LONDON -- A mentally ill 18-year-old who was said to have a big smile on his face after throwing a 6-year-old boy off the 10th floor viewing platform at London's Tate Modern art gallery will spend at least 15 years in custody for attempted murder - and may never be released, a judge said Friday.
Jonty Bravery of Ealing in west London admitted in December that he hurled the boy off the balcony. The French child, who was not identified, survived the 100-foot (30-meter) fall but suffered catastrophic injuries, including a bleed on the brain. He remains in a wheelchair and needs round-the-clock care.
“The fear he (the victim) must have experience,d and the horror his parents felt are beyond imagination,’’ said Central Criminal Court Judge Maura McGowan. “You had intended to kill someone that day. You almost killed that 6-year-old boy.”
McGowan acknowledged expert evidence that Bravery presents “a grave and immediate risk to the public.”
“You will spend the greater part - if not all - of your life detained. ... You may never be released,” she said.
Bravery watched the hearing the 20-minute hearing via video link from Broadmoor Hospital. He sat impassively, and occasionally placed his hands behind his head.
The outdoor viewing area and a rooftop bar sit atop the Tate Modern, which is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. Visitors to the open terrace get free panoramic views of the British capital.
Bravery stalked potential victims before scooping the boy up and over the railings after the child had skipped slightly ahead of his family.
Closed camera footage of the Aug. 4 attack showed Bravery backing away from the railing.
“He can be seen to be smiling, with his arms raised. At one point, he appears to shrug and laugh.” prosecutor Deanna Heer said. She said he turned to the boy’s father and said, “Yes I am mad.”
The family returned to France, and did not attend Friday's hearing.
“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,’’ the boy's parents said in a statement. “How can he not see in every stranger a potential ‘villain’ who could cause him immense pain and suffering?”