Priti Patel orders review of crossbow laws after Windsor Castle scare

Priti Patel orders review of crossbow laws after armed intruder, 19, who ‘wanted to assassinate the Queen’ broke in to Windsor Castle

  • Teen suspect detained under Mental Health Act after arrest at Windsor Castle
  • Met probing film of crossbow-wielding figure threatening to ‘assassinate Queen’
  • Review on crossbow law was ordered in April but will incorporate Windsor scare

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the current rules surrounding crossbow ownership after an armed intruder who allegedly threatened to assassinate the Queen broke into the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Currently anyone over the age of 18 can purchase a crossbow without any regulatory checks or needing any kind of license. 

Crossbows can be purchased from online retailers including Amazon for as little as £60 while more powerful weapons can be found at specialised retailers at higher prices. 

A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement the department has been instructed to look at possible ways to ‘strengthen controls’ on the weapons.

‘Crossbows are subject to controls and legislation is in place to deal with those who use them as a weapon,’ the spokesperson said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of the current rules surrounding crossbow ownership after an armed intruder who allegedly threatened to assassinate the Queen in a pre-recorded video (pictured), broke into the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day

While a review has been ongoing since April, Priti Patel (pictured) asked that lessons from the Windsor Castle scare are taken into consideration as part of the work being undertaken

‘At the Home Secretary’s request, we are considering options to strengthen controls on crossbows. Work on this has been ongoing throughout the year, and we keep all relevant laws under review to maintain public safety.’

It comes after a 19-year-old man was arrested at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day while allegedly in possession of a crossbow.

Metropolitan Police said the man had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

What does the law say about crossbows in UK

In the United Kingdom, no licence or registration is required to own or use crossbows, because they are not legally classed as firearms. 

Similar to bats and knives, crossbows can be classed as an ‘offensive weapon’ if carried in public which could lead to prosecution. 

People can be prosecuted for using crossbows for illegal hunting, or for attacking people, under separate laws. 

For the purposes of UK law, crossbows are defined as a form of bow in which the bow-stave (prod) is fixed crosswise to a stock and can be drawn by hand or lever, before being released by a trigger.

Under the Crossbows Act 1987, crossbows cannot be bought or sold in England, Wales or Scotland by or to those under 18.

Possession is also prohibited by those under 18 years old except under adult supervision.

The act states that crossbows may be used by persons under 18 years of age only when supervised by a person aged 21 years old or over. 

Around 24 minutes earlier, the suspected, named as Jaswant Singh Chail, is believed to have sent to friends a video on Snapchat which showed a masked figure in a dark hoodie holding a crossbow and addressing the camera.

In the video, the figure says he wants to ‘assassinate the Queen’ in a ‘revenge’ mission. 

The security breach led to experts demanding the police ‘step up’ tp the challenge of protecting the royals as they spend more time at the sprawling Windsor Castle estate.

And Chail’s father, Jasbir Singh Chail, 57, a software engineer who runs an IT company from the family’s £500,000 four-bed home on a private estate in the village of North Baddesley, Hampshire, yesterday told MailOnline something had gone ‘horribly wrong’ with his son.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Whitehall sources said officials had been instructed to ‘incorporate any lessons’ from the Windsor Castle arrest into a review of crossbow laws which was ordered earlier this year.

‘We are trying to figure out what,’ he said.

‘We’ve not had a chance to speak to him but are trying to get him the help he needs.

‘We are going through a difficult time. We are trying to resolve this issue and it’s not easy.’

In the video footage, the masked and hooded 19-year-old aims a black crossbow at the camera as he pledges to kill the monarch in revenge for the 1919 Amritsar, or Jallianwala Bagh, massacre, when British troops killed hundreds of Indian protesters.

In an artificially deep voice that he has digitally distorted, Chail says: ‘If you have received this then my death is near.’

He adds: ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I’ve done and what I will do. I will 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.’

Police confirmed a crossbow was found after the intruder was detained in the castle grounds while the Queen (pictured delivering the annual Christmas Day speech) was in residence 

Under current legislation, it is an offence for anyone under 18 to purchase or possess a crossbow and for anyone to sell a crossbow to someone aged under 18.

Crossbows may also be considered offensive weapons and are prohibited from being carried in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

Demands for tighter regulation of crossbows initially came after the five-day inquest into the death of Shane Gilmer in April.

Mr Gilmer, 30, died after his neighbour, Anthony Lawrence, broke into his house armed with a crossbow in January 2018 and shot both him and his partner Laura Sugden, who survived the attack.

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Sugden said: ‘This lethal weapon has been forgotten about in the government’s strategy on tackling gun and knife crime.’ 

The coroner, Professor Paul Marks, submitted a report to Ms Patel in May in which he said he was concerned there is ‘no on-going control, record or licensing requirement for (crossbows)’, unlike firearms.

Because of this, he said, ‘the police have no record of who owns crossbows, how they are stored (or) the number that are in circulation.’

Jaswant Singh Chail (pictured) uploaded a pre-recorded video to Snapchat at 8:06am on Christmas Day, 24 minutes before a man was arrested by police in grounds of Windsor Castle

The coroner called on the Government to review the Crossbows Act 1987 and the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, ‘with the intention of regulating the sale and possession of these lethal weapons’.

School friends described Chail, the suspected Windsor intruder, as an oddball who tried to make others laugh with inappropriate jokes in the classroom.

One told the Daily Mail last night: ‘He was always a bit odd and quiet most of the time.’

Chail – known to his friends as Jas – is believed to have sent the video to friends on Snapchat at 8.06am on Christmas Day.

He then allegedly scaled the fence by the Cambridge Gate at 8.29am using a makeshift rope ladder and was detained by security by 8.30am, having triggered perimeter alarms and been spotted on CCTV.

