By Brad Dison
Michael Fagan was thirty-one-years-old, married, and had four children between the ages of three and ten. Michael was an insomniac. To combat his insomnia, he often wandered around town in the early morning hours. When his wife or other family members asked where he had been, he always replied with a sly grin: “I’ve been to see my girlfriend.” No one took Michael’s explanation seriously. Michael was not having an affair. He had a different interest.
Michael liked to break into a house, the same house, have a look around, and usually left no clues that he had been there. He broke into the same house no less than a dozen times. Rather than breaking in, which implies that he damaged property to get it, Michael always entered through unlocked windows. Michael was no thief. The only thing Michael ever took was what amounted to about half a bottle of cheap wine. Michael just liked being inside this particular house.
At about 6:45 a.m. on July 9, 1982, Michael, exhausted and depressed from lack of sleep, climbed over the railing to the house, walked over to an unlocked window, and climbed in. Uninterested in what he found in that room, rather than going out of the door into the hall, Michael exited the same window he had entered. Michaels craving was not quenched. Outside, Michael climbed a drainpipe to the roof. He removed his sandals and socks for reasons he never revealed. He crossed a narrow ledge and found another unlocked window. In he went.
Michael spent time looking at various pictures on the walls in the hallway, which led him to a doorway. He entered the room and spent a few minutes looking around. Michael broke a glass ash tray with the intent of slashing his wrists. He picked up a shard of the glass and, rather than continuing with his plan, he saw a door in the room and decided to explore what was on the other side.
At about 7:15 a.m., Michael entered the room. Unable to see well in the dimly lit room, Michael opened the curtains to get a better look. As the morning sunlight shone into the room, he found himself staring into the eyes of the lady of the house. Neither Michael nor the lady showed their surprise. They began to talk as if they were old friends although they had never met.
At 7:18 a.m., the lady calmly picked up the telephone and alerted the police. Michael did not react. He could have attacked the lady or he could have run from the room. He waited until the lady hung up the phone and continued his conversation with her. At 7:24 a.m., the lady, astounded that officers had not yet arrived, called the police a second time. As with the first call, Michael made no reaction. During their discussion, Michael asked her for a cigarette. She explained that the cigarettes were in a nearby pantry. As they reached the pantry, help finally arrived. Police arrested Michael and transported him to jail. Rather than spending time in jail for his “visit,” Michael spent six months in a psychiatric hospital.
The house Michael had broken into in the early morning hours of July 9 was originally known as Bucking House, but is now known as Buckingham Palace. The lady with whom Michael had a conversation with was Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The London Observer, July 11, 1982, p.1.
The London Guardian, July 13, 1982, p.1.
The London Guardian, July 22, 1982, p.2.