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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 11:43 GMT
'Windowsill' vases stun visitor
Qing vases from Fitzwilliam Museum
The vases were among the best known artefacts at the museum
A man who broke priceless Chinese vases at the Fitzwilliam Museum has said he was surprised that valuable items were "just left lying on a windowsill".

Nick Flynn said it was a "regrettable accident" when he tripped on his shoelaces and fell down stairs, shattering three 300-year Qing vases.

The museum director has written to Mr Flynn asking him not to visit again "in the near future".

The vases were among the best known artefacts at the Cambridge museum.

"I snagged my shoelace, missed a step and crash, bang, wallop and there was a million pieces of high quality Qing ceramics lying around underneath me," Mr Flynn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

I have a few household accidents, maybe drop a cup or two, smash a plate - but nothing like this has ever happened to me before
Nick Flynn

"I suppose that seeing as they were the prize possession of the museum they were just left lying on a windowsill, I thought they might take a bit better care of them," he added.

Mr Flynn was not injured in the fall about a fortnight ago, but said he was "still a bit stiff, but I'm on the mend".

Museum director Duncan Robinson had asked Mr Flynn, by letter, "not to visit in the near future" but added he was willing to discuss the situation.

Mr Flynn said people "in the top echelons of the museum" do not know him as well as the regular staff who have always been friendly to him - and have continued to be friendly since the accident.

"I think [the management] are a bit embarrassed at the moment, with them being worth such a considerable amount.

No malicious intent

"There's no way that my pocket will stretch to reimburse them for the damage that I've done."

The police said the breakage was not malicious damage and no further action would be taken.

Asked if he was a clumsy Mr Flynn said: "Well, I've been driving for a considerable amount of time and not had any serious accidents, and I seem to have most of my faculties.

"I have a few household accidents, maybe drop a cup or two, smash a plate, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear from the man who broke three 300-year-old vases



SEE ALSO:
Historic vases smashed in stumble
30 Jan 06 |  Cambridgeshire


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