Sheffield dad convicted of masterpiece damage

Fathers 4 Justice campaigner Paul Manning.
Fathers 4 Justice campaigner Paul Manning.
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A Fathers4Justice campaigner from Sheffield has been found guilty of damaging one of the country’s most famous paintings.

Paul Manning, aged 58, stuck a picture of his son on to Constable’s The Hay Wain which is on display in the National Gallery in London.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Manning was restrained by a security guard while trying to superglue the picture of his son to the painting last June.

A restoration expert said it took 25 minutes to remove the picture, and another four or five hours to apply a new coat of varnish.

The court heard the estimated damage to the painting was £300.

Manning, of Kirkstone Road, Walkley, Sheffield, represented himself in court and denied criminal damage.

He said the only thing he was guilty of was ‘loving his son’.

He said he had experimented with different glues at home, to find the one which would cause the least damage.

Manning took action after being denied access to his son by the family courts.

He said he did not regret his actions and it was his right to protest about being treated unjustly as a ‘worthless’ and ‘throwaway father’.

He said he had not seen his son for three years, adding: “I miss him dearly and not a day goes by when I do not shed a tear for him.

“The family law of my own country is being perversely misused to cut countless fathers from their children’s lives.

“I believe my protest was within reason.”

Manning was told by the magistrates he was facing a community punishment.

He will be sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court next Thursday.