Whoops! Museum bans visitor whose fall smashed £100,000 vases

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The Independent Online

A museum visitor who accidentally smashed £100,000-worth of Chinese vases said today he had been banned from returning.

Nick Flynn, 42, said the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where his calamitous moment occurred, had written to him asking him not to come back for a while.

"It was just a regrettable accident. I snagged my shoelace, missed the step and crash, bang, wallop there were a million pieces of high quality Chang ceramics lying around underneath me," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I suppose that, seeing they were the prize possession of the museum, they were just lying on a window sill... I thought they might take a little bit better care of them.

"I think they are a bit embarrassed at the moment, with them being worth such a considerable amount, and there is no way my pocket will stretch to reimburse them for the damage that I've done."

He said he had received a letter from museum director Duncan Robinson.

"He's written to me to say not to visit the museum again in the near future," Mr Flynn said.

Mr Flynn, from nearby Fowlmere, is single and receives disability benefit after a bike accident. He is a regular visitor to the Fitzwilliam.

"The directors or the board of trustees, or whoever is in the top echelons of the museum, I don't think they know me quite as well as the regular staff," he said.

"The regular staff are very friendly and they have carried on being friendly and I have not had any animosity from them.

"I think this is just the directors or trustees because they seem to have got egg on their faces."

Mr Flynn said he was "still a bit stiff but on the mend" following his tumble down a stairway on to the vases.

He added: "I have a few household accidents, maybe drop a cup or two or smash a plate, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before."

Police have ruled out malicious damage.

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