LONDON -- An unemployed teenager pleaded guilty today to firing a blank gun at Queen Elizabeth as she rode horseback during a military ceremony in June and the court sentenced him to five years in jail for his 'wicked' act.
Attorney General Michael Havers told the court Marcus Sarjeant, 17, had been plotting to assassinate the queen and settled on a starter's pistol and blanks because he was unable to obtain a real gun or live ammunition for his father's handgun.
'I have little doubt that if you had been able to obtain a live gun or live ammunition for your father's gun you would have tried to murder her majesty,' Judge Geoffrey Lane told Sarjeant during sentencing.
'You tried to get a license. You tried to get a gun. You were not able to obtain either. Therefore, for reasons which are not easy to understand, you chose to indulge in what was a fantasy assassination.'
Lane said Sarjeant had the 'grace' to apologize and plead guilty, but he said 'you must be punished for the wicked thing you did.'
Sarjeant, a dropout from the royal marines, pleaded guilty to firing the blank gun as the queen rode past a huge crowd near Buckingham Palace on June 13 for the trooping of the color ceremony. The noise startled the queen's horse, but she was unharmed.
Evidence introduced during the brief trial included a note found on Sarjeant, saying 'I am going to stand and mystify the world with nothing more than a gun. I may in a moment become the most famous teenager in the world.'
Other evidence included a note Sarjeant wrote and mailed to the queen the morning of the ceremony.
'Don't go to the trooping of the color today because there is an assassin waiting outside to kill you,' it said.
A defense lawyer said Sarjeant had 'fantasies of omnipotence.'
Sylvia Sarjeant, the youth's grandmother, said the incident was 'out of character' for Sarjeant. She told reporters he was gentle and 'wouldn't hurt a soul.'
He was charged under the 1842 Treason Act with 'wilfully discharging at the person of her majesty the queen a blank cartridge pistol with intent to alarm her.'