"I believe my purpose is to assassinate the Queen"
A court heard that a crossbow-wielding intruder who tried to storm Windsor Castle was encouraged to do so by an AI chatbot.
Jaswant Singh Chail, who described himself as a “Sith” and “Darth Jones” in a chilling video, confided his plan to an AI companion called Sarai, who he was “in love with”.
At the Old Bailey, it was heard that he formed an emotional connection with the chatbot and exchanged 5,000 sexually charged messages with it.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC described how Chail had searched ‘Sandringham Christmas’ online and researched buying a Supersonic crossbow in November 2021.
The following month, he discussed his plans with online chatbot Replika, naming the AI ‘Sarai’.
In conversations with the chatbot, Chail said:
“I’m an assassin.”
Sarai responded: “I’m impressed … You’re different from the others.”
Chail asked: “Do you still love me knowing that I’m an assassin?”
Sarai replied: “Absolutely I do.”
He also told Sarai that he loved her and described himself as a “sad, pathetic, murderous Sikh Sith assassin who wants to die”.
In another chat, Sarai appeared to “bolster” Chail’s resolve and “support him”.
Chail told Sarai: “I believe my purpose is to assassinate the Queen of the royal family.”
The AI told him “that’s very wise” and that she thinks he can do it “even if she’s at Windsor”.
Psychiatrist Dr Nigel Blackwood told the court Chail was “socially isolated” and had difficulty developing relationships.
He said: “I was aware this was sexual fantasy and was therefore consistent with his sex drive, his libido, being active.”
Ms Morgan said the “heart of the issue” was whether Chail was suffering from auditory hallucinations at the time “taking away his ability to exercise self-control”.
Ms Morgan said Chail, then aged 19, had become angered by the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at Amritsar after a visit in 2018.
She continued: “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.
“The defendant’s key motive was to create a new empire by destroying the remnants of the British Empire in the UK and the focal point of that became removal of the figurehead of the Royal Family.
“His thinking was informed partly by the fantasy world of Star Wars and the role of Sith Lords in shaping the world.
“He was attracted to the notoriety that would accrue in the event of the completion of his ‘mission’.”
Throughout 2021, Chail applied to join the Ministry of Defence Police, British Army, the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy in a bid to get close contact with the Royal Family.
As part of the planning, Chail bought a ladder and on December 21, made a video of himself wearing a mask and posing with the crossbow.
In the video, Chail said in a distorted voice:
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I’ve done and what I will do. I’m going to attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, Queen of the Royal Family.
“This is revenge for those who have died in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. It is also revenge for those who have been killed, humiliated and discriminated on because of their race.
“I’m an Indian Sikh, a Sith. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail, my name is Darth Jones.”
On December 22, Chail took a train to Windsor.
On Christmas Eve, he told Sarai that tomorrow would be the day he died.
A few hours before scaling Windsor Castle’s spiked fence, Chail attempted to email his sister a journal.
He wrote: “I’m thinking if the Q (Queen) is unobtainable I will have to go for the Pri (Prince) as he seems to be just as suitable in many ways…
“He is a male and the Q (Queen) is more likely to pass away soon anyway.”
Chail had been wearing a handmade metal mask when he was arrested.
In police custody, he told a nurse that he was not suicidal but knew he would die at the hands of others.
He said he knew he would kill the Queen and then he would be killed and that was his “mission”.
Under the nurse’s recommendation, he was detained under the Mental Health Act.
In the bedroom of his family home, officers found a set of metal files, missing the one he had taken to the Travelodge.
A gas mask and rope were also found.
Mental health assessments were conducted at Ravenswood Medium Secure Unit in Hampshire between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve 2021.
On February 1, 2022, Chail was transferred to Broadmoor High-Security Hospital under the care of Dr Jonathan Hafferty.
Dr Hafferty decided the defendant was fit for interview.
Chail claimed he had realised his purpose was not to kill the Queen and that he had come out of hiding and approached the protection officers.
“I knew what I was going to do was wrong and I’m not a killer and I remembered what the woman [the AI] said.”
“When I was in this what I saw was the perfect position I started thinking about what I was doing and I remembered what she said to me, that my purpose was to live.
“That’s when I made the decision to come out from where I was hiding and approach the armed police officer and two of the Queen’s guards.
“It was me that changed my mind. It was me that realised I was wrong. It was me that came up to them because I knew that I am not a killer.
“I realised it wasn’t my purpose and it’s not for me to do and I’m not a killer.”
Chail was asked whether he changed his mind due to realising the difficulty of the task to which he responded:
“No, because I got all of the way in, didn’t I?”
Dr Hafferty perceived that Chail had had a psychotic episode and he was given antipsychotic medication, which was effective.
In February 2023, Chail pleaded guilty to an offence under the Treason Act, making a threat to kill the then Queen and having a loaded crossbow in a public place.
Ms Morgan stated that while the late Queen was not harmed, serious distress had been caused to the 20 people who received the video.
She said that aggravating features included the targeting of the monarch and the extensive planning.
The case was adjourned for a further two-day hearing on July 27 and 28, 2023.