A man broke into the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day 2021, with the shocking intention of killing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Jaswant Singh Chail, from North Baddesley, near Southampton, was armed with a loaded crossbow when he was arrested and immediately admitted he intended to harm the late monarch, who was staying at castle over the festive period, rather than at her Sandringham estate, due to the Covid pandemic.
He brazenly said at the time, when confronted by a protection officer: “I am here to kill the Queen”. He has now pleaded guilty to a charge under the Treason Act during a hearing at the Old Bailey. It is also alleged Chail had previously tried to get close to the royals by applying to join the Ministry of Defence Police and the Grenadier Guards. He is currently in Broadmoor High Security Hospital, which was from where he appeared in court, via a remote video link.
Marcus Sarjaent was convicted under the Treason Act 1842 and sentenced to five years imprisonment back in 1981, after pleading guilty to firing blank shots at the Queen on the Mall, during the Trooping of the Colour. However, the last person to be convicted under the separate and more serious 1351 Treason Act was William Joyce, also known as Lord Haw-Haw, who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.
Similarities to vigilante movies referenced
Chail, who was an unemployed 21-year-old at the time, had climbed into the grounds using a nylon rope ladder, wearing a mask and hood, and carrying a loaded crossbow with the safety catch in the “off” position. The situation was described as “like something out of a vigilante movie” when he was apprehended by a Royalty and Specialist Protection Command officer in a private part of the grounds, which lead to the Queen’s private apartments, at around 8.10am on Christmas morning.
Astonishing conversation with intruder
An extraordinary conversation quickly took place in which the officer confirmed that he had approached Chail and said to him: “Morning, can I help, mate?” to which Chail seemingly replied: “I am here to kill the Queen.” Immediately the officer demanded the intruder drop his weapon, get on his knees and place his hands on his head. Chail was compliant, but reiterated that he was there to assassinate Her Majesty.
On being searched a hand-written note was uncovered which startlingly declared: “Please don’t remove my clothes, shoes and gloves, masks etc, I don’t want post-mortem, I don’t want embalming, thank you and I’m sorry.”
Message posted declaring assassination attempt
A video had been posted on the popular messaging app Snapchat just minutes before he entered the castle in which Chail announced that he was sorry for what he was going to do, proclaiming that he was going to attempt to assassinate the Queen and put forward his justification as revenge for everyone who died in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, before continuing to state that: “It is also revenge for those who have been killed, humiliated and discriminated on because of their race.”
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre occurred when British troops opened fire on thousands of people who had gathered in the city of Amritsar, in India, with hundreds losing their lives. Prosecutors said the footage was recorded four days prior to his attempt and sent to around 20 names in his phone’s contact list, just ten minutes before his arrest. He also bizarrely said: “I am an Indian Sikh, a Sith, my name is Darth Jones”, seemingly in a nod to the Star Wars films.
Attacker travelled to Windsor two days earlier
Chail is believed to have travelled from his home in Hampshire, where he was living with his parents, on December 23 and booked himself into a Windsor hotel, in readiness to commit his attempt on the Queen’s life.
The Supersonic X-Bow crossbow which he had in his possession was primed and ready to fire and was comparable to a powerful air rifle, with the potential to cause serious or fatal injury, it was announced following its examination. Prosecutors reported that bolts for a crossbow, a metal file and other items were later found in the hotel room.
Police chief praises castle patrols
Commander Richard Smith, in charge of the Met Police’s counter terrorism unit, praised the “great composure and professionalism” of the patrolling officers. “They showed tremendous bravery to confront a masked man who was armed with a loaded crossbow, and then detain him without anyone coming to any harm,” he said.
Scotland Yard brought in
The incident sparked a major review of royal security after it was revealed that Chail had a clear line of sight to the Queen’s apartment when he was apprehended. After initially being in the hands of the Thames Valley Police, the investigation was later handed to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command due to the seriousness of the case, although it was not being treated as a terrorism offence.
Still awaiting sentencing
He entered his guilty pleas to three separate charges when he appeared before senior judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker. He is due to be sentenced at the same court on 31 March.