herald

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Vandal who damaged €10m artwork caught stealing toothbrushes

Andrew Shannon has ‘addiction’ issues, his barrister said
Andrew Shannon has ‘addiction’ issues, his barrister said

A man who was convicted of damaging a €10m Monet painting in the National Gallery of Ireland has pleaded guilty to the theft of toothbrushes worth €200 from a Swords supermarket.

Andrew Shannon (52) appeared before Swords District Court yesterday and will be sentenced at a later date for the theft, which happened last December 8 at Dunnes Stores at The Pavilions Shopping Centre.

The defendant, of Willan's Way, Ongar, Dublin 17, had a second charge of the theft of eight electric toothbrushes from the same supermarket three days earlier dismissed after Judge Dermot Dempsey ruled he was not satisfied Shannon had left the store carrying them.

CCTV shown during the trial showed a man leaving the supermarket with his two hands down by his side.

Despite a security guard saying the suspect was on his mobile phone as he left, no evidence was shown in the CCTV to this effect.

Compensation

Defence barrister Patrick Jackson asked the judge to mark a plea of guilty against the second theft charge and requested a four-week adjournment for facts, mitigation and sentencing. He said the defendant has "addiction issues and I want him to verify that".

Mr Jackson said the defendant had €200 in court with him to give to the supermarket as compensation for the theft.

This was handed over and the judge adjourned the case until early April.

Shannon was given a six-year sentence in 2014 for the damage he caused to Monet's 1874 painting Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat at the National Gallery of Ireland on Clare Street on June 29, 2012.

That trial heard he had entered the gallery just before 11am and went to where the painting was on display.

He left and returned a short time later and appeared to fall forward, striking the painting.

During interview, he told gardai he had a heart condition and that was why he had fallen.

However, a jury convicted him after almost one-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was a "peculiar crime" and it was "abnormal" to cause damage in the way he did.

The Monet painting is now back on display in the National Gallery following a period of restoration.

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