Man accused of defacing painting of the Queen in Westminster Abbey appears in court

Tim Haries, 41, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with criminal damage of more than £5,000

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

Tim Haries, 41, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with criminal damage of more than £5,000.

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

He entered no plea and was bailed until the end of June.

Yesterday a spokesman for Fathers4Justice confirmed that Mr Haries was a member of the campaign group but that there had been no official protest at Westminster Abbey.

Police were called to the abbey shortly after midday yesterday as security guards detained a man.

The oil painting, which is by Ralph Heimans, went on display in May this year was produced to mark the the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and depicts the Queen in state dress.

Asked by the court to enter a plea, Haries, of Bellis Avenue, said he was "not in a position" to at that moment.

He was released on conditional bail until the next hearing, at Southwark Crown Court on June 28, but banned from London in the meantime.

The painting is thought to be valued at around £160,000 and is called The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait Of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It has been removed from public display for repairs.

Immediately after the damage was done, a picture was taken and the image was uploaded to the internet.

Haries allegedly shouted 'Fathers4Justice!' when he was arrested.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle released Haries on conditional bail at the end of the 12-minute hearing, but said he must stay outside the M25 after police raised concerns that he would join an apparent Father's Day protest in the capital planned for Sunday.

The portrait was designed to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and had only been on display in the Chapter House for a few weeks.