Man in court over defaced Queen painting

Image caption,
The painting went on display last month in the abbey's Chapter House

A man accused of defacing a painting of the Queen in Westminster Abbey has appeared in court in central London.

Tim Haries, 41, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, is charged with causing more than £5,000 of criminal damage.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, he entered no plea and was bailed until the end of June.

A spokesman for Fathers4Justice said on Thursday Mr Haries was a member of the campaign group but that there had been no official protest.

The electrician is alleged to have smuggled a can of spray paint into the abbey before defacing the picture.

Police were called to the abbey just after midday on Thursday after security guards detained a man.

The oil painting on canvas by Ralph Heimans, which went on display in the Chapter House in May, was completed last year for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and depicts the Queen in state dress.

The incident came nine days after she and other members of the Royal Family attended a service at the abbey marking the 60th anniversary of her Coronation.

Palace sitting

Mr Haries was asked by the court to enter a plea but said he was "not in a position" to do so at the moment.

He was released on conditional bail after a 12 minute hearing.

Image caption,
Tim Haries was bailed until 28 June

The painting, entitled The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, has been taken off public display as a result of the damage.

It measures 9ft by 11ft and depicts the Queen in the sacrarium of Westminster Abbey, also known as the Coronation Theatre.

It was shown publicly for the first time in September at Australia's National Portrait Gallery, in Canberra, before being moved to London.

Australian-born Mr Heimans, who is based in London, had a sitting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March last year.

A spokesman for Mr Heimans said the artist was "aware of the incident" but would not be commenting further.