Man pleads guilty to Oxfordshire theft of £4.8m golden toilet

A man has pleaded guilty to the theft of a £4.8m golden toilet from the Oxfordshire country house where Winston Churchill was born.

Blenheim Palace’s 18-carat lavatory was stolen in September 2019 while it was featuring in an art exhibition. James Sheen, 39, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to burglary, converting or transferring criminal property and conspiracy to do the same at Oxford crown court.

The fully functioning toilet was created by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. As it was plumbed in at the time, the heist caused flooding and damage to the 18th century palace in Woodstock.

Sheen appeared in court via video link from HMP Five Wells, where he is already serving a 17-year sentence for numerous thefts including £400,000-worth of tractors and high-value trophies from the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket.

Three other men have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft of the toilet. Michael Jones, 38, from Oxford, is accused of burglary.

Frederick Sines, aka Frederick Doe, from Berkshire, and Bora Guccuk, 40, of west London, are both accused of conspiracy to transfer criminal property. The men are due to go on trial on 24 February 2025.

The Guardian