Man accused of criminal damage to £24 million painting in the National Gallery, found Not Guilty by reason of insanity.

21.12.17 | |

Emma Scott defended Keith Gregory, charged with slashing an “x” into the Thomas Gainsborough painting, “The Morning Walk” on 18 March 2017.

 

Mr Gregory could be seen on CCTV walking up to the painting and slashing it, before being pulled away by a member of the public, and detained by a guard of the Gallery.

 

Mr Gregory accepted damaging the painting, but the defence of insanity was raised.  Three psychiatrists agreed that Mr Gregory was suffering from a psychotic disorder at the time of the incident, most likely paranoid schizophrenia.  He had previously been detained under the Mental Health Act, but had absconded.  He spent four months travelling the country, alone, with no contact with his family or medical professionals, believing himself to be under surveillance by people with laptops and other devices.  In the Gallery, Mr Gregory informed psychiatrists that he heard a “powerful voice” that told him to leave a mark on the painting so his family could find him.

 

The issue for the jury, was whether, at the material time, Mr Gregory “knew what he was doing was wrong”.  The expert evidence differed on this point.

 

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty by reason of insanity in under 2 hours.

 

'Emma Scott was instructed by Tim Walker of Sonn MacMillan Walker.

 

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