A TIPPERARY man today apologised to the Queen for drunkenly scaling the fence at Windsor Castle and getting within 20 metres of her private apartments as he was banned for all UK pubs for a year.
Robert Pennefather, 32, admitted trespassing on the site after he got so drunk that he thought he was actually getting out of the grounds of the Queens residence.
The truck driver was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment suspended for 12 months, banned from entering any licensed premises and ordered to pay £1,100 (€1300) in fines and costs.
He was found by armed royal protection officers after the alarm sounded near the 8ft tall Cambridge Gate, just feet from the Queen's private apartments, the court heard.
According to the chief magistrate: "This was a very serious matter indeed as you must realise now that you are sober.
"There was a significant breach of security in a way that shows you were sufficiently competent to climb at least a 5ft barricade and it undoubtedly caused significant alarm and distress to those in the castle and those whose job it is to protect those in the castle.
"It was not only alarming but caused a significant deployment of police officers."
Prosecutor Zoe Martin told the court that Pennefather, who sat nervously in the dock, had been drinking since 9pm and been to clubs in Windsor before he triggered to alarm at the castle at 3.34am on November 6 last year.
The castle - the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world - is deemed a designated site and signs saying trespass is a criminal offence are placed around the gates.
The prosector told the court that Pennefather was stopped by a police officer who saw him staggering in the direction of the castle who asked to see his security pass.
"He replied "What pass". The officer asked if he was trespassing and I replied: "Yes I should not be here".
He was approximately 20 metres from the Queens private apartments the court heard.
Pennefather, who the court was told stank of booze and was staggering around, was arrested. The Queen was not in residence at the time of the incident.
Pennefather, of Co Tipperary, was interviewed the next morning and admitted that he had been out with other lorry drivers and had been drinking lager, but they had left him before he reached the castle and he "couldn't remember" how he got in.
Ms Martin said: "He said he was thinking he was actually getting out of the grounds rather than getting in."
Another Irishman Michael Fagan caused a security scandal when he broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982 and sat on the end of the Queen's bed talking to her before police finally arrived.