Live updates

Six months for Doncaster man who vandalised Queen's portrait

A Fathers4Justice campaigner from Doncaster has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment for defacing a portrait of the Queen with paint in Westminster Abbey.

Tim Haries Credit: Press Association

Tim Haries, who told jurors he vandalised the picture to highlight the "social justice issue of our time", had denied a charge of causing criminal damage of more than £5,000 but was found guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court last month.

The father-of-two smuggled a can of purple spray paint into the Abbey on June 13 last year before writing the word "help" on the painting, which is worth £160,000.

Recorder of Westminster Judge Alistair McCreath told him: "This was a deliberate and planned causing of damage to a valuable item of property on public display, carried out as a publicity exercise."

Sentencing for Doncaster man who defaced Queen's portrait

A Fathers4Justice campaigner will be sentenced today for defacing a portrait of the Queen with paint in Westminster Abbey.

Press Association

Tim Haries, who told jurors he vandalised the picture to highlight the "social justice issue of our time", had denied a charge of causing criminal damage of more than £5,000 but was found guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court last month.

The father-of-two smuggled a can of purple spray paint into the abbey on June 13 last year before writing the word "help" on the painting, which is worth £160,000.

Jurors heard how Haries shouted "fathers for justice" as he scrawled the graffiti on the large oil painting before being tackled to the ground by steward Peter Crook.

He told Mr Crook: "Sorry mate, I've got nothing against the Queen," before telling a police officer who arrived at the scene that he was "guilty as charged".

Photographs of the incident were posted on a Fathers4Justice Facebook page.

Haries, 42, decided to represent himself towards the end of his trial and directly addressed jurors, telling them he carried out the act as a protest against the "social catastrophe" of fathers not being allowed access to their children.

He said that, while he had nothing against the Queen personally, he targeted her portrait because of her symbolic role as head of the justice system.

Haries, of Bellis Avenue, Doncaster, later said he "would not hesitate to petition the Queen again by peaceful protest on behalf of my children and the millions of children separated from their fathers by the British Government".

The portrait by artist Ralph Heimans was cordoned off by a rope in the Abbey's Chapter House as part of a wider exhibition to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The 11ft by 9ft painting was bought by Westminster Abbey for £160,000 after being on display in the artist's native Australia. It cost £7,300 to repair.

The oil on canvas depicts the Queen in the sacrarium of Westminster Abbey, also known as the Coronation Theatre, standing at the centre circle of the Cosmati pavement, on the spot where she was crowned.

Advertisement

Sentencing adjourned for reports

The Fathers4Justice campaigner from Doncaster found guilty of defacing a portrait of the Queen with purple paint will return to court next month after pre-sentence reports have been carried out.

Tim Haries, of Bellis Avenue, Doncaster, was given conditional bail until February 5.

The judge at Southwark Crown Court told him this was not an indication of how he would be dealt with.

Haries said he did not want to comment as he left the court.

Guilty - campaigner who spray painted the Queen's portrait

Tim Haries at a previous court hearing Credit: PA Pictures

A Fathers4Justice campaigner from Doncaster has been found guilty of defacing a portrait of the Queen with purple paint while it was hanging in Westminster Abbey.

Tim Haries had told jurors he vandalised the picture to highlight the "social justice issue of our time."

Haries had denied a charge of causing criminal damage of more than £5,000 but was found guilty by jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court.

The father-of-two smuggled a can of purple spray paint into the abbey on June 13 before scrawling the word "help" on the painting worth £160,000.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Today's top stories