.'

It was just a few months before the release of the Beatles' album Abbey Road when Nutter, then 30, was summoned by the band's Apple Corps executive Peter Brown and dispatched on "a top secret mission".

"He asked me to get on the next flight to Gibraltar. But he wouldn't tell me why. He just told me to take my camera."

Desperate to avoid the London paparazzi, Lennon and Ono had wanted to seal their nuptials in a private ceremony. After failing to do so on a cross-channel ferry and also Paris, they had been advised to do it in Gibraltar, where, as a British citizen, Lennon could wed immediately.

Nutter's coup turned to disaster in 1975 when he lent his negatives to Anthony Fawcett, a former assistant to Lennon, to be used in the book John Lennon: One Day At A Time.

"When I asked for the negatives back, he told me his apartment had been repossessed and everything had been taken," said Nutter. Later he claimed there had been a burglary.

- Mail on Sunday

- Daily Mail

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