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UK man gets 9 years in foiled crossbow attack on queen

By AFP - Oct 05,2023 - Last updated at Oct 05,2023

LONDON — A man who admitted trying to kill the late Queen Elizabeth II after being found on the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow, was on Thursday handed a nine-year sentence.

Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, will serve the first part of his term in the high-security Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, moving to prison when his mental health permits.

The former supermarket worker had “lost touch with reality so that he had become psychotic”, said sentencing Judge Nicholas Hilliard at London’s Old Bailey court.

After breaking into the grounds of the queen’s residence on Christmas Day 2021, Chail admitted to an armed officer at the scene that he was there “to kill the queen”.

In a journal, he wrote that if he could not get the monarch, he would “go for” the “prince” as a “suitable figurehead”, in an apparent reference to her son, the current King Charles III.

Chail pleaded guilty to three charges at a previous hearing, becoming the first person to admit treason in the UK in decades.

In the last such case, Briton Marcus Sarjeant was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 1981 after pleading guilty to firing blank shots at the queen when she was participating in a horseback parade in central London.

Chail, who appeared at court on Thursday wearing black combat trousers and a black shirt, also admitted to making threats to kill and possessing an offensive weapon.

 

Chatbot relationship 

 

Judge Hilliard said on sentencing that Chail had also been “informed by the fantasy world of Star Wars” and mounted the planned attack dressed as a Sith Lord, wearing an iron mask and carrying a loaded crossbow.

Chail also believed that he was communicating with an angel via an AI chatbot and planned the attack as revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Indians by British colonial troops, the judge added.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan previously said that “in addition to that fixation with a real historic event, the defendant demonstrated a wider ideology focused on destroying old empires spilling over into fictional events such as Star Wars”.

After his arrest, it emerged that he had stated his intent in a video recorded four days earlier, which he sent to his phone contacts list about 10 minutes before he was apprehended.

Queen Elizabeth passed away peacefully nearly nine months later, on September 8, aged 96, after a year of failing health.

Chail’s incursion happened while the queen was spending Christmas Day at Windsor Castle with Charles and his wife Camilla.

The would-be assailant, dressed in black and wearing a hood, gloves and metal mask, had scaled the perimeter of the grounds with a nylon rope ladder.

He was in the grounds for around two hours before being detained without resistance.

The crossbow in his possession was loaded and ready to fire, with its safety catch in the “off” position, according to the prosecutors.

Chail had previously applied to join the Ministry of Defence Police and the Grenadier Guards, in a bid to get close to the royal family, the court previously heard.

In the video shared with his contacts on Snapchat prior to entering the castle grounds, Chail said he was “sorry for what I’ve done and what I will do”.

“I will attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, Queen of the Royal Family,” he stated, referencing the 1919 massacre in India.

The death toll from that massacre remains disputed but hundreds were killed when British troops opened fire on a packed crowd in Amritsar.

 

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