A Briton admitted treason today after he caught in the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow on Christmas Day and told police and soldiers: ‘I am here to kill the Queen’.
Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to intending to injure or alarm Her Majesty after he was arrested outside her Berkshire home on December 25, 2021.
Chail told an armed officer he was there to kill the late Queen and this was heard by two soldiers from the Grenadier Guards before he was calmly arrested.
He had recorded a video four days earlier in which he made the same threat, demanding revenge for the 1919 Amritsar massacre where 379 protesters were killed and 1,200 wounded by British forces in India in the Sikh holy city in Punjab.
Close to where he stood with the crossbow, the Queen had been celebrating Christmas in the private apartments at her main Royal residence before her tribute to late husband Philip was broadcast to the nation at 3pm.
Today appearing at the Central Criminal Court via videolink from Broadmoor maximum security psychiatric hospital, the 21-year-old waved to the court and then admitted three offences. The last person to be convicted under the more serious medieval 1351 Treason Act was William Joyce, the Nazi propagandist and traitor nicknamed Lord Haw Haw who broadcast to Britain during World War Two and was hanged in 1946.
Jaswant Singh Chail, 20, has admitted intending to injure or alarm the Queen under the Treason Act after he was arrested in the grounds of the castle on Christmas Day 2021
Shocking video showing the crossbow-wielding man threatening to ‘assassinate the Queen in revenge for 1919 Amritsar massacre’
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’.
He was also charged with making a threat to kill the Queen and having a loaded crossbow, an offensive weapon, in a public place. He will be sentenced at the end of March following psychiatric reports.
Wearing a fur lined black bomber jacket over a black T-shirt he appeared via video-link and spoke to confirm his full name and date of birth.
Sitting with his arms crossed on the desk in front of him, bearded Chail waved at the court when he first appeared on the link.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker ordered the production of psychiatric reports to consider whether Chail should be sent to prison or to a hospital. He is being held at Broadmoor maximum security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire and will return for sentence on March 31.
Earlier prosecutor Kathryn Selby said a protection officer was on duty at the gate serving the main access to the private apartments to the castle when he was confronted by Chail.
The private apartments are where the royal family live and are ‘never’ open to the public, the court heard.
‘The officer saw the defendant walking slowly through the private grounds towards him.
‘He noticed that the defendant had a hood over his head and was wearing a mask.’
The officer has described him as ‘something out of a vigilante movie or dressed for Halloween’.
‘The officer was so concerned he unclipped his taser before saying ‘Morning.’
Chail replied: ‘I am here to kill the Queen.’
Ms Selby went on: ‘The officer then realised the defendant was holding a crossbow.
‘The officer drew his taser and shouted at the defendant to drop the bow and drop to his knees.’
Chail complied with the officer’s request.
‘He still said: ‘I’m here to kill the Queen.’
‘Other officers then joined and the defendant was arrested.
‘A mobile phone was seized and a note.’
What was the 1919 Amritsar massacre, also known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre?
The Amritsar massacre, otherwise known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, took place on April 13, 1919, during a protest against the arrest of two pro-Indian independence leaders.
It took place in a historic garden, called Jallianwala Bagh, close to the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the protesters in response, leaving them with only one exit to get out of the Bagh.
He then ordered his troops to shoot demonstrators, including those who were fleeing the massacre.
On his orders, his soldiers only stopped firing when they had exhausted their ammunition.
Estimates of the death toll range between 379 and more than 1500.
A further 1200 people were injured, among them 192 who sustained serious injuries.
The massacre led to a re-evaluation of the British Army’s use of force and soldiers were subsequently trained in less violent methods of crowd control.
But it also led to a complete loss of trust in the British Army by Indian civilians and, some historians have argued, paved the way for Indian independence from British rule.
Chail was told to drop the weapon and get on his knees before other officers arrived to arrest him.
The handwritten note said: ‘Please don’t remove my clothes, shoes. Don’t want post-mortem. Don’t want embalming. Thank you, I’m sorry,’ the court heard.
The crossbow was analysed and described as being a ‘supersonic expo’.
‘Based on test firing…comparable to a powerful air rifle and a discharged colt had the potential to cause serious or fatal injury,’ Ms Selby said.
Further searches at Chail’s home address found a mask, rope, and electronic devices.
On his phone, police are said to have found a previous application for a position with the Ministry of Defence.
Chail’s journal made clear that ‘all of these actions were done in an attempt to make close contact with the Royal Family’.
The prosecutor went on: ‘The reason for the defendant’s actions are because he wants to seek revenge for the actions of the establishment and the treatment of Indians.
‘The defendant made a video of himself at his home address. Wearing black clothing and full face covering holding a crossbow.
‘In the video his voice is distorted. He says: ‘I am sorry, I am sorry for what I have done and what I will do. I’m going to attempt to assassinate Elizabeth Queen of the Royal Family.
‘Revenge for those who died in the 1919 massacre.
‘I am an Indian Sikh. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail. My name is Darth Jones.’
This video was distributed to at least 20 other people and led to his family notifying the authorities when they received that video, the court heard.
Chail was said to be suffering from a ‘psychotic episode’ at the time of the offences and has been held at Broadmoor maximum security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire.
The first charge stated Chail made ‘without lawful excuse made to Kashmir Chail and other persons a threat to kill another person, namely Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, intending that the said Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second would fear that the said threat would be carried out.’
According to the second charge Chail had in his possession an offensive weapon, namely a loaded crossbow, at Windsor Castle.
The third count, contrary to section 2 of the Treason Act 1842, states Chail set out to ‘discharge, point, aim or present firearm at the Sovereign with intent to injure or alarm or to break public peace’.
The charge states ‘on Christmas Day 2021 at Windsor Castle he ‘wilfully presented at or near to the person of the Queen, arms, namely a crossbow, with intent to injure the person of the Queen, or to break the public peace, or whereby the public peace may be endangered, or with intent to alarm her Majesty.’