A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after smashing a statue created by a paedophile sculptor at the BBC’s Broadcasting House.
Emergency services were called to the scene at 4.15pm on Wednesday to reports of a man damaging a statue on a ledge at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London.
Officers cordoned off the entrance to the building and London Ambulance Service paramedics were at the scene.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “The man came down with assistance from London Fire Brigade at around 20:45hrs.
“He was checked by London Ambulance Service before being arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody.
“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. Road closures have now been lifted.”
The sculptor, Eric Gill, is said to have sexually abused two of his daughters.
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 came a week after a jury cleared four people of criminal damage after they pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
The bronze memorial to the 17th century figure was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 7 2020, before being rolled into the water, and those responsible were acquitted on January 5 following an 11-day trial at the Old Bailey.
One of the activists cleared after toppling the monument insisted the verdict was not “a green light for everyone to start pulling down statues”.
Rhian Graham, 30, said: “This moment is about this statue in this city in this time.
“I will leave the fate of monuments in other cities to the citizens of those cities.”
Graham, the half-sister of singer Rag’n’Bone Man, told ITV ’s Good Morning Britain: “I have never felt like a criminal. I’m just thankful for the result.
“I really don’t think this is a green light for everyone to just start pulling down statues.”
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Destroying public property can never be acceptable.”
The new Crime and Sentencing Bill will let courts consider the “emotional or wider distress” of vandalising public property.
The current maximum jail for damage under £5,000 is three months.
The Bill aims to raise it to 10 years, regardless of value, to cover such things as wreaths at memorials.