UPDATED WITH SENTENCE: Windsor Castle intruder pleads guilty to threatening to kill Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
A man who trespassed within the grounds of Windsor Castle armed with a loaded crossbow - after making threats to kill Queen Elizabeth II - has pleaded guilty to all three charges against him.
Jaswant Chail, 21, was arrested in the grounds of the royal residence on Christmas Day 2021. He told an armed officer he was there to kill the late Queen and this was heard by two soldiers from the Grenadier Guards. He had recorded a video four days earlier in which he makes the same claim.
At the Old Bailey today (February 3), Chail pleaded guilty to making threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon, and an offence under the 1842 Treason Act. The court ordered medical reports be prepared before sentence.
On 5 October, Chail was sentenced today to nine years' custody with a further five years on extended licence.
He was made subject to a restriction under S45A Mental Health Act 1983 and will remain at Broadmoor Hospital until well enough to be transferred to prison.
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.”
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family were at Windsor Castle when Chail - wearing a hood, mask and gloves - was intercepted by an armed officer at around 8am.
He said he was there to kill the Queen. It was later discovered as part of the police investigation that he had made the same claim in a video recorded four days earlier which he sent to his contacts list about 10 minutes before his arrest.
The officer ordered him to drop the crossbow, which he did. He was then arrested.
After being seized it was discovered the crossbow was loaded and ready to fire, with its safety catch in the ‘off’ position. Based on subsequent tests, the bow was found to be comparable to a powerful air rifle with the potential to cause serious or fatal injury.
Crossbow bolts, a metal file and other items were later found in a hotel room where Chail had stayed the previous night.
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 creation of this offence can be traced back to an incident on 29 May 1842, when Queen Victoria was riding in a carriage along The Mall and a man called John Francis aimed a pistol at her but did not fire it.
He did it again the next day and was arrested and convicted of high treason, receiving firstly the death penalty, which was then amended to a life sentence.
Two days later, a similar attack took place by someone called John Bean, who fired a pistol at the Queen, but it was loaded only with paper and tobacco. At that time, although no physical harm was caused, the offence was still punishable by death.
Prince Albert encouraged Parliament to pass a law recognising lesser crimes against the monarch, such as intent to alarm, which would not attract the death penalty merely because they were labelled as ‘high treason’.
Under this section of the Treason Act, in 1981, Marcus Sarjaent was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to firing blank shots at the Queen when she was on parade.
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 World War II.
Notes to editors
Jaswant Singh Chail [DOB:17/01/02] pleaded guilty to:
- Threats to kill contrary to s16 Offences Against the Person Act 1861
- Possession of an offensive weapon contrary to section 1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953
- Being near to the person of the Queen, wilfully producing a loaded crossbow with intent to use the same to injure the person of her Majesty contrary to s2 Treason Act 1842.
The CPS Counter Terrorism Division prosecutes all terrorism cases. It deals with other complex casework areas including allegations of incitement to racial and religious hatred, war crimes and crimes against humanity, official secrets cases, piracy and hijacking.