A man has pleaded guilty to an offence under the Treason Act after entering the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day with a loaded crossbow.
It is believed to be the first prosecution under the Treason Act since 1981, when a teenager, Marcus Sarjeant, fired blank shots at the monarch during a Trooping the Colour ceremony in central London.
Jaswant Singh Chail, 20, appeared at the Old Bailey on a videolink from Broadmoor high security hospital and pleaded guilty to three offences.
One of those offences, under the Treason Act, involved “attempting to injure or alarm the sovereign.”
Singh also admitted possession of an offensive weapon, namely a loaded crossbow, without “reasonable excuse” and making threats to kill the Queen.
The court heard that he had been held at Broadmoor since February 2022 but doctors there agreed he was now fit to plead.
Reporting restrictions were lifted by the judge, Mr. Justice Jeremy Baker, who adjourned the case for sentencing on April 21.
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.”
The case will highlight the law on crossbows.
5 People in 5 Years Killed With Crossbows
The Epoch Times has learned five people have been killed in England and Wales in the last five years with crossbows, which are currently legal to purchase and own.
One of those was Sana Mohammed, who was eight months pregnant when her ex-husband, Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, fired a crossbow bolt into her back as she ran up the stairs at her home in Ilford, east London, in November 2018.
Mohammed died but the bolt narrowly missed her unborn son, who was safely delivered by emergency caesarean section.
Unmathallegadoo was later jailed for life and told he would not be released for at least 33 years.
After Sana’s death her local MP, Labour’s Wes Streeting, raised the matter in Parliament and the then-Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We will consider the risks that such weapons pose to public safety and whether further measures are needed.”
May said in Parliament “crossbows are subject to strict controls” but Unmathallegadoo’s trial heard he had bought his crossbows online, which was and remains completely legal, as long as the purchaser is over the age of 18.
In fact Unmathallegadoo purchased a second set of crossbows after the police found his first cache of weapons in a hide about half a mile from the murder scene.
After the incident at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day 2021 the then-Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered a review of the law and the Home Office told The Epoch Times they were “considering options to strengthen controls on crossbows.”
Patel was sacked as home secretary last year and replaced by Suella Braverman.
The law on crossbows has not changed for more than 30 years.
Last Legislation on Crossbows Was Passed in 1987
The Wildlife and Countryside Act—passed in 1981—makes it illegal to hunt animals with the weapon, while the 1987 Crossbows Act specifically prohibits them from being sold to anyone under the age of 18.
But it is entirely legal for any adult—even one with a long criminal record for violence—to buy a crossbow.
Dozens of websites offer them for sale for as little as £70.
However, they are considered offensive weapons and it is illegal to carry one in a public place “without lawful authority,” but in all five murders involving crossbows in recent years the weapon was hidden until the moment it was used.
In February 2020 Saghawat Ramzan brought a crossbow with him to rob a cannabis factory in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands.
He used the weapon to kill Khuzaimah Douglas and then fired another bolt by accident, killing his own brother, Waseem, by mistake.
Saghawat, his son Omar Ramzan, and Mohammed Sageer were all jailed for life last year.
Gerald Corrigan, 74, was killed in April 2019 as he adjusted a satellite dish outside his home in Anglesey, north Wales. His killer, Terence Whall, 39, has never explained his motive.
In May 2019 David Ball, 50, murdered Lee Atkins with a crossbow after a row in the street in Liverpool.
Shane Gilmer was murdered by his neighbour, Anthony Lawrence, in Driffield, East Yorkshire, in January 2018.
His partner, Laura Sugden, campaigned for a change in the law over crossbows and when Patel ordered the review after the Windsor Castle incident, Sugden said it was “disheartening” to think that Shane “didn’t matter.”
After Marcus Sarjeant was detained in Horseguards’ Parade on June 13, 1981, he told police: “I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a somebody.”
He pleaded guilty to trying to injure or alarm the sovereign and was jailed for five years.
Sarjeant was released from prison in 1984, changed his name, and vanished into obscurity.