Hammer-wielding vandal smashes controversial statue by abuser Eric Gill outside BBC HQ

12 January 2022, 19:05 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 07:51

Man uses hammer on controversial statue by abuser Eric Gill

By Sophie Barnett

A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after the controversial Ariel and Prospero statue in central London, which was sculpted by abuser Eric Gill, was smashed with a hammer.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Videos on social media show a man attacking the statue outside of the BBC's Broadcasting House in Westminster on Wednesday.

The man appears to repeatedly strike the statue with a hammer, with bits of stone flying off.

He had allegedly written the words "Time to go was 1989" and "noose all paedos" on to parts of the figures.

Images captured at the scene appear to show the penis of the child in the statue has been removed.

He can be heard shouting: "War paedo protectors".

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at around 4.15pm to Broadcasting House in Portland Street, where a man had used a ladder to reach the 10ft tall figures above the front entrance.

Read more: Colston Four say 'we rectified history' as they're cleared over statue toppling

A man has been seen smashing a statue with a hammer in central London.
A man has been seen smashing a statue with a hammer in central London. Picture: Alamy

The building had been cordoned off and road closures were put in place. These have since been lifted.

A spokesman for the Met said the man came down with assistance from the London Fire Brigade at around 8.45pm.

He was checked by paramedics before being arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody, police said.

The spokesman added: "The property owners are examining any damage to the statue and building.

"Another man was earlier arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage. He also remains in custody."

Read more: Who was Edward Colston? The slave trader behind the toppled Bristol statue

The statue was sculpted by Eric Gill, who is said to have sexually abused two of his daughters.

Gill, who died in Uxbridge in 1940, revealed in his personal diaries that he sexually abused his daughters and his family dog.

The statue, which was sculpted by Gill, was installed in 1933, according to the BBC.

A biography on the Tate museum website said: "His religious views and subject matter contrast with his sexual behaviour, including his erotic art, and (as mentioned in his own diaries) his extramarital affairs and sexual abuse of his daughters, sisters and dog."

Nearly 2,500 people have previously signed a petition demanding the removal of the sculpture on the website of political activist group 38 Degrees.

A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to comment.

The incident comes in the wake of the Colston Four case - which saw a jury clear four people of criminal damage after they pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century figure was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 2020, before being rolled into the water.

The four people responsible were acquitted on January 5 following an 11-day trial at the Old Bailey.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

File photo of gunman in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan, where the shooting took place

Three Spanish tourists shot dead in Afghanistan, with at least one more injured after gunmen open fire

Smoke rises during protests in Noumea, New Caledonia

French authorities report sixth death in New Caledonia violence

Itzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk and Amit Buskila

Bodies of three hostages killed at October 7 music festival recovered in Gaza

Anne Robinson has confirmed she is in a relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles

Anne Robinson reveals secret relationship with Queen Camilla's ex-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles

A member of the LGBTQ+ community holds up a sign with a message that reads 'Nothing to cure', during a protest in Lima, Peru

Protests in Peru against classification of gender identities as ‘mental illness’

Girls Aloud reunited for the first time in 11 years to pay tribute to Sarah Harding

Tears for Sarah Harding: fans pay tribute as Girls Aloud reunite for first time in 11 years

Cases of cryptosporidiosis have doubled

MP says 'heads will roll' over Devon water parasite crisis, as confirmed cryptosporidium cases double

Exclusive
Vera and Dan

'Why I’m taking my security into my own hands’: Brits buy guard dogs and doorbell cameras as crime concerns soar

Yvette Fielding said that Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her

Yvette Fielding claims Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her while she was hosting Blue Peter as a teenager

Rachel Reeves has said that rent caps could be allowed to be set

Labour 'could allow rent caps', Rachel Reeves says - but shadow chancellor warned that 'landlords would leave in droves'

Justice Department Boeing Explainer

Boeing shareholders approve chief’s compensation as company faces investigations

Shani Louk (left), Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.

'No father would want to hear this': Shani Louk's family speak out after Nova festival victim's body discovered in Gaza

Maths teacher Rebecca Joynes was found guilty of having sex with two schoolboys

Female teacher, 30, given one last chance to see baby after being found guilty of having sex with two schoolboys

Steve Buscemi

Man charged over random assault on actor Steve Buscemi in New York

Obit Dabney Coleman

Actor Dabney Coleman, who specialised in curmudgeons, dies aged 92

David DePape, 44, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US.

Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband with hammer sentenced to 30 years behind bars