Malcolm McLaren’s role in Banksy trial

THE LOOK can reveal that the late Malcolm McLaren was to be a witness for the prosecution in the trail which has resulted in suspended jail sentences for conmen Grant Champkins Howard of Croydon, south London and Lee Parker, of Eastbourne, Sussex.

At Kingston Crown Court yesterday (July 1), the  pair were each handed 12-month suspended sentences for selling fake Banksy prints on eBay.

“Neither of you should be under any illusion that I regard both of you as nothing more than a pair of old-fashioned conmen,” said Judge Suzan Matthews, who ordered the pair to complete 240 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months and imposed restraining orders preventing them from selling on the internet.

Parker, 45, and Champkins-Howard, 44, pleaded guilty to selling copies of genuine numbered prints on eBay, earning £57,000 over a three-year period.

Prosecutor Richard Mandel said they passed off the copies as being from official limited-edition numbered print runs made early on in the artist’s career, forging ownership documents and adding official numbers and stamps to some, which were sold for up to £2,000.

The Metropolitan Police recovered 120 prints during the investigation which, if sold as genuine, could have fetched £200,000-plus.

Champkins Howard and Parker denied conspiracy charges of copying and embellishing clothing by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and possessing articles for use in fraud.

It was this aspect of the case for which McLaren supplied testimony on behalf of the prosecution. His death in April – and Westwood’s unwillingness to comment – are understood to have been factors in the decision  for those charges to be ordered to lie on file.

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