The ex-wife of a millionaire property tycoon was on Monday described as an “inconsistent” and not credible witness after a former friend was acquitted in 15 minutes of charges she damaged a £30,000 oil painting. Caroline de Havillande claimed her former friend Gillian Kings deliberately scratched the painting after the pair had fallen out in a row over the loan of a handbag. Ms de Havillande had previously lived in a £10 million home overlooking Hyde Park with her estranged husband Guy de Havillande, a property tycoon dubbed the King of Belgravia. The Harry Bilson oil painting was being stored at Ms Kings’ address because Ms de Havillande’s current home is not big enough to hold it. But when Ms de Havillande’s mother Mary Quinlan arrived to pick up the painting and return the handbag she claimed Ms Kings attacked it “like a demon” deliberately scratching it three or four times. Prosecutor Stuart Sampson told Hammersmith Magistrates court: “At about 7pm on November 6 Ms Quinlan attended her home address in a taxi to collect the painting. “Kings said it wasn’t a good time. She became angry and aggressive when the painting was going to be exchanged and, I should say, a handbag was being returned. “The handbag was returned. The painting was brought down and the allegation is Kings scratched it with her right hand and scratched it three or four times.”Giving evidence in the trial, Mary Quinlin told the court when she tried to exchange the handbag for the painting Ms Kings “lunged at it and attacked the painting”. Ms Quinlan said: “She was something mad, like a demon, just grabbing at it and trying to pull it back. She was drawing her hand down the painting. Then we came out and the driver saw the damage.” Ms de Havillande said she had bought the piece directly from the artist in 1993 and it was worth £25,000 to £30,000. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.