Published  21/07/2012

Three months in the nick for decapitation

Three months in the nick for decapitation

Well, it was only a sculptured head separated from its torso and elegant frame. And surely, it was so cleanly effected that the break could have been easily concealed by one of those dripping necklaces the subject loved to sport in her heyday? The chopping off of Baroness Thatcher's head, so cleanly done, was a reminder of the tumbril and the guillotine. Sadly, unlike Paris's reduction of the late 18th century French aristocracy, this incident was a private gesture, rather than (as it merited) executed before great crowds. So Paul Kelleher, the perpetrator, was 'sent below' for three months, sentenced on 19 February 2003 at Southwark Crown Court in London. The sculptor, Neil Simmons, was obliged to defend his work, while Kelleher laid claim to his view that his crime was purely 'artistic expression'. As he said in court, 'we can ill afford to lose our sense of humour'.

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