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Court artist sketch from August, 2022, by Elizabeth Cook of Jaswant Singh Chail appearing via video link at Westminster Magistrates' Court, where he was charged under the Treason Act. PA
Windor Castle

Man caught in Windsor Castle grounds with crossbow admits trying to harm late Queen Elizabeth

Jaswant Singh Chail pleaded guilty to three charges, including an offence under the Treason Act, during a hearing at the Old Bailey.

LAST UPDATE | 3 Feb 2023

A MAN CAUGHT in the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow has admitted a charge under the Treason Act of trying to harm the late Queen Elizabeth.

Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, was detained on Christmas Day 2021 close to the queen’s private residence, where she and other members of the royal family were at the time.

The former supermarket worker had scaled the perimeter of the grounds with a nylon rope ladder at around 6am.

Just over two hours later, two officers spotted him in the grounds of the castle and one of them approached.

Wearing black clothes, gloves and a metal mask, Chail told them: “I’m here to kill the Queen.”

Chail was carrying a crossbow loaded with a bolt and with the safety catch off.

2.70841886 The crossbow which Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, was carrying when arrested in the grounds of Windsor Castle. CPS / PA CPS / PA / PA

The officer drew a Taser and the intruder was ordered to drop his weapon before he was arrested and handcuffed.

Afterwards, detectives trawled through CCTV and established that Chail had travelled to Windsor on 23 December 2021.

Four days before his arrest, Chail recorded a chilling video in which he expressed his desire to assassinate the Queen.

In it, Chail wore a dark hoodie and mask and brandished his weapon, as he said in a distorted voice: “I’m sorry for what I have done and what I will do.”

He sent the video via Snapchat to about 20 people in his contacts list about 10 minutes before he was detained.

Tests on the Supersonic X-Bow found it to be comparable to a powerful air rifle, with the potential to cause serious or fatal injury.

Bolts, a metal file and other items were later found in a hotel room where Chail had stayed the night before.

Police also found Chail had been motivated by ill-feeling towards the British Empire and sought revenge against the establishment for the treatment of Indians.

Chail, who was charged on 2 August last year, had previously applied to join the Ministry of Defence Police and the Grenadier Guards, in a bid to get close to the royal family.

At the time of his arrest, Chail, from Southampton, Hampshire, was unemployed but had previously worked at a branch of the Co-op supermarket.

Earlier today, the defendant appeared at the Old Bailey by video-link from Broadmoor high security hospital.

He confirmed his identity then pleaded guilty to three charges, including an offence under the Treason Act.

The most serious charge under Section Two of the Treason Act said that “on December 25 2021 at Windsor Castle, near to the person of the Queen, you did wilfully produce or have a loaded crossbow with intent to use the same to injure the person of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, or to alarm Her Majesty”.

queen-summer-residence-at-balmoral-2018 File image of the late Queen Elizabeth. Andrew Milligan Andrew Milligan

He also admitted making a threat to kill the Queen and having a loaded crossbow in a public place.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker adjourned sentencing until 31 March before Mr Justice Hilliard at the Old Bailey.

Earlier, prosecutor Alison Morgan KC told the court that a psychiatric report found Chail was fit to stand trial.

She suggested a hospital order may not be an appropriate sentence, as Chail’s mental health had improved with treatment.

Mr Justice Baker ordered a report on Chail’s “diagnosis, prognosis and if necessary disposal” by the end of February, with a further report by a psychiatrist dealing with how dangerous Chail is.

Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “This was an extremely serious incident, but one which the patrolling officers who apprehended Chail managed with great composure and professionalism.

“They showed tremendous bravery to confront a masked man who was armed with a loaded crossbow, and then detain him without anyone coming to harm.

“Our Royalty and Specialist Protection Command works with the Royal Household and local police forces at various royal residences across the country to ensure those living, working or visiting are kept safe.”

The allegations against Chail were not being treated as a terrorism offence but had been dealt with by the Counter Terrorism Division.

Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Chail entered the protected areas within Windsor Castle after making threats to kill Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Thankfully police officers intervened and nobody was hurt.

“This was a serious incident, but fortunately a rare one. We are grateful to all those who were involved in the investigation.”

Under the 1842 Treason Act it is an offence to assault the sovereign or have a firearm or offensive weapon in their presence with intent to injure or alarm them or to cause a breach of peace.

The last person to be convicted under the separate and more serious 1351 Treason Act – commonly known as high treason – was William Joyce, aka Lord Haw-Haw, who collaborated with Germany during the Second World War.

Press Association