Teen admits attempted murder of French boy at London gallery

Sylvain PEUCHMAURD
The young boy suffered a broken spine, legs and arm in the attack, which happened in front of horrified visitors to the riverside contemporary art gallery on August 4

A British teenager on Friday pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a six-year-old French boy, who was thrown from the 10th floor viewing platform of London's Tate Modern art gallery.

Jonty Bravery, 18, admitted the charge during a hearing at the Central Criminal Court. He was remanded in custody pending psychiatric reports and sentencing on February 17.

The young boy suffered a broken spine, legs and arm in the attack, which happened in front of horrified visitors to the riverside contemporary art gallery on August 4.

Bravery, who was 17 at the time of the attack, appeared in court via videolink and spoke only to confirm his name, adding that his nationality as "white British".

Asked how he pleaded, he said: "I plead guilty. Guilty, yeah, correct."

His lawyer, Philippa McAtasney, told the court her client had autistic spectrum disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and was likely to have a personality disorder.

Prosecutor Emma Jones described the case as "devastating and shocking".

"The boy was singled out by Bravery, who threw him from the viewing platform intending to kill him," she said. "That he survived the five-storey fall was extraordinary."

Eyewitness accounts, security camera footage and Bravery's admissions after he was detained showed his actions were "pre-planned" and he had "little choice" but to plead guilty.

"There will be no trial as a result, and the boy's family are spared having to relive this traumatic experience in court," she said.

"This was a terrifying experience for the boy's parents and our thoughts are very much with them all at this difficult time. We hope he makes as full a recovery as possible."

After the court hearing, the boy's parents said in a statement that he needs "intensive rehabilitation" and had yet to recover the use of all his limbs or cognitive capabilities.

"He is constantly awoken by pain and he can't communicate that pain or call out to hospital staff," they said.

"Life stopped for us four months ago. We don't know when, or even if, we will be able to return to work, or return to our home, which is not adapted for a wheelchair," they added.

"We are exhausted, we don't know where this all leads, but we go on. We wish to thank all of the people, family and friends who have supported us throughout this horrific experience."

- Motive unclear -

A previous hearing in the case was told Bravery was seen wandering about the viewing platform before he threw the boy over the edge.

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 boy fell from the viewing platform onto a fifth-floor roof below.

Judge Andrew Edis ordered that Bravery's victim cannot be identified because of his age.

On November 10, the boy's parents revealed on a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than £150,000 ($197,000, 178,000 euros) for his treatment, that he was making "lots of progress".

"We can now bring him outside in a wheelchair to breathe fresh air," they wrote, adding that he was smiling, joking and beginning to move his legs again.

Detective Chief Inspector John Massey, of the Metropolitan Police, described the attack as "incredibly unusual and traumatic" and

He said the motive was unclear, despite Bravery's statements.

"What is clear is the damage that has been done to this family, who have remained courageous and dignified in the face of such trauma," he said.

Massey praised members of the public and security staff who detained Bravery before police arrived at Tate Modern, which is one of the most popular attractions in Britain.