Counter terrorism chief hails brave Windsor Castle officers

An attempt to kill the late Queen by a “dangerous and vengeful” man armed with a loaded crossbow could have had a “very different” outcome if not for the bravery of officers who stopped him, a senior counter-terrorism officer has said.

Jaswant Singh Chail was arrested on Christmas Day 2021 close to the late Queen’s private residence in Windsor Castle.

Metropolitan Police counter terrorism commander Dominic Murphy told the PA news agency that the 21-year-old was a “dangerous individual” who was “intent” on killing the Queen and “fixated” by his desire to seek revenge for British injustices in India.

Jaswant Singh Chail court case
Court artist sketch of Jaswant Singh Chail (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Mr Murphy said: “If it hadn’t been for the officers on the day, this could have been a very different outcome, but the officers are there for that reason – to protect the royal family and others that warrant that protection.”

The late Queen and other members of the royal household had been present at the time Chail roamed the grounds with a deadly weapon with the safety catch off and ready to fire.

Mr Murphy denied that the incident exposed flaws in security at the royal residence, but said the Met would conduct a “learning exercise” to understand how they could do better in the future.

Jaswant Singh Chail court case
The crossbow which Jaswant Singh Chail was carrying when arrested (CPS/PA)

The officer added: “What we need to remember here is that these officers were on duty on Christmas Day to protect the royal family. That’s exactly what they did.

“They were very brave, very professional in how they undertook their activity, and stopped an armed man from getting anywhere near the building within the grounds.”

Chail had previously applied to join the armed forces in a failed bid to get close to the royal family.

When asked whether the screening process was vigorous enough to stop other bad faith actors from successfully applying for similar roles, Mr Murphy said: “Well, I can say he wasn’t successful and he applied to several other places as well, so yes I would say the vetting process has worked in this case to prevent him from joining.

“There are bad faith actors all over the country trying to do bad things every day. And that is why the police are here to try and keep people safe.”

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