Body-parts sculptor has jail term reduced

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The Independent Online
THE sculptor Anthony-Noel Kelly, who made legal history by becoming the first person in Britain to be convicted of stealing human body parts, is to be released from prison in the next few days after winning an appeal against sentence.

Kelly had his sentence reduced from nine to three months by the Court of Appeal yesterday. He has already served six weeks in Brixton Prison.

Kelly, 42, a nephew of the Duke of Norfolk, who smiled and raised his eyebrows at the judge's decision, had earlier lost his appeal against conviction.

Lord Justice Rose said the case presented "a difficult sentencing exercise" because it was so unique. "We are prepared to accept that he had no financial motive for doing what he did and that he was primarily motivated by what he regarded as artistic reasons," he said.

But he added that the theft of body parts, albeit comparatively old ones, was something that the public would view with "repugnance" and might have a dissuading effect on the mind of someone who was contemplating donating his body for scientific research.

Kelly's solicitor, Mark Stephens, said the date of his release would have to be worked out with the Prison Service. "With automatic remission, it comes down to about six weeks' imprisonment which is as devastating to him as a year would be to others," he said. "You can imagine the effect on a man with his artistic sensibility."

Kelly's accomplice, Neil Lindsay, 25, who helped to smuggle more than 40 body parts from the Royal College of Surgeons at night in black bin- bags, was also successful in his appeal. His six-month suspended sentence was amended to a two-month suspended sentence.

Lord Justice Rose said that both men were hitherto of good character but that Lindsay was under 21 at the time of the offence and was "persuaded to act as he did by a man who was not only considerably older but who had a considerable force of personality".

They were the first to be convicted of such a theft because previous body-snatchers have been charged with the lesser common law offence of outraging public decency.

At their trial, the jury was told that the body parts were transported by taxi, motorcycle and even Underground train to Kelly's studio in west London where, using rubber moulds, glass fibre and plaster, he created bronze and silver casts.

His scheme was uncovered when Her Majesty's Inspector of Anatomy saw a newspaper photograph of his first exhibition of a bronzed head and torso and contacted police.