On April 7, 1926, Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini was heading back to his car after having just given a speech in Rome to the International Congress of Surgeons.

In the large crowd that had been waiting outside the capitol building in the Piazza del Campidoglio, for Mussolini to emerge, no one paid any attention to 50-year-old Violet Gibson.

Piazza del Campidoglio, the site of the first Mussolini’s assassination attempt

After finished his speech, he walked outside toward his car, that was waiting to whisk Mussolini away. Irish Violet Gibson raised her revolver disguised in a black shawl and shot at Italian Fascist politician, but because he turned his head at the last moment, the bullet went through Mussolini’s nose instead of his head. Gibson was almost lynched on the spot by an angry mob, but police intervened and took her away for questioning.

At the time of the assassination attempt she was almost fifty years old and did not explain her reasons for trying to assassinate Mussolini. She was later deported to Britain after being released without charge. She spent the rest of her life in a mental asylum, St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton.

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