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Wednesday, 25 March, 1998, 10:52 GMT
Man 'stole body parts' for art
Anthony-Noel Kelly
Anthony-Noel Kelly denies stealing body parts to help create his sculptures
A court has been told how an artist stole a large number of dismembered body parts from the Royal College of Surgeons to make "macabre" sculptures.

Anthony-Noel Kelly, 42, a sculpture tutor, paid an insider to help him wrap the parts in black bin liners and then smuggle them out at night in a rucksack, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Police began investigating his activities after he staged a controversial exhibition of his work at the beginning of last year.

Mr Kelly
Mr Kelly accused the Royal College of Surgeons of treating body parts in an 'unattractive way'
After he was arrested officers found human remains in the grounds of his home in Kent.

Other remains were also allegedly discovered in a basement of a flat belonging to a girlfriend in Brixton, south-west London.

Mr Kelly, of Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, south-west London, and Niel Lindsay, 25, of Boleyn Road, Stoke Newington, north London, deny one charge of stealing "human anatomical specimens" from the RCS between June 1991 and November 1994.

Kelly also pleads not guilty to dishonestly handling them.

Andrew Campbell-Tiech, prosecuting, told the jury the "exceptional, unusual and macabre" case was not about art or even public outrage.

"It is simply the means that messrs Kelly and Lindsay pursued deliberately, pursuant to Mr Kelly's desire ultimately to exhibit and sell his work."

It was the Crown's case the means were "obviously dishonest".

The barrister said that in 1993, RCS authorities gave Kelly access to body parts for artistic purposes.

During one of his visits to sketch preserved remains he met and became friends with Lindsay, a trainee lab technician at the institution.

dead face
The artist allegedly wanted to make exact copies of body parts
Mr Campbell-Tiech said the sculptor wanted to go further and make moulds of some of the body parts he was sketching to create "exact copy" sculptures.

Kelly and Lindsay, who was allegedly paid 400 by the artist for his help, then smuggled out a "large number" of body parts.

But newspaper publicity about the exhibition set alarm bells ringing and led Her Majesty's Inspector of Anatomy, Dr Laurence Martin, to complain to police.

Mr Campbell-Tiech said that when first questioned Kelly tried to hide Lindsay's alleged involvement.

But after he was identified from an entry in the sculptor's diary, both men launched a "barrage of criticism" against the RCS.

They argued it treated body parts in an "unattractive way", breaking the law over the length of time they were allowed to keep them, and disposing of some unwanted bits at an Imperial Cancer Research Fund incinerator.

The College denied it had acted improperly.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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