• Reuters

Crossbow Man Detained for Nine Years over Treason Threat to Kill Queen Elizabeth

Crown Prosecution Service/Handout via REUTERS
An image of the crossbow Jaswant Singh Chail had in his possession on arrest is seen in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on October 5, 2023.

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – A man who was arrested with a loaded crossbow at Windsor Castle saying he wanted to kill Queen Elizabeth was detained for nine years on Thursday after admitting an offense under the Treason Act and making threats against the late monarch.

Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, said “I am here to kill the queen” when he was arrested dressed in black clothing and wearing a hood, metal mask and gloves in the grounds of the castle to the west of London at about 8 a.m. on Christmas Day, 2021.

Elizabeth, who died aged 96 in September last year, was at the castle on the day of the incident, along with her son Charles, now the king, and other close family members.

Chail appeared at London’s Old Bailey on Thursday, where judge Nicholas Hilliard said he should be detained in Broadmoor top security psychiatric hospital before being sent to prison “when he has received the treatment he needs.”

The judge said Chail had “lost touch with reality such that he had become psychotic” by the time he entered Windsor Castle but his responsibility for his offenses was significant.

“He had conceived of killing the queen early in 2021 when he was not psychotic. He took steps to try and get closer to his target and learn useful skills when, again, he was not psychotic,” the judge said.

Chail had pleaded guilty in February to the three charges of making threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon, and an offense under the 1842 Treason Act, making him the first person to be convicted of treason in 40 years.

‘DARTH CHAILUS’

The court heard Chail was a Star Wars obsessive who fantasized about being a ‘Sith’ lord character from the film series with the name “Darth Chailus.”

He also exchanged thousands of messages with an artificial intelligence chatbot called Sarai, many of them sexually explicit, asking her to help him decide whether he should carry out the attack.

Chail, who spent months planning, was confronted by a protection officer in the grounds of the castle in an area where the intruder would have access to the private quarters, Hilliard told the court.

The recovered crossbow was a “Supersonic X-bow,” the discharged bolt from which has the potential to cause serious or fatal injuries.

“I am sorry for what I have done and what I will do. I am going to attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, queen of the royal family,” Chail, from Southampton in southern England, said in a video recorded before the incident, in which he was seen holding a crossbow and wearing a face covering.

“This is revenge for those who died in the 1919 massacre,” Chail said, referring to an incident when British colonial troops shot dead nearly 400 Sikhs in their holy city of Amritsar in northwestern India.

Indians have long demanded a formal apology from Britain for what is also known as the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, when British forces opened fire on unarmed civilians who had gathered to protest against a colonial law.