A security source said after accessing the royal estate, the armed invader ‘didn’t know what to do with himself’ and was quickly arrested.

His father, Jasbir Singh Chail, 57, who runs an IT company from the family’s £500,000 home in Hampshire, yesterday said something had gone ‘horribly wrong’ with his son

The suspected intruder was just 500 yards from the Queen’s private apartments inside the castle grounds, where the 95-year-old monarch had been having breakfast.

She was informed about the break-in and within hours was joined by senior royals including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Just minutes after the police swooped on the intruder, Prince Andrew was seen driving down the Long Walk in his Range Rover with a protection officer.

He was diverted away from the Cambridge Gate. Prince Charles and Camilla arrived on the estate at about 10am.

The Christmas Day intruder was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after doctors pronounced him medically unfit to be processed in the usual way.

Scotland Yard, which took over the investigation from Thames Valley Police on Boxing Day due to the serious nature of the breach, said the suspect remains in the care of medical professionals.

Armed police officers on guard at the Henry VIII Gate at Windsor Castle following the incident

Doctors and detectives are now examining the bizarre footage in which Chail apparently makes various references to villains from the Star Wars film series.

‘I’m an Indian Sikh, a Sith. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail, my name is Darth Jones,’ he says in the video. This is understood to be a reference to the enemies of the Jedi knights, who use the dark side of the force for evil.

Behind Chail in the footage is a framed picture of evil Sith Lord Darth Malgus.

Detectives investigating why Chail sought revenge over a century-old massacre of Indian Sikhs visited a number of gurdwaras, Sikh temples, across Hampshire to explore whether the teenager had links to organised religion.

But he is not thought to have been a regular worshipper and was unknown at the temples in Southampton.

Friends said Chail, a former pupil at Toynbee School in Chandler’s Ford, is very close to his twin sister, who achieved top grades at school and is now studying international relations at university.

Armed officers were at entrances to Windsor Castle after the security scare on Christmas Day

According to her social media profiles, she shares her brother’s interest in the Star Wars films. A friend said that they were ‘inseparable’ as young children.

A former school friend, who did not want to be named, said: ‘He seemed like a normal lad really.

‘Nothing to distinguish him from anything else. There was one big incident with him getting in a fight with someone but that was back when he was 13.’

Chail’s parents married in Britain in 1993 and have lived in Lancashire and the Midlands before settling in the Hampshire village home they bought for £390,000 in 2015.

Neighbours described the family as ‘quiet but very pleasant’ and said they were shocked to see a huge police presence at the home on Christmas Day.

The breach was the fourth known security incident at Windsor this year, including an invasion from a woman, 44, who was allowed into Prince Andrew’s Royal Lodge after claiming she was his fiancee.

Former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, Dai Davies, said he was concerned to hear that a crossbow had been involved in the invasion but the security teams did a good job in apprehending the intruder so quickly.

‘My view is that the police acted as soon as the alarm on the fence was triggered and apprehended him very quickly,’ he said.

‘This was the outer layer of the security onion, there are many more layers of security he would have faced and many more responses ready for him.

‘There are always lessons to be learnt and they will be conducting internal inquiries now to see how any response could have been improved.’

Scotland Yard said the man remains in the care of medical professionals as the full circumstances of the incident are investigated. ‘Security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings,’ it added.

Unregulated sale of crossbows was called into question after series of fatal attacks in recent years

Shane Gilmer (above) died after a crossbow bolt fired by Lawrence broke his arm and a rib, damaged his liver and kidney and became embedded in his spine

The unregulated sale of crossbows has been called into question a number of times in recent years after several high profile attacks involving the deadly weapons.

Demands for tighter regulation of crossbows initially came after the five-day inquest into the death of Shane Gilmer in April.

Mr Gilmer, 30, died after his neighbour, Anthony Lawrence, broke into his house armed with a crossbow in January 2018 and shot both him and his partner Laura Sugden, who survived the attack.

In March, a double-killer who used a crossbow to murder his own brother and a rival gang member was ordered to serve a minimum term of 33 years.

Convicted drug-dealer Saghawat Ramzan, 47, killed kickboxer Khuzaimah Douglas around a minute after fatally injuring his younger brother Waseem Ramzan, 36, by mistake after a raid on the family’s cannabis factory in Brierley Hill, Dudley.

Crossbow used by Saghawat Ramzan to kill his brother Waseem Ramzan and Douglas

In February last year, sports therapist Terence Whall was jailed for life after fatally wounding Gerald Corrigan at home in North Wales in what was described as a ‘medieval-style execution’.

Mr Corrigan, who had previously worked as a lecturer in photography and video, was found with a crossbow bolt in his chest and died of his injuries one month later while being treated in hospital.

Following Whall’s conviction, Karen Dixon of the Crown Prosecution Service called crossbows ‘deadly, silent weapons that can cause horrific injuries’.

In 2019, a ‘cold-blooded’ crossbow killer who shot his heavily pregnant ex-wife in an act of revenge was jailed for life with a minimum term of 33 years.

Mark Waterfall, 46, shot a GP with a crossbow in 2018

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 51, burst into the home of Sana Muhammad and fired an arrow into her stomach as she fled upstairs in a ‘brutal and evil attack’.

Mrs Muhammad, 35, suffered catastrophic internal injuries in the shooting in East London and died.

In 2018, the son of a patient Mark Waterfall shot a GP with a crossbow in Watford, Hertfordshire, because he blamed Dr Gary Griffith for the death of his father four days earlier in hospital.

Before Waterfall fired the metal tipped bolt, he told the doctor: ‘You killed my father and I am going to kill you.’

Waterfall was found guilty of attempted murder and was jailed for 20 years.

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