A former supermarket worker who was found in the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow, told police he was “here to kill the queen”, it can be reported, after he pleaded guilty to treason charges.
Queen Elizabeth II was in residence when Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, from Southampton broke into the grounds of the castle, wearing a mask, and came within sight of her private apartments on Christmas Day 2021.
The officer who stopped him said he looked like “something out of a vigilante movie”.
Less than half an hour earlier, Chail had uploaded a video to TikTok saying he was taking revenge for the colonial era Amritsar massacre of 1919 in India.
On Friday Chail he pleaded guilty to charges under section two of the Treason Act 1842, along with possession of an offensive weapon and making threats to kill.
Chail appeared by video link from a room at Broadmoor secure mental hospital. He spoke only to enter his pleas.
A previous hearing was told that shortly after 8.10am on Christmas Day, an officer of the royal protection command was on duty in uniform at the gate that serves as the main vehicle and foot access into the private part of the castle.
The queen was in her private apartments at the time and the gate “allowed immediate access to the apartments. It is never open to the public,” said Kathryn Selby, prosecuting.
The officer saw Chail walking slowly through the private grounds towards him and began to approach him.
As he did so, the officer realised that Chail had his hood over his head and was wearing a mask, which the officer described as “like something out of a vigilante movie or dressed for Halloween”.
The officer was so concerned, he unclipped his stun gun before saying: “Morning, can I help, mate?” Chail told him: “I am here to kill the queen”.
The officer then realised that the man was holding a crossbow. The officer drew his stun gun and shouted for him to drop the weapon and get to his knees.
Chail immediately complied and placed his hands on the top of his head when told to do so, before repeating: “I am here to kill the queen.”
The officer was joined by another protection officer who handcuffed him and he was arrested at 8.10am for possession of an offensive weapon and trespass on a protected site.
The crossbow was found to be loaded with a crossbow bolt with the safety catch off and ready to fire.
Two soldiers from the Grenadier Guards who were on sentry duty heard Chail say: “I thought I was here to kill the Queen” and one described the crossbow as “made ready”.
During a search, a mobile phone was seized from Chail, together with a handwritten note that read: “Please don’t remove my clothes, shoes and gloves, masks etc, don’t wont postmortem, don’t want embalming, thank you and I’m sorry.”
The point where Chail was stopped was said to be close to the entrance of the queen’s private residence with a line of sight to the apartments.
Chail, who was 19 at the time of the attempted attack, was born in Winchester and is a British citizen. He was unemployed but had previously been working in a local Co-op supermarket and was living with his parents and twin sister in Hampshire.
He has no previous convictions, cautions or reprimands and there were no traces of him on the police national computer.
Chail was assessed in custody and detained under the Mental Health Act before being sectioned and transferred to Broadmoor secure mental health unit.
He was eventually found fit for interview on 14 February last year and charged on 2 August.
Chail pleaded guilty to attempting to injure or alarm the sovereign contrary to section two of the Treason Act 1842. He was also accused of having an offensive weapon, namely a loaded crossbow under the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. The third charge accused him of making a threat to kill by making the TikTok video, under the Offences against the Person Act 1861.
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 Germany during the second world war.