Saturday 23 September 2017

Man 'felt weak and collapsed' into €10m painting, trial told

The Claude Monet painting Argenteuil Basin with a single Sailboat, 1874 which was badly damaged during an incident at the National Gallery of Ireland
The Claude Monet painting Argenteuil Basin with a single Sailboat, 1874 which was badly damaged during an incident at the National Gallery of Ireland

Jessica Magee

A MAN who claims he collapsed into a €10m painting by Claude Monet had a quadruple heart bypass a year later, his trial has heard.

Andrew Shannon (48), of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin 15, denies causing criminal damage to the impressionist painting at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, on June 29, 2012.

He told eye-witnesses he "felt weak" and "fell against" the oil painting, explaining to paramedics that he suffered from unstable angina.

The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Mr Shannon arrived at St James's Hospital on July 2, 2013, having suffered a heart attack.

Consultant surgeon Nicholas Walcot told the defence that he supervised coronary surgery on Mr Shannon on July 15, 2013.

He said Mr Shannon had 90pc blockages in all three major vessels of the heart.

The prosecution showed Mr Walcot CCTV footage of the painting being damaged.

Mr Walcot said the accused man did not have rhythmic heart problems, but that it was possible he has a "pre-structural problem", which involves feeling faint "as if getting out of a hot bath".

Earlier in the trial, a paramedic who had examined Mr Shannon within an hour of the incident told the court that his vital signs had been "very stable".

An ECG heart test performed 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.

Two tourists who witnessed the painting being damaged told the court that Mr Shannon had lunged at the canvas with his fist "like a hammer".

They said it seemed "deliberate" and "planned", while head of security at the gallery described it as "no accident".

'Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat', dating from 1874, is one of very few by Claude Monet in public ownership in Ireland.

The trial continues today before Judge Desmond Hogan.

Irish Independent

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