Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Intruder who tried to climb wall into Buckingham Palace while carrying knife and cocaine spared jail

Cameron Kalani,44, pictured outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court last year, had pleaded guilty to trespassing in Buckingham Palace as well as possession of a knife and a wrap of cocaine

A mentally ill man who scaled a Buckingham Palace fence while carrying a knife and cocaine has been spared jail by a judge – who told him he was lucky not to have been killed by police.

Cameron Kalani, 44, entered the Royal Mews – which houses the royal family’s horses – while suffering a ‘psychotic episode’ in the early hours of May 10 last year.

The ‘talented’ wildlife photographer, from Haywards Heath, West Sussex, was caught with a 20cm kitchen knife and cocaine in his bag when he was arrested after climbing back into Buckingham Palace Road.

The incident was among a string of security scares on royal property last year – including just days earlier, when a couple climbed the fence at Windsor Castle, and months later on Christmas Day, when a man ‘carrying a crossbow’ entered palace grounds.

Wearing a white fleece and blue jeans, Kalani, who has a ‘schizoaffective disorder’, stood with hunched shoulders as he was handed a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

He had previously pleading guilty to trespassing on a protected site, possession of a bladed article and possession of a wrap of cocaine.

Deputy District Judge Roy Brown told him: ‘You are a very fortunate man indeed.

‘It is just good luck and good fortune that neither you nor anyone else was either seriously injured or killed in the course of your escapade in May last year.

‘The police were extremely restrained in the way they behaved with you in the face of an ongoing threat.’

Prosecutor Alexander Alawode told the court Kalani was captured on CCTV at around 4.30am climbing over the fence into the Royal Mews and trespassing on the grounds.

‘He was then observed climbing over the fence back into Buckingham Palace Road before being detained around 10 minutes later outside the Royal Mews by palace police officers,’ he said.

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‘He seemed very confused.’

In character witness statements read to the court, friends said Kalani is a talented wildlife photographer with a keen interest in mathematics and physics who has never shown any interest in the royal family.

In his basis of plea he said he had traveled to London from his home in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, while in a state of psychosis in a bid ‘to be arrested’.

Kalani, who was supported in court by his mother and aunt, said he had packed his bag with a knife in an envelope and the drugs, scaling the fence after seeing a sign reading: ‘Do not climb’.

Cameron Kalani, 44, entered the Royal Mews - which houses the royal family's horses - while suffering a 'psychotic episode' in the early hours of May 10 last year

Cameron Kalani, 44, entered the Royal Mews – which houses the royal family’s horses – while suffering a ‘psychotic episode’ in the early hours of May 10 last year

Kalani suffers from a ‘schizoaffective disorder’ and was sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment following his arrest, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

He said in a statement read to the court: ‘On May 9 2021 I traveled to London by train from my home in Sussex in what I would describe as a state of psychosis.

‘My intention for coming to London was to be arrested.

‘I felt I was a burden and would be better off in prison. I packed my bag with a knife and what I believed to be a small bag of ketamine to increase my chances of being arrested.

‘I did not sleep and rode the bus for hours. I came across a sign on a fence which said something like “do not climb”.

‘This reminded me of my purpose. I climbed the fence. I did not know it was connected to Buckingham Palace Gardens.

‘I had not slept and was in a state of crisis. I didn’t understand the sign was for Buckingham Palace Gardens.

‘I accept that a reasonable person would have cause to expect that the site was a protected site. I wish to plead guilty on that basis.

‘My sole intention was to be arrested. I did not seek to do anyone harm or damage property.’

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Ben Lay, defending, said his client was in a ‘severe mental health crisis, an episode of psychosis’ at the time of the offenses.

‘In that state, Mr Kalani’s only intention was to get help and thought the best way to do this was to get arrested,’ he told the court.

The judge said he did not accept Kalani had carried the knife and drugs ‘simply to get arrested’, adding: ‘There are easier locations to attend if you want to draw the attention of the police.’

But he added: ‘Your behavior at that time was largely due to your psychiatric state.’

He said he could accept that Kalani hadn’t gone there to hurt anyone.

Judge Brown said: ‘The offenses of carrying a knife and trespassing on this particular site are so serious that a custodial sentence is inevitable.

‘Whether or not you accept that sentence depends on you, accepting support, taking your medication.

Kalani, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court (pictured) for sentencing on Tuesday

Kalani, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (pictured) for sentencing on Tuesday

‘Behave yourself and you won’t have to go to prison.’

As part of Kalani’s suspended sentence, he must attend a 30-day rehabilitation program and cannot enter the SW1A postal area. He was also ordered to pay £213 costs.

On December 25 last year, Jaswant Singh Chail allegedly threatened to assassinate the Queen with a crossbow in a chilling video he posted online just 24 minutes before he was found on Windsor Palace grounds, just 500 meters from the Queen’s apartments.

He claimed the intrusion was revenge for the 1919 Amritsar Massacre in Punjab, India when British colonial troops opened fire on protestors, killing 379 and wounding around 1,000 of them.

Meanwhile on May 2, a couple were arrested after they climbed a wall at Windsor near where The Queen walks her corgis and where Prince Andrew lives.

And in April a 44-year-old woman who claimed she was engaged to Prince Andrew was let onto the grounds by bungling security staff.

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Nation World News Desk
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