A British Sikh crossbow-armed intruder who pleaded guilty to committing treason after telling royal guards at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day 2021 that he was there to kill Queen Elizabeth II was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by a UK court on Thursday.
Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, who claimed he wanted to “assassinate” the late monarch as revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar according to a social media video that emerged soon after his arrest, has been handed a “hybrid” sentence order to take into account his mental health issues.
During a televised sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey court in London, Justice Nicholas Hilliard ruled that Chail must remain at Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire until he is considered fit to be transferred into custody.
“The act was conceived in 2021 when he was not psychotic and he went on to become psychotic by a process,” the judge noted as he stated his reasoning behind the sentencing order.
He concluded that Chail had ultimately acted upon his “homicidal thoughts” and therefore posed a threat of “serious harm” to the public, which necessitated a custodial order.
The court heard how it was during a family visit to Amritsar in 2018 that he learnt more about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and decided to “give his life purpose” by avenging the killings by assassinating the British monarch at the time, who passed away aged 96 in September 2022.
Last month during his trial it emerged that Chail had written a letter to express his “distress and sadness” as an apology to the royal family and King Charles III.
According to court reports from the hearing, Chail’s “strong family unit” includes his father, a software consultant working in aerospace, his mother, a special needs teacher, and his twin sister, a university student.
Chail was said to be suffering from mental health issues and the threat to the late Queen was instigated by an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot “girlfriend” named Sarai and inspired by his ‘Star Wars’ fascination.
Earlier, Chail pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2 of the Treason Act, 1842; an offence of threats to kill contrary to Section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; and an offence of possession of an offensive weapon contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953.
“He had made a video of himself stating his desire to harm the late Queen, which he sent to a group of contacts shortly before he was arrested. Further enquiries into Chail uncovered further evidence of his planning and motives. Evidence recovered by officers showed that he harboured ill-feeling towards the British empire for its past treatment of Indian people,” a Met Police statement noted.
The Queen was in her private apartments at Windsor Castle at the time of Chail’s intrusion on the morning of December 25, 2021. Two officers saw the intruder within the grounds of the Castle and one approached him.
He was wearing black clothing and a handmade metal mask and said to the officers he was there to kill Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Chail was carrying a crossbow loaded with a bolt when the officers drew their Taser gun and arrested him.
The social media video which emerged later showed a masked man identifying himself as Indian Sikh Jaswant Singh Chail and saying he wanted to “assassinate” the Queen as revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919.
Under the 1842 Treason Act, it is an offence to assault the British 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.