Autistic teenager pleads guilty to attempted murder after throwing boy from Tate balcony
An autistic teenager who admitted throwing a six-year-old boy from a viewing platform at the Tate Modern art gallery told police he wanted to be on the news.
Jonty Bravery (pictured) said he wanted to highlight his apparent discontent with his treatment for a host of mental health issues when he committed the offence at the London tourist attraction on August 4.
CCTV footage apparently showed the then-17-year-old looking over the edge of the balcony, 10 storeys up, before seizing the victim by the limbs and hurling him over the edge.
It can now be reported that Bravery, who turned 18 in October, is then said to have sought out a Tate Modern manager and confessed: “I think I’ve murdered someone, I’ve just thrown someone off the balcony.”
He told police he heard voices in his head telling him to kill or injure someone.
Bravery, of Ealing in west London, appeared via video link at the Old Bailey on Friday to admit one charge of attempted murder.
He will be sentenced in February.
His victim, who cannot be named because of a reporting restriction, suffered a bleed to the brain, fractures to his spine and broken legs and arms following the fall.
The boy was visiting London with his family at the time and is now said to be continuing his recovery in his native France after several weeks in intensive care.
Around £130,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe website since the incident.
In a statement, the victim’s family said: “Our son still needs intensive rehabilitation since he hasn’t recovered mobility in all limbs or cognitive capacities.
“He is constantly awoken by pain and he can’t communicate that pain or call out to hospital staff.
“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.
“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.”
Bravery, who has autistic spectrum disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and is likely to have a personality disorder, has been held at Broadmoor Hospital since mid-October.
The court previously heard how Bravery was seen wandering about the viewing platform before picking up his victim and throwing him over the edge – the youngster falling five storeys, around 30m (100ft).
He then approached a member of staff, explaining what he had done.
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.
He said: “I wanted to be on the news, who I am and why I did it, so when it is official no-one can say anything else.”
In a series of social media posts, which have since been deleted, Piers Bravery – father of the defendant – attempted to raise awareness of autism and its treatment.
In one tweet to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, posted less than three months before the incident, Mr Bravery said: “Yes, @MattHancock, you do have a duty. You are a public servant so do your job and stop more children dying and being abused in these repugnant institutions.”
The public was initially banned from knowing Bravery’s identity due to a reporting restriction protecting the then-17-year-old from being named. But it was lifted as he turned 18.
Comments Bravery made in the aftermath were also subject to a court order, which was lifted by Mr Justice Edis on Friday.
Commenting on the case, CPS prosecutor Emma Jones said: “This devastating and shocking incident at the Tate Modern on 4 August of this year changed the lives of Bravery’s young victim and his family forever.
“The boy was singled out by Bravery, who threw him from the viewing platform intending to kill him.
“That he survived the five-storey fall was extraordinary.
“Eye witness accounts and CCTV footage, along with Bravery’s admissions at the time of the arrest that his actions were pre-planned, meant he had little choice but to accept responsibility for his actions.”
Detective Chief Inspector John Massey said: “This was an incredibly unusual and traumatic event and I can only imagine the horror the victim’s family felt as they realised what had happened to their child.
“The motive behind Jonty Bravery’s actions remains unclear. However, 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, in addition to widespread media coverage of the incident.”
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