Man who made Queen crossbow death threat applied for Grenadier Guards to get close to royals

Jaswant Singh Chail
Jaswant Singh Chail

A man who has admitted treason after being caught in the grounds of Windsor Castle carrying a crossbow had previously applied to join the Grenadier Guards in a bid to get close to the Royal family.

Jaswant Singh Chail, who was armed and wearing a mask and a hood, was apprehended by royal protection officers close to the Queen’s private apartment just after 8am on Christmas Day 2021.

When challenged by a police officer and asked what he was doing, the 21-year-old replied: “I am here to kill the Queen”.

In a video recorded four days before the incident, Chail - who is of Sikh origin - claimed his actions were in revenge for the 1919 Amritsar massacre in which the British killed almost 400 Indian men women and children.

Chail, an employed former supermarket worker, had previously tried to join the Grenadier Guards and had applied for a position with the Ministry of Defence.

In a journal found by police he stated that he had done this in an attempt to “come into close contact with members of the Royal family”.

The mask Chail was wearing when arrested
The mask Chail was wearing when arrested

On Friday during a hearing at the Old Bailey, Chail - who appeared via videolink from Broadmoor high security hospital - pleaded guilty to a charge of intending to injure or alarm the Queen under Section 2 of the 1842 Treason Act.

He also admitted making threats to kill the monarch and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

The incident sparked a major review of royal security after it was revealed that Chail had a clear line of sight to the Queen’s apartment when he was apprehended.

The Supersonic X-Bow weapon he was carrying, which prosecutors said had the potential to cause "serious or fatal injuries", was primed and ready to fire.

In 2021 the late Queen had been spending Christmas at Windsor rather than Sandringham, as was traditional, due to concerns over the spread of the new Covid variant.

Chail is believed to have travelled from his home in Hampshire on December 23 staying in a hotel in Windsor, where police later discovered crossbow bolts and a metal file.

On Christmas morning 2021, he scaled the walls of Windsor Castle using a nylon rope ladder, before spending some time wandering undetected in the grounds.

Shortly after 8am he was spotted in the private part of the castle grounds close to the apartment where the Queen was staying and enjoying breakfast.

The crossbow Chail was carrying was primed to fire
The crossbow Chail was carrying was primed to fire

One of the uniformed officers from the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command saw Chail walking slowly towards him wearing a face mask and a hood.

When asked what he was doing Chail replied: “I am here to kill the Queen”.

The officer withdrew his Taser and told Chail to get down on the ground, which he did, putting his hands behind his head.

He was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and when he was searched officers discovered a handwritten note which read: "Please don’t remove my clothes, shoes and gloves, masks etc, don’t want post mortem, don’t want embalming, thank you and I’m sorry".

When detectives searched his home they also discovered a pre-recorded video in which he said: “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 had been distributed to at least 20 other people in his contacts list around ten minutes before his arrest.

Mr Chail grew up in Hampshire and at the time of his arrest was living with his parents - who are directors of an IT firm - and his twin sister at a house on a private estate in the village of North Baddesley.

The investigation was initially carried out by Thames Valley Police but was later handed to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command because of the seriousness of the case.

Chail is the first person in more than 40 years to be convicted of an offence of treason.

The last person convicted under the Treason Act 1842 was Marcus Sarjaent, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 1981 after pleading guilty to firing blank shots at the Queen during the Trooping of the Colour.

He is due to be sentenced on March 31.

Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service 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."

Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "This was an extremely serious incident, but one which the patrolling officers who apprehended Chail managed with great composure and professionalism.

"They showed tremendous bravery to confront a masked man who was armed with a loaded crossbow, and then detain him without anyone coming to harm.

"Our Royalty and Specialist Protection Command works with the Royal Household and local police forces at various Royal Residences across the country to ensure those living, working or visiting are kept safe."