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Queen Elizabeth ‘coffin grabber’ thought the monarch ‘was still alive’

A man appeared in a U.K. court on Sept. 20 after he appeared to grab the flag on the queen's coffin while she was lying in state. AP

A man who attempted to grab the flag draped over Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin while she was lying in state did not believe she was dead, a U.K. court heard on Tuesday.

According to the BBC, the prosecution claimed Muhammad Khan wanted to view the queen’s coffin to “check for himself” that she was there.

Read more: U.K. PM Liz Truss faces busy week as politics returns to stage after queen’s funeral

Khan, 28, also allegedly intended to trespass at several royal residences, including Buckingham Palace, to verify the monarch’s death.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to face two charges under the Public Order Act, but was declared unfit to participate in court proceedings by doctors. The court was told that Khan was experiencing delusions.

Khan was one of 250,000 people who joined the queue at Westminster Hall between Wednesday evening and Monday morning to pay respects to the queen. When it was Khan’s turn to view the queen lying in state, the hall’s video live feed halted briefly.

Prosecutor Luke Staton said Khan was seen approaching the coffin by officers standing guard.

“He stepped off the carpet in the direction of the catafalque, then grabbed hold of the royal standard flag draped over the coffin with both of his hands,” Staton said in court.

Khan was immediately detained, arrested and interrogated by police.

Staton said Khan had also planned to go to the queen’s state funeral.

“He planned to write to the royal family and if they did not reply he planned to go to Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and Balmoral to try to speak to the queen,” Staton alleged.

Read more: Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral: Key moments from a sombre day

The prosecution claimed Khan had said he was willing to trespass the royal properties to make contact. When asked how long he would try to make contact for, Khan allegedly replied, “As long as I’m living.”

“He is delusional still and thinks the queen is not dead, thinks King Charles has something to do with it and may go to Windsor Castle to pay his respects but also because he still thinks she is alive,” the judge said of Khan during Tuesday’s hearing.

Khan was granted bail by the court, but must reside in a mental hospital until his next court hearing on Oct. 18.

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