herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Man 'punched' €10m painting in National Gallery, tourists claim

Andrew Shannon
Andrew Shannon

Two New Zealand tourists have described how they saw a man's fist go through a Monet painting estimated to be worth €10m in the National Gallery two years ago.

The court heard the accused man told witnesses he was faint after the incident, complained of chest pain and said he had fallen against the painting.

Andrew Shannon (50), of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin 15, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to damaging Claude Monet painting Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat (1874) at the National Gallery of Ireland on Clare Street on June 29, 2012.

He further pleaded not guilty to damaging two Felim Egan paintings at the Shelbourne Hotel on January 8, 2014.

Michael Kelly Williams told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that he and his wife, Toni Ashton, were on holidays in Ireland and visited the National Art Gallery on June 29, 2012.

Mr Kelly Williams said he was standing looking at a painting when he saw a man put his fist through the Monet, straight into the middle of the painting.

He said he grabbed the man, who said something like he felt faint, and moved him into the middle of the room to get him away from the paintings.

Mr Kelly Williams said the man had a clenched fist and put it straight into the painting.

He said that in his work as a flight attendant he had treated people feeling faint before and on the basis of his experience the man was in no way suffering from feeling faint.

hammer

He said after moving the man into the middle of the room he had called for security.

The couple were later interviewed by gardai and gave a statement.

Ms Ashton described the incident as being like a "hammer" and described the movement as a lunge.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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