Missing Northampton man accused of slashing £10m art masterpiece at the National Gallery

A Northampton man accused of taking a screwdriver to a £10 million painting hung in the National Portrait Gallery had been missing for four months.

Friday, 24th March 2017, 5:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th March 2017, 11:54 am
Keith Gregory appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday, charged with causing criminal damage.

Northamptonshire Police first put out an appeal to trace Keith Gregory in November and later released CCTV images of him leaving a train at Euston Station in London on the day he disappeared.

But the 63-year-old, who was last seen in the Duston area and is believed to have lived in Kettering, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday (March 20), accused of causing criminal damage to a Gainsborough masterpiece hung at the National Portrait Gallery.

The 1785 painting entitled the Morning Walk is said to be worth £10 million, but it has now been removed from display while experts attempt to restore it.

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Keith Gregory seen at Euston station in November.

Gregory is accused of taking a screwdriver to the portrait on Saturday, March 18 before being escorted out by police.

A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police, said: "We can confirm that 63-year-old Keith Gregory from Kettering was reported missing to us on Monday, November 14, 2016."

In court he gave his address as "no fixed abode" and claimed to have been a millionaire, the Sun reports.

He has not entered a plea to the charge of criminal damage.

Keith Gregory seen at Euston station in November.

Eyewitnesses to the vandalism took to discussion forum Reddit to talk about what they saw the day after.

One man posted: "I was wandering with a friend through the gallery yesterday, when one of the staff shouted at everyone to move aside. An older man, surrounded by about 6-8 staff, was quickly taken past us. I quickly learned that he had attacked one of the paintings with a sharp implement, heard the word 'screwdriver' from two people."

Gregory has been remanded into custody until a further hearing.