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Thursday 17 April 2014

Man accused of damaging €10m Monet in bail bid

Pic shows: Copy of photograph of the Damaged Claude Monet painting worth €10 million which yesterday (Thursday) 05-12-2013 a jury failed to reach a decision on weather  Andrew Shannon was guilty of criminal damage to it at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin in June, 2012.              
Pic: Collins Courts.
Copy of photograph of the damaged Claude Monet painting worth €10 million

THE man accused of damaging a €10m Claude Monet painting will make a bid to be freed from prison today after a judge granted him permission to make an application for bail.

Andrew Shannon (48), of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin 15, has been in custody, awaiting trial, accused of vandalising the painting at the National Gallery of Ireland.

At the trial, which began last week, he denied causing criminal damage to the painting on June 29, 2012. He claimed he felt weak and "collapsed" against the painting because of his heart condition.

Last night, the jury at his trial were discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

After deliberating for just under nine hours on the ninth day of the trial, the jury foreman at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court said it had reached a deadlock.

Judge Desmond Hogan remanded Mr Shannon in custody pending a bail application today. He said Mr Shannon was entitled to apply for bail, as he had been in custody for 18 months.

During the trial, the jury saw extensive CCTV footage from the moment Mr Shannon entered the gallery until he was brought out by paramedics a little over half an hour later.

Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, said that Mr Shannon didn't stop to look at other art work until he got to the room on the first floor where the Monet was hanging.

Two tourists from New Zealand who were standing a few feet away from the painting said they saw Mr Shannon lunge at the painting with his fist clenched "like a hammer".

One of the tourists, Michael Williams, said the incident seemed "deliberate" and "planned".

He told the court how he grabbed Mr Shannon's shoulder and manoeuvred him into the middle of the room "so he couldn't do any more damage".

AMBULANCE

Christiaan Clotworthy, head of security at the National Gallery, claimed the damage to the painting was "no accident".

A paramedic who tested Mr Shannon's vital signs at the scene said his condition gave no cause for concern.

An ECG heart test performed on him in an ambulance en route to St James's Hospital from the gallery was normal.

Mr Shannon was arrested immediately after he was discharged from hospital on the day of the incident.

He told gardai he had a "serious heart condition" and had five heart attacks in the last five or six years.

The court heard Mr Shannon had quadruple bypass surgery a year after the incident with consultant surgeon Nicholas Walcot giving evidence that he supervised the operation.

The 1874 Monet painting, entitled 'Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat', is one of very few paintings by the famous French impressionist in a public collection in Ireland.

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