Van Gogh's Sunflowers: Women deny damaging frame

By: News Desk
Published: 09:46 AM, 16 Oct, 2022
Van Gogh Sunflower
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Two women have denied causing criminal damage to the frame of one of Van Gogh's Sunflowers paintings.

The masterpiece had soup thrown at it in the National Gallery on Friday.

Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, from Lambeth, south-west London, pleaded not guilty when they appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier.

A third woman is charged over paint sprayed on the New Scotland Yard sign during a day of protest in Westminster.

Lora Johnson, 38, from Southwold, Suffolk, pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage of the famous rotating sign at the same court.

Ms Holland and Ms Plummer spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth, addresses and to enter their pleas to charges of criminal damage to the value of less than £5,000.

District judge Tan Irkam released the pair on bail on the condition they do not enter galleries or museums and do not have paint or adhesive substances in a public place.

Prosecutor Ola Oyedepo said the pair threw the "orange substance" knowing there was a "protective case" over the actual painting, though damage was caused to the frame.

Ms Oyedepo said the value of the damage was "significantly below the £5,000 cost threshold".

Katie McFadden, defending, said: "The prosecution needs to prove that damage has been caused."

She said the "extent of the damage would be relevant to the proportionality assessment" in weighing up their right to expression.

Their trial was set for 13 December at City of London Magistrates' Court.

Ms Johnson, who appeared in the dock for a separate hearing, also spoke to confirm her name, address and enter her plea.

Mr Irkam released Ms Johnson on bail on the condition she does not have paint or adhesive materials in a public place.

Ms Oyepedo said Ms Johnson was part of a protest group which gathered at the New Scotland Yard building on Friday afternoon.

The prosecutor said £4,750 has been spent trying to remove the paint from the sign and the ground under it.

Her trial was set for 23 November at City of London Magistrates' Court.

The Met Police previously said a total of 28 people were arrested on Friday as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gathered in central London.

It said 25 of them had been bailed pending further inquiries.

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