Portrait of Queen vandalised at Westminster Abbey

A portrait of the Queen in Westminster Abbey has been vandalised.

The painting by Ralph Heimans had only been on display for a few weeks before the incident yesterday afternoon.

The vandal scrawled "help" onto the painting, which was created for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The painting was purchased by Westminster Abbey and was supposed to be on public display until September but it has now had to be withdrawn.

"Until work can be done to remedy the damage it will – very regrettably – not be possible to have the painting on public view," the abbey said in a statement.

The suspect is reported to be 41-year-old Fathers4Justice protester Tim Haries, who was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday charged with criminal damage over £5,000.