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Tate Modern teen threw boy off platform ‘to prove he needed mental health support’ | UK News



An autistic teenager who threw a six-year-old boy from the Tate Modern viewing platform had a “well-documented history of violent behaviour” and was only allowed to leave his supported accommodation for four hours a day without supervision, the Old Bailey has heard.

Jonty Bravery, 18, said he wanted to highlight his apparent discontent with his treatment for a host of mental health issues when he committed the offence in front of horrified onlookers at the London tourist attraction on 4 August last year.

Police, ambulance crews and fire crews are seen outside the Tate Modern gallery in London on August 4, 2019 after it was put on lock down and evacuated after an incident involving a child falling from height and being airlifted to hospital. - London's Tate Modern gallery was evacuated on Sunday after a child fell "from a height" and was airlifted to hospital. A teenager was arrested over the incident, police said, without giving any details of the child's condition. (Photo by Daniel SORABJI / AF
Police, ambulance crews and fire crews attended the scene

CCTV footage apparently showed Bravery, then 17, looking over the edge of the art gallery balcony, 10 storeys up, before seizing the young victim by the limbs and hurling him headfirst over the edge.

Witnesses described Bravery smiling and laughing immediately afterwards before being approached by members of the public. When asked by the victim’s father if he was mad, Bravery responded “yes, I am mad”.

Bravery, from Ealing in west London, then sought out Tate staff and confessed: “I think I’ve murdered someone, I’ve just thrown someone off the balcony.”

Bravery’s victim, who cannot be named because of a reporting restriction due to his age, suffered a bleed to the brain, spinal fractures, and broken legs and arms.

The latest update on a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than £200,000 for the boy’s medical treatment in France, said he remained in a wheelchair and had problems eating, speaking and moving, but was continuing to make progress.

In a statement read to the court, the boy’s family said that the fact their son “is alive and fighting” is all that matters to them, adding that they struggle to explain to their child what had happened.

They described the incident at the Tate Modern as “unspeakable” and “unforgivable”.

While the statement was read to the court, Bravery, who appeared by video link from Broadmoor Hospital, got up from his chair and sat on the floor with his face against a wall. At other times he pulled up his t-shirt over his head and could be seen yawning and stretching his arms.

Jonty Bravery is accused of attempted murder
Jonty Bravery is accused of attempted murder

No members of Bravery’s family, or the victim’s, appeared in court at the Old Bailey.

The court heard that Bravery had initially attempted to enter The Shard on 4 August but he didn’t have enough money for a ticket.

After asking a member of the public where the next highest building was, he headed to the viewing platform of the Tate Modern.

He was seen wandering around the viewing platform, at one point following another family with small children, before picking up his victim and throwing him over the edge – with the child falling five storeys, around 30m (100ft).

The six-year-old is no longer in a life-threatening condition
The six-year-old was flown to hospital

Bravery later told police he had to prove a point “to every idiot” who said he had no mental health problems, asking police if the incident was going to be on the news.

“I wanted to be on the news so everyone, especially my parents, could see their mistakes in not putting me in a hospital,” he said.

Bravery, who has autistic spectrum disorder and a personality disorder, has been held at Broadmoor Hospital since mid-October.

He told psychiatrists that when he threw the boy off, he felt “indestructible” and “on top of the world”, adding that he was disappointed that the boy didn’t die, as he wanted to be “locked away for life”.

Giving evidence in court, Dr Joanna Dow, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who works at Broadmoor, recommended Bravery be detained in hospital, rather than handed a prison sentence, so he could get treatment such as anger management and to learn social communication and interaction skills.

Dr Dow said it would be “many, many years” before Bravery was released and that any release would be done with a “very gradual approach”, with him stepping down to a medium-secure unit.

She said it was “hard to envisage” Bravery ever being released into the community.

The judge, Mrs Justice McGowan, said she will not sentence Bravery until Friday morning.

She said: “It is obviously not a straightforward case.”

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