Police in British Columbia, Canada are searching for the head of Queen Elizabeth II after a statue of the monarch was decapitated by vandals.
‘Investigators are asking for those with information to come forward after the Queen Elizabeth II statue in Beacon Hill Park was ‘beheaded’ in an act of vandalism,’ police in Victoria said in a statement. ‘The head has not been recovered.’
The statue, a version of a bust first erected in 1960, was vandalized overnight on Tuesday, at roughly the same time the city’s nearby bylaw offices were targeted with graffiti reading ‘Support Beacon Hill’, ‘Stop Lying’ and ‘FU Pig’.
Tensions have been increasing in Victoria after a massive homeless encampment sprung up in Beacon Hill Park when the pandemic shut down the city’s shelters.
Police in British Columbia, Canada are searching for the head of Queen Elizabeth II after a statue of the monarch was decapitated by vandals
The bronze bust has stood in Beacon Hill Park since 1962, when it replaced a concrete version that was defaced and ultimately also beheaded
In recent days, there have been a number of attacks in and near the park on bylaw officers, who are tasked with municipal code enforcement.
On Tuesday, a man allegedly smashed a sledgehammer into the front windshield of a City of Victoria bylaw truck before fleeing into the park, according to the National Post.
Last week, a shovel-wielding man needed to be arrested at gunpoint after he threatened passing bylaw officers at another Victoria park.
The attacks may stem from disputes over tent structures erected by homeless campers in Beacon Hill Park.
A resident of the encampment who identified himself as Richard claimed credit for the sledgehammer attack, telling CHEK-DT that city workers were removing his tent and belongings when he snapped.
Tensions have been increasing in Victoria after a massive homeless encampment sprung up in Beacon Hill Park when the pandemic shut down the city’s shelters
The defaced bust of Queen Elizabeth is a version of a statue first erected in Victoria’s City Hall in 1960, one of Canada’s first statues honoring the Queen following her 1953 coronation.
The initial concrete version of the bust was stolen from City Hall in a brazen heist by university students, but recovered without incident.
After it was installed in Beacon Hill Park, the concrete statue suffered a number of attacks with chisels, before the head was removed and thrown into the city’s harbor.
The bronze replacement was installed in 1962 and proved more resilient. On a visit in 1994 for the Victoria Commonwealth Games, the Queen herself even formally unveiled the bronze statue, which was the version beheaded this week.
After the repeated vandalism to her work in the 1960s, sculptor Peggy Walton Packard never accepted another public art commission.
”It was awful. It seemed the university students were attacking the Queen and indirectly attacking me, too,’ Walton said prior to her death in 2010, at the age of 95.