George Harrison’s Wife Said He Was Defiant and Willed Himself to Survive Their 1999 Home Invasion, It Was a ‘Victory’

George Harrison‘s wife saved him from a potentially deadly home invasion in 1999. When the attacker had George in his clutches, Olivia hit him with a fire poker. Initially, George thought he would die and prepared himself for that reality. However, something else came over him and willed him to live.

The front gates of Friar Park following George Harrison's 1999 home invasion.
The gate of George Harrison’s mansion, Frair Park, following the family’s home invasion | MARTYN HAYHOW/AFP via Getty Images

George Harrison’s wife saved him during their 1999 home invasion

On Dec. 30, 1999, Michael Abram, a 33-year-old Liverpudlian, scaled the fence of George’s home, Friar Park, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He entered the mansion at about 3:30 in the morning after throwing a statue through a window.

In Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Olivia explained, “This guy was saying, ‘Get down here, get down here.’ ‘What do you want?’ He said, ‘You know what I want.’ It was just horrible.

“It was just like this voice from the bowels of hell, and then he just tore up the stairs. He was in a florid psychotic state, and he was tall and young… and this man was on top of George, trying to kill him.”

Olivia grabbed a poker and “hit the guy several times.” She continued, “I could see the blood spreading down his blonde hair, and then he got up, and he chased me. He had me around the neck, and George got up and jumped on his back. And he’d already been stabbed.”

They managed to get the attacker off them. George pinned the attacker down, and the police arrived. Later, in the hospital, George and Olivia looked at each other and couldn’t believe what had happened.

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George’s wife said he willed himself to survive the home invasion

That December night, George almost died. The attacker almost took something precious away from him; how he wanted to leave his body. George had been preparing for a peaceful death ever since he became spiritual.

Olivia said in Scorsese’s documentary that once George thought he might die, he started to prepare to leave his body peacefully, even though the attacker was taking his life violently.

“The next day, George said, ‘You know, I was lying there, and I was thinking, I can’t believe it, after everything that’s happened to me, I’m gonna be murdered. I’m being murdered in my own home.

“‘Since I’m being murdered and I’m going to die, I better start letting go of this life, and I better start doing what I’ve been practicing to do my whole life so that I can leave my body the way I want to.’ He was so defiant and so determined. Nothing was gonna stop him from leaving his body and leaping as high as he could go.”

However, in a recent interview, Olivia said that her husband willed himself to live. “I wouldn’t say it was a defining moment, but it was such a profound experience that I still can’t believe,” Olivia told the Associated Press.

“George nearly died and you think, no, he’s not going to die like that. He was a very defiant person in that sense — I’m not going to die like that. He was thinking that at the time, actually. After everything I’ve been through, I’m going to die like this?”

Olivia considered that night “a victory, not a loss.”

She continued, “It was a victory because he went out on his own terms in the way that he wanted to. It was something that he regretted that John Lennon didn’t have the chance to do.”

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The former Beatle kept his humor during the aftermath of the incident

Despite how scary George’s home invasion was, he didn’t dwell on the negative for long. In the ambulance, he joked with his wife. He called her “Peckinpah,” referring to the western director, Sam Peckinpah.

Later, when George’s good friend, Eric Idle, came over to see how his friend was doing, George made another dark joke. “Why doesn’t this kind of thing happen to the Rolling Stones?” he laughed.

By the time he died in 2001, George bore no scars from the attack, his son Dhani said in Scorsese’s documentary. He was like a yogi and let the whole thing wash away.

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