Just Stop Oil campaigners deny damaging Van Gogh painting in gallery protest

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Three climate protesters have denied damaging a Vincent Van Gogh painting at an art gallery in London.

Just Stop Oil supporters Emily Brocklebank, 23, Xavier Gonzales-Trimmer, 21, and Louis McKechnie, 21, are accused of causing £2,200 of criminal damage to the painting’s frame.

It relates to an incident in which activists allegedly attached themselves to Van Gogh’s 1889 work Peach Trees In Blossom at the Courtauld Gallery, on the Strand, on June 30.

Brocklebank, from Leeds, pleaded not guilty in person at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday afternoon while McKechnie, who was produced in custody, entered the same plea.

Gonzales-Trimmer did not attend the hearing.

The court heard the value of the alleged damage is “disputed”.

Aneka Thirurajah, defending, said: “They don’t dispute presence but they do dispute involvement.”

Brocklebank was granted conditional bail not to attend the art gallery while McKechnie was returned to HMP Peterborough.

A one-day trial will take place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 22.