Sunday 19 May 2019

Criminal jailed for damaging €10m Monet painting convicted of possessing stolen artwork

Andrew Shannon
Andrew Shannon

Ken Foy

A 53-YEAR-OLD criminal who was previously jailed for damaging a €10m Monet painting at the National Gallery has been convicted of possession of a stolen painting.

Andrew Shannon, of Willans Way, Ongar, was due to be sentenced at Dublin Circuit Court today after being convicted by a jury this week of possession of stolen property.

The charge related to possession of a stolen painting from Bantry House in Cork worth €5,000, which was found in Shannon's west Dublin home in April 2014 when around 60 pieces of art were seized.

Shannon's latest conviction follows an investigation by Pearse Street gardai.

It was established that Shannon was staying in the hotel when the painting was stolen, but he was never charged with a theft-related offence.

Amateur antiques dealer Shannon has been in jail here since March when he was extradited back to Ireland after a European Arrest Warrant was issued against him.

Shannon served a short sentence for burglary in the UK after being arrested at Holyhead before he was sent back to Ireland earlier this year.

Trained French polisher Shannon has 35 previous criminal convictions in Ireland for offences which include theft and burglary, but he also has previous convictions for similar offences in the UK.

His last previous conviction here dated from June 2016, when he was jailed for six months after he was caught with 57 stolen antique books, including an extremely rare King James Bible, worth a total of €6,500.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that the stolen books had originated in the library of Carton House in Kildare, the historical family seat of the FitzGerald family.

However, Shannon's most notable criminal conviction was when he received four-and-a-half years for damaging the Claude Monet painting entitled Argenteuil Basin With A Single Sail Boat (1874) at the National Gallery of Ireland on Clare Street on June 29, 2012.

Shannon had entered the gallery and was seen standing in front of the Monet painting.

He was captured on CCTV moving forward in the direction of the painting with his arm raised and striking the painting, causing a substantial tear to it.

The State's case was that the damage was premeditated and deliberate.

Shannon, however, contended that he had fallen accidentally after suffering a coronary episode.

Eyewitnesses from New Zealand said they saw Shannon punching the painting and expert evidence established the force of the blow.

Shannon has previous convictions for stealing from stately homes in England as well as for handling stolen property involving maps dating from 1651 with a value of €6,000.


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