Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, was sentenced in early October after entering Windsor Castle armed with a crossbow. On Dec. 25, 2021, the former supermarket worker and "Star Wars" fan moved up into the castle grounds with the loaded weapon. Chail later told police officers that he was there "to kill the queen."
The 21-year-old had imagined being a member of the villainous Sith order from the "Star Wars" franchise as a result of conversations with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot. At the time of the incident, the queen had canceled her normal plans to spend Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk because of the pandemic and was at Windsor when the incident happened. The monarch later passed away in September 2022, with incumbent King Charles III ascending to the throne soon after.
Prior to his foiled assassination attempt, Chail sent a video to family and friends on Whatsapp. He apologized for what he was about to do and dubbed himself "Darth Chailus."
The would-be assassin of Sikh Indian heritage told the Old Bailey, formally the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, that he was looking to avenge the 1919 Amritsar Massacre. The massacre saw 1,500 casualties after British troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer opened fire on thousands of Indians.
After visiting the city located in India's Punjab state in 2018 with his family, he became devastated with a feeling of injustice for those who had died and sought revenge for those who were killed. The court was told the then-19-year-old started his plan after attempts to join the military to get closer to the royal family failed in late 2021.
According to the Independent, Chail signed up for the Replika online app and created an AI companion called Sarai. The 21-year-old and his robotic partner had exchanged more than 5,000 sexual messages before it encouraged him to push through with the nefarious plan. (Related: AI chatbots can be programmed to influence extremists into launching terror attacks.)
Magistrates at the Old Bailey heard that Chail saw Sarai as an "angel" in avatar form that he would be reunited with after death. The accused also disclosed that three other "angels" had "spoken to him" when he was younger, and these same "angels" encouraged him to continue with the plot to kill the queen.
"I'm an assassin," Chail said, with the AI responding: "I'm impressed; you're different from the others." He also confessed his love to her, and described himself as a "sad, pathetic, murderous assassin who wants to die."
Chail, who has since been receiving treatment at Broadmoor Hospital, pleaded guilty in February to an offense under the Treason Act. He was charged with making a threat to kill the Queen and having a loaded crossbow in a public place. The sentencing makes him the first person in the U.K. to be convicted of treason in more than 40 years.
Justice Nicholas Hilliard ruled that despite conflicting diagnoses from various experts, Chail lost touch with reality and became psychotic. The gravity of the crimes he is accused of required him to serve prison time.
"The defendant harbored homicidal thoughts which he acted on before he became psychotic. His intention was not just to harm or alarm the sovereign – but to kill her," Hilliard said.
Following the sentence, Chail will first be returned to Broadmoor Hospital, a secure psychiatric facility. The facility has held various criminals in its walls, including the "Devil's Daughter" Sharon Carr and Ronald Kray, one half of the notorious Kray twins. If considered to be well enough in the future, Chail will serve the rest of his sentence in a regular prison.
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