UK teen to be sentenced for throwing boy off Tate balcony

by Alice Ritchie

A British teenager who threw a six-year-old French boy off the 10th floor of London’s Tate Modern art gallery will be sentenced on Thursday for attempted murder.

Jonty Bravery, 18, has admitted trying to kill the child on the viewing platform of the riverside tourist attraction on August 4 last year, in front of a crowd of horrified visitors.

The sentencing hearing is listed for all day on Thursday at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in central London, starting from 0900 GMT.

The young boy, who was visiting London with his family at the time of the attack, broke his spine, legs and arms as he fell onto a fifth-floor roof below.

Prosecutors say he was lucky to be alive, but according to an update on a fundraising website set up by his family, he still struggles to talk, eat and walk.

At a court hearing in December, Bravery’s lawyer said his client, who was 17 at the time of the offense, had been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder and was likely to also have a personality disorder.

Bravery was seen wandering about the viewing platform before he threw the boy over the edge, according to an earlier hearing.

He then told a member of staff: “I think I’ve murdered someone. I’ve just thrown someone off the balcony.”

The court was told he claimed to have heard voices tell him he had to hurt or kill people, and that he said to police he wanted to “prove” he had a mental health problem.

The child’s identity is protected by a court order because of his age, but his parents have issued statements through a GoFundMe page that has so far raised almost 234,000 euros ($260,000) for his care.

In the latest update on May 15, they said: “our little knight has continued to make progress”.

He spends his days in a shape-molded seat fixed to his wheelchair but can sit on the floor long enough to play a little.

“He cannot yet move to retrieve a car that has gone too far, for example, but he can play by staying in the same place by grabbing his toys with his right arm,” they said.

With a walker he can stand and with help can take a few steps, and “is very impatient to be able to walk on his own as before!” they added.

Speech is still difficult and he cannot eat and drink properly, but he “begins to remember new things, which means that the connections are gradually being re-established in his brain”.

“There is still a long way to go but we are holding on, even confined and masked” because of the coronavirus outbreak, they said. (AFP)