Boy, nine, thrown off Tate Modern balcony one step closer to recovery

Boy, nine, who was severely injured after being thrown 100ft off Tate Modern balcony celebrates birthday with friends for first time since attack – as family reveal he is ‘one step closer to a classic life’

  • The youngster was six years old when he was thrown some 100ft from a balcony
  • The French boy suffered life changing injuries but has been slowly improving
  • ‘How can one explain to a child that someone deliberately tried to kill him?’ his parents asked, referring to autistic teenager Jonty Bravery jailed for 15 years

The boy who was thrown from the 10th floor of London’s Tate Modern art gallery has been able to celebrate his birthday with other children for the first time since the attack.

The French youngster was six years old when he was seriously injured in the fall after autistic teenager Jonty Bravery threw him off the top of the tourist attraction in August 2019.

Bravery grabbed the youngster and threw him from a viewing balcony in the gallery onto the ground some 100ft below. 

The boy suffered life changing injuries but has been slowly improving back in France.

In a post on a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than 353,000 euro (nearly £300,000) for the boy’s treatment and rehabilitation, his family said: ‘Our son was able to invite classmates and even one of his buddies from our old town was able to come!

‘They had a great afternoon together, despite their differences in mobility.

‘It was exhausting for us, but it was a step closer to a classic life, and it’s worth it.’

He was able to return to school last May, not long after his parents said their ‘lives were in ruins’ following the attack.

They feared their son would never walk again, and that the psychological damage from the trauma would stay with him for the rest of his life.

‘How can one explain to a child that someone deliberately tried to kill him?’ they asked.

Jonty Bravery, pictured, grabbed the youngster and threw him from a viewing balcony in the gallery onto the ground some 100ft below

Emergency crews attend a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery on August 4, 2019

The boy is moving his left ankle, has strengthened his back, and even tried to use the school canteen but is still very sensitive to noise.

He complained of having earache after the canteen meal and next week his occupational therapist will lend him noise-cancelling headphones to see if it can help soothe his eardrums when needed.

Bravery was convicted of attempted murder in 2020 and jailed for 15 years.

He was living in supported accommodation in Northolt, West London, at the time he struck, and had a history of violence against staff. 

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

In April 2019, Bravery punched a care worker and a member of Burger King restaurant staff whilst on a supervised trip to Brighton.

Following his arrest, he assaulted a custody officer and urinated in the waiting room.

Bravery is serving a minimum 15-year jail term in HMP Belmarsh, pictured. He was arrested inside the prison on Thursday and taken to a south London police station for questioning having been arrested on suspicion of raping a fellow prisoner

The judge 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’.

Last year, police arrested Bravery again on suspicion of raping a man in prison. Bravery is alleged to have attacked a man in his 30s in the shower block

When he was first prospected for the attempted murder in 2020, Bravery was granted anonymity by a court because of his age, being only 17 when he threw the young boy off of the balcony, but order expired on his 18th birthday.

Documents released under a Freedom of Information request show Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council paid £12,400 over the course of four court hearings as they fought with the press over naming the teenager. 

The young French boy was given anonymity, which also extends to the identity of his parents so he cannot be identified through them.   

He is still in a wheelchair today, and wears splints on his left arm and both of his legs. Up until recently, he spent most days in a corset molded to his waist and sat in his wheelchair.

Bravery, who has autism and a personality disorder, was a ‘looked after child’ under the care of Hammersmith and Fulham council at the time he struck – telling horrified onlookers social services were to blame for the atrocity

His family said the new ankle movement is ‘still light of course, but clearly visible for two weeks’.

They added: ‘Our little knight is standing more and more upright (he has gained muscle tone and strengthened his back) and he has made enough progress in his right ankle for his doctor to decide to remove the splint from the right foot!

‘Our son therefore only has two splints left, on the left foot and on the left hand. Little by little, his armour is disappearing!’

The boy also has a ‘strong desire’ to go in the water as he had always liked swimming but this can now only be managed with ‘great vigilance’, according to his relatives.

They said: ‘He still can’t put his head under water because of his swallowing difficulties. Our son has to start all over again from the beginning but that doesn’t scare him!’

The family added: ‘Some periods are so difficult. Sadness and discouragement would sometimes take hold of us, but we must hold on and focus on all the progress made.

‘Thank you so much for continuing to think of our little knight and for encouraging us.’

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