A Sheffield Fathers4Justice campaigner who defaced one of Britain’s most famous pictures has walked free from court.
Paul Manning received a year ban from art galleries and carrying glue in public places after he super-glued a photo of his son onto Constable’s priceless ‘The Hay Wain’ at the National Gallery.
The 58-year-old, who had lost a custody battle and hadn’t seen his 11-year-old son for three years, caused permanent damage to the picture.
But he said he did it out of love for his son.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court District Judge Quentin Purdy told him: “I well understand that you feel extremely strongly about your son but that does not give you the right to behave in any manner you see fit.
“You went into a public place and damaged public property. You chose to get publicity in this way and you must suffer the consequences.”
Manning was previously found guilty of criminal damage to the value of £3,436.03 after a one-day trial. But Judge Purdy said he considered the cost of the damage to be £296.17 because the previous figure included staff wages.
Manning, of Kirkstone Road, Malin Bridge, appeared in court wearing a trench coat with ‘My son is priceless to me’, Fathers4Justice and photos of a boy printed all over it.
The sentencing was interrupted several times by laughing, jeering and even applause from the public gallery, which was packed with Fathers4Justice supporters.
He was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £296.17 compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and £100 costs.
Fathers4Justice champions the cause of unequal parenting, family law reform and fair contact for divorced parents with kids.