Judge warns teenager ‘may never be released’ after throwing boy off Tate gantry

A mentally ill and violent teenager who threw a six-year-old boy from the Tate Modern viewing gantry when he was allowed out unsupervised has been told he "may never be released" after being jailed for at least 15 years for attempted murder.

Jonty Bravery, now 18, was said to have had "a big smile on his face" when he was challenged by horrified onlookers – including the victim's distraught and disbelieving parents – moments after hurling the young tourist over railings.

The victim survived the 100ft (30m) fall, but suffered life-changing injuries – including a bleed on the brain and multiple broken bones – and remains in a wheelchair. He will require round-the-clock care support until at least 2022.

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Tate Modern incident
Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery, where a teenager has been arrested after a child fell from height and has been taken to hospital from the gallery in central London by air ambulance.
Police officers overlook from the viewing platform at the Tate Modern art gallery, following the arrest of a 17-year-old male on suspicion of attempted murder after a six-year-old boy was thrown from the tenth floor viewing platform.
A sign posted outside of the Tate Modern reminds visitors the gallery closed earlier today due to an incident in which a teenager has been arrested after a child fell from height and was taken to hospital from the gallery in central London by air ambulance.
Visitors outside the Tate Modern as the gallery closed earlier today due to an incident in which a teenager has been arrested after a child fell from height and was taken to hospital from the gallery in central London by air ambulance.
Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery, where a teenager has been arrested after a child fell from height and has been taken to hospital from the gallery in central London by air ambulance.
Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery, where a teenager has been arrested after a child fell from height and has been taken to hospital from the gallery in central London by air ambulance.
A general view of Tate Modern art gallery, where emergency crews attended a scene following the arrest of a 17-year-old male on suspicion of attempted murder after a six-year-old boy was thrown from the tenth floor viewing platform (top left).
A secutiry guard secures the entrance as people stand 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
People talk to a secutiry guard securing the entrance to 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
People cross the Millennium Footbridge across the River Thames with the Tate Modern gallery in the background 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view shows the Tate Modern gallery on the southern bank of the River Thames 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
A London Air Ambulance helicopter takes off from 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
Police, paramedics 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
People walk 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 / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sentencing Bravery, of Ealing in west London, Old Bailey judge Mrs Justice McGowan said: "The fear he (the victim) must have experienced and the horror his parents felt are beyond imagination.

"You had intended to kill someone that day – you almost killed that six-year-old boy."

She said Bravery's autism spectrum disorder (ASD) did not explain the attack, and acknowledged expert evidence he presents "a grave and immediate risk to the public".

The judge added: "You will spend the greater part – if not all – of your life detained ... you may never be released."

Well-built Bravery, who was wearing a white T-shirt and dark shorts, sat impassively with his legs crossed and occasionally placed his hands behind his head as he watched the 20-minute hearing via videolink from Broadmoor Hospital.

The court heard Bravery had been in supported accommodation under the care of Hammersmith and Fulham Social Services, with one-to-one supervision, and had a history of lashing out at staff.

Despite this, he was allowed to leave home, unsupervised, for up to four hours at a time.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer said there was evidence Bravery had long harboured his intent to seriously hurt or kill someone, with the teenager's admissions apparently caught on a "shocking, prophetic" secret recording made by carers. The alarm was not raised with Bravery's parents.

It was on Sunday August 4 2019 that Bravery – who has a mental disorder – left his accommodation and travelled to the Tate Modern in central London, spending at least 15 minutes stalking potential victims before "scooping" a six-year-old boy up and over the railings as the youngster skipped slightly ahead of his family.

Tate modern fall incident
Emergency crews attending the Tate Modern art gallery, after Jonty Bravery threw a young boy from the viewing platform (Greg Ritchie/PA)

CCTV footage not shown in court captured the incident, then showed Bravery backing away from the railings.

The prosecutor said: "He can be seen to be smiling, with his arms raised. At one point, he appears to shrug and laugh."

Ms Heer told the court Bravery then told the boy's father: "Yes I am mad."

He was also heard to say, with a shrug: "It's not my fault, it's social services' fault," the lawyer said.

It later emerged that Bravery initially sought to carry out his grim attack at the Shard, Britain's tallest building, but baulked at the entry fee.

Following his arrest, Bravery was said to have asked police if he was going to be "on the news".

He said he had been "seriously unhappy" recently and that he had to do anything he could to get out of his accommodation.

Tate modern fall incident
The scene at the Tate Modern art gallery, where a six-year-old French boy was thrown by Jonty Bravery (Stuart Haggas/PA)

Bravery admitted attempted murder at the Old Bailey last December.

Ms Heer told the court: "He said he had to prove a point to 'every idiot' who had ever said he did not have a mental health problem that he should not be in the community."

Bravery later disclosed to a psychiatrist that he planned the offence well in advance and researched the easiest way to kill someone, narrowing it down to three possibilities – strangling a woman or a child, drowning a child, or throwing someone off a tall building.

Defence counsel Philippa McAtasney QC said her client was immature, and said it "beggars belief" that he was deemed suitable to go out unsupervised.

She said Bravery's parent's "abhor" what he did and cannot forgive him, but feel "let down by the system".

In a victim impact statement taken in February, the boy's parents described Bravery's actions as "unspeakable".

The couple, who have now returned with their son to their native France, said: "Words cannot express the horror and fear his actions have brought up on us and our son who now, six months on, is wondering why he's in hospital.

"How can he not see in every stranger a potential 'villain' who could cause him immense pain and suffering?"

No members of the victim's or Bravery's family were present in court for the sentencing.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council said a serious case review had been ordered.

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