Friday 27 April 2018

Man accused of punching hole in €10m Monet painting declares 'I have nothing to hide'

Andrew Shannon (48) is accused of putting his hand through Ireland's only painting by the famous French impressionist, entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat.
Andrew Shannon (48) is accused of putting his hand through Ireland's only painting by the famous French impressionist, entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat.

A man accused of putting his fist through a Claude Monet painting told gardaí he had done “nothing wrong” and had “nothing to hide.”

Andrew Shannon (48) claims he “fell” against the €10 million painting at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin on June 29, 2012.

Shannon, of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to causing criminal damage to the oil painting from 1874, entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat.

His trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he told gardaí hours after the incident he had a “serious heart condition” for which he had been getting treatment for about 15 years.

Sergeant Conor O'Braonáin told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that Mr Shannon said his heart problems dated back to a car accident he had had at the age of 28 or 29.

“My chest was crushed in on a valve for two years, I was very badly injured and had a lot of surgery, grafts and all,” he told gardaí.

He said he was on numerous medications including beta blockers, 400 mg of Metoprolol, Plavix, GTN spray, aspirin and cholesterol-lowering statins.

He said the car accident had happened on the N2 in Finglas near Premier Dairies, when a woman driver in another car had an epileptic fit.

“I got her door. You always think in hindsight you could have done something. I was luckier than some people. Life is full of surprises,” he said.

Mr Shannon repeatedly told gardaí he had been advised by his solicitor not to say any more and that she would send on all documentation required.

“Somebody said it's on CCTV. Let a jury decide,” he said.

“I've done nothing wrong, I'm afraid of nothing, I have nothing to hide. I'm telling you I've done nothing wrong, I'm not going to say any more,” said Mr Shannon.

When a garda said “Talking is good, you should get it off your chest,” Mr Shannon responded that the garda “should have been a counsellor not a copper”.

The accused said he had been on disability allowance of €188 a week since 2006 or 2007.

Mr Shannon also said he had worked for a furniture restorer in Citywest and had done the equivalent of a seven-year apprenticeship in the sector in the UK.

But he said “it's all Formica now” and commented that furniture from IKEA was “useful but it's shite”.

The accused told gardaí there were eleven in his family, but said he didn't get on with his siblings.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard Mr Shannon had quadruple bypass surgery a year after the incident.

Consultant surgeon Nicholas Walcot told Brendan Grehan SC, defending, that he supervised coronary surgery on Mr Shannon in July this year when he had 90 per cent blockages in all three major vessels of the heart.

Asked for his expert opinion on the event in the gallery, Mr Walcot said Mr Shannon getting up and walking away was “a little bit inconsistent”.

“If somebody collapses, I would have thought the person would stay down or sit down quickly,” he said.

The trial continues on Monday before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of seven women and five men.

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