June 26, 2020 / 11:04 AM / 3 days ago

Teenager who threw French boy from London art gallery roof jailed for life

LONDON (Reuters) - A British teenager who threw a six-year-old French boy from a 10th-floor viewing platform at the Tate Modern art gallery in London with the intention of killing him was jailed for at least 15 years on Friday and told he might never be freed.

The Tate Modern, including the 10th-floor viewing platform from where a six-year-old child was reportedly thrown, is seen in London, Britain, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Jonty Bravery, who was 17 at the time of the incident and told police he carried it out because he wanted to be on the television news, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder last December.

The unnamed victim, who was visiting Britain with his family, fell 100 feet (30 metres) after he was targeted by Bravery and was found on a fifth-floor roof. His mother was heard by witnesses screaming: “Where’s my son? Where’s my son?”

The boy survived but suffered a bleed to his brain and several fractured bones. Judge Maura McGowan said the boy’s life would never be the same again and his parents had been forced to give up their lives to care for him.

“You had intended to kill someone that day. You almost killed that 6-year-old boy,” she told Bravery.

Bravery, now 18, who was arrested shortly afterwards, told police he had planned to hurt someone at the museum to be on television. He had researched how to kill people on the internet the previous day and before the incident he had asked a member of the public the location of a tall building.

The teenager, who has autistic spectrum disorder and a personality disorder, was being held at the high security Broadmoor Hospital.

The judge at London’s Old Bailey court said his conditions did not alone explain his actions, adding he posed a “grave and immediate threat to the public”. She decided he should be jailed for life and serve a minimum of 15 years.

“You may never be released,” she said.

In a statement read out by a police officer on their behalf outside court, the victim’s parents said he had been able to eat again in January, could speak a little but remained very weak, with many years of physiotherapy ahead of him.

“He is still in a wheelchair today, wears splints on his left arm and both his legs and spends his days in a corset moulded to his waist sat in his wheelchair,” they said. “He is in pain. There are no words to express what we are going through.”

(Refiles to clarify jail sentence)

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Stephen Addison

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