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HEAD-LOPPER COPS THREE MONTHS' JAIL

Paul Kelleher, the Londoner who beheaded a statue of Britain's former and formidable Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, hasn't been executed, a fate which we facetiously suggested would be a suitable punishment for all statue-loppers, in our story Off With Their Heads. Instead, he's been jailed for three months.

The London daily newspaper The Guardian reported on February 20: "A political protester who decapitated a 150,000 marble statue of Lady Thatcher was yesterday jailed for three months. Paul Kelleher, 37, an events organiser from Isleworth, west London, claimed he had knocked the head off the sculpture of the former prime minister in an attempt to protect his two-year-old son from the ills of a political system he believed she represented."

In a caustic leading article, headed Still The Silly Party, The Guardian  described the jail sentence as ridiculous. "The Tories target the wrong enemy," it declared. "It is a sign of the times that the self-mutilation of the Conservative party over the past few days has got rather less media attention than the fate of Paul Kelleher, who was ridiculously jailed for three months yesterday for attacking a marble statue of Margaret Thatcher. But it is not just the marmoreal Tory who has lost her head. Mrs Thatcher's real-life successor seems to have lost his too."

Marmoreal? We had to look it up in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. It means of, relating to, or suggestive of marble or a marble statue especially in coldness or aloofness... what a perfect description!

Chris Godfrey (London) has emailed this comment to our Guestbook: "Paul Kelleher got three months for what he did. He should have got a medal."

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Copyright 2003

Eric Shackle

Story first posted March 2003

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