A teenager who threw a young French boy from the viewing platform of the Tate Modern art gallery last August has been sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.
Jonty Bravery, 18, pleaded guilty to attempted murder after hurling the six-year-old victim from the 10th floor of the London tourist attraction.
The boy suffered a bleed to the brain, fractures to his spine and broken legs and arms following the fall, and spent over a month in hospital in the UK before being discharged to a hospital in France.
He remains in a wheelchair, and will require 100% care support until at least August 2022. It is uncertain if he will ever make a full recovery, the court heard as Bravery was being sentenced.
At the time of the attack he was living in a flat in Northolt, west London, with round-the-clock care by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
A recording from autumn 2018, obtained following a joint investigation by BBC News and the Daily Mail, allegedly reveals him telling his carers of a plan to kill someone because he is fed up and wants to go to prison.
The audio, reported to be the voice of Bravery, says: “In the next few months I’ve got it in my head I’ve got to kill somebody.”
The court heard the victim and his family, on holiday from France, arrived at the Tate Modern viewing platform at 2.32pm on August 4, having spent the day sightseeing and having a picnic by the river.
CCTV then caught Bravery turning towards the victim’s family, with the boy skipping a little way away from his parents, PA Media reports.
Prosecutor Deanna Heer said: “As [the boy] approached, the defendant scooped him up and, without any hesitation, carried him straight to the railings and threw him over.
“The CCTV footage shows [the boy] falling head-first towards the ground.”
Heer said CCTV also showed the defendant backing away from the railings.
“He can be seen to be smiling, with his arms raised. At one point, he appears to shrug and laugh,” she said.
“The footage also captures [the victim’s] parents’ disbelief and rising panic at what had just happened.”
She said the boy’s father initially thought the incident was “a joke” until he saw his son’s body below.
Challenged by the father, Bravery said: “Yes, I am mad,” the prosecutor said.
Following his arrest, Bravery was said to have asked police if he was going to be “on the news”.
He said that he had been “seriously unhappy” recently and had been “hearing voices” telling him to hurt and kill people for the last couple of months.
He said he had to do anything he could to get out of his accommodation.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was visiting London with his family at the time and spent several weeks in intensive care.
A victim impact statement from the victim’s parents, taken six months after the incident, said they had not left their son’s side at all, other than for just a couple of hours.
They said: “The act committed by this defendant against our son is unspeakable.
“We have been so scared of losing him that now it is impossible for us to spend more than a few hours away from him.”
They said their son was unable to trust people, and said the boy “would like to slap” Bravery for what he did.
The six-year-old continues to recover in hospital and, according to an update posted on a fundraising site in May, is now wearing two boot splints and one on his arm.
“Our child has only his two boot-shaped splints now, and a splint on his left arm that he wears only at night. He still has to spend his day in a shape moulded seating fixed on his wheelchair,” the post, dated May 15, reads.
“His sentences are always hashed, syllable by syllable, because he still lacks breath and muscle tone. We don’t always understand everything he says, especially when he’s tired but he expresses himself more and more.“
In March, the family put out a statement to say: “He can now eat all soft foods and can almost eat all of his meals on his own, holding his spoon himself with his right hand.
“As he has more strength, he also has more breathe and for that reason, we understand better what he says and he manages to speak to us more.
“At last, he continues to train to open his left hand during the exercises but he now manages to move his left arm a little to the right and a little to the left, in front of him.
“Only few movements, very approximate and they exhaust him so much that he very quickly starts yawning, but for him, it’s the beginning of the reconquest of his left arm!”