Artist is left with £50,000 court bill after four year legal battle

An artist who painted a controversial picture of Boris Johnson and invited the public to deface it has been left with a court bill of over £50,000 after a four-year row with her neighbour over a £4,000 parking space.

Helen Masacz and her civil servant neighbour Bernard Chaney, 62, spent more than £110,000 fighting over parking rights in a battle that a judge said ended with 'no winner' - as the pair must now split the hefty bill. 

Mr Chaney wanted to create a space so a car could be parked alongside Ms Masacz's vehicle outside their adjoining north London homes - and demanded that she pay half the £4,000 cost for the work.

But the artist objected to her neighbour's plans and refused to pay, leading to a four-year-long clash that racked up the £110,000 bill.

A judge has now ruled the work can be done and ordered the pair to split the costs of the case.

Ms Masacz had sparked controversy in November 2018 when she offered guests at a special event a chance to deface her painting of Boris Johnson after she became disillusioned with his stance on Brexit.

Helen Masacz, pictured, and her civil servant neighbour Bernard Chaney, 62, spent more than £110,000 fighting over parking rights in a battle that a judge said ended with 'no winner'

Helen Masacz, pictured, and her civil servant neighbour Bernard Chaney, 62, spent more than £110,000 fighting over parking rights in a battle that a judge said ended with 'no winner'

Her £10,000 picture, which once hung in the National Portrait Gallery, depicted the then Mayor of London holding a large mollusc, reflecting his description of himself as hard on the outside and soft in the middle.

Guests were provided with brushes at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery event to daub paint over the work before it was auctioned off for charity.

Judge Mark Raeside QC at Central London County Court said Mr Chaney had 'bullied' amputee Ms Masacz during their neighbours' face-off.

But in the end neither had got all they wanted and should split the court costs, the judge ordered, with Mr Chaney also having to pay for the work and give Mrs Masacz £5,000 on top.

Judge Mark Raeside QC at Central London County Court said Bernard Chaney had 'bullied' amputee Ms Masacz during their neighbours' face-off

Judge Mark Raeside QC at Central London County Court said Bernard Chaney had 'bullied' amputee Ms Masacz during their neighbours' face-off

This image shows Ms Masacz's downstairs flat in Palmers Green with a car parked in front. Mr Chaney, who lives in Belgium and rents out the property, is the owner of the flat located above

This image shows Ms Masacz's downstairs flat in Palmers Green with a car parked in front. Mr Chaney, who lives in Belgium and rents out the property, is the owner of the flat located above

Lawyers for the pair earlier estimated that the case, which involved five hearings before judges, had run up legal bills totalling more than £110,000 - over work that would cost just over £4,000.

'Neither party can be considered to have been successful in any meaningful way,' said the judge.

During the trial earlier this year, Central London County Court heard that Ms Masacz has parked in front of her £500,000 garden flat exclusively since moving in 17 years ago. 

She ended up in court after her neighbour, Mr Chaney - who lives in Belgium but owns the maisonette above her in Palmers Green, north London - came to her with plans to create a second parking space on the

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