Jonty Bravery has been jailed for life for attempted murder when he threw a six-year-old boy from the Tate Modern viewing gantry
A mentally ill and violent teenager who threw a six-year-old boy from the Tate Modern viewing gantry has been jailed for life for attempted murder.
Jonty Bravery, 18, was believed to have had ‘a big smile on his face’ moments after hurling the young tourist on the railings.
A judge today branded him ‘a danger to the public’ who ‘intended to kill’ the victim.
Bravery executed his in the pipeline attack when he was allowed on an unsupervised trip to the art gallery.
The victim, a French boy, survived the 100ft fall, but suffered life-changing injuries – including a bleed on the mind and multiple broken bones – and remains in a wheelchair. He will demand round-the-clock care support until at least 2022.
He was challenged by the victim’s horrified father who asked: ‘Are you mad?’, to which he replied ‘Yes, I’m mad’.
Sentencing Bravery, of Ealing in west London, Old Bailey judge Mrs Justice McGowan said: ‘The fear he (the victim) should have experienced and the horror his parents felt are beyond imagination.
‘You had intended to kill someone that day – you very nearly killed that six-year-old boy.’
She said Bravery’s autism spectrum disorder (ASD) did not explain the attack, and acknowledged expert evidence he gift ideas ‘a grave and immediate risk to the public’.
The judge added: ‘You will spend the greater part – if not all – in your life detained … you might never be released.’
Bravery executed his in the pipeline attack when he was allowed on an unsupervised trip to the art gallery. The victim, a French boy, survived the 100ft fall, but suffered life-changing injuries – including a bleed on the mind and multiple broken bones – and remains in a wheelchair
Sentencing Bravery, of Ealing in west London, Old Bailey judge Mrs Justice McGowan said: ‘The fear he (the victim) should have experienced and the horror his parents felt are beyond imagination’. Pictured: A court sketch of Bravery appearing via video link from Broadmoor Hospital
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 brief history of lashing out at staff.
Despite this, that he was permitted to leave home, unsupervised, for around four hours at a time.
Prosecutor Deanna Heer said there clearly was evidence Bravery had long harboured his intent to earnestly hurt or kill some body, 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 the very 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.
Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery on August 4, 2019
CCTV footage perhaps 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 generally seems 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 express, 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 believed to have asked police if he would definitely be ‘on the news’.
He said he had been ‘seriously unhappy’ recently and that he had to do any such thing he could to get out of his accommodation.
Bravery admitted attempted murder at the Old Bailey last December.
Ms Heer told the court: ‘He said he had to prove a place to ‘every idiot’ who had ever said that he did not have a mental health problem he should not be in the neighborhood.’
Bravery later disclosed to a psychiatrist he planned the offence well in advance and researched the simplest way to kill someone, narrowing it down seriously to three possibilities – strangling a woman or perhaps a child, drowning a child, or throwing some body off a tall building.
Defence counsel Philippa McAtasney QC said her client was immature, and said it ‘beggars belief’ he was deemed suitable to go out unsupervised.
She said Bravery’s parent’s ‘abhor’ what he did and can’t 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 finally returned making use of their son for their native France, said: ‘Words cannot express the horror and fear his actions have raised on us and our son who now, 6 months on, is wondering why that he’s in hospital.
‘How can he not see in every stranger a potential ‘villain’ who could cause him immense pain and putting up with?’
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 have been ordered.
Jonty Bravery: An erratic and violent teenager who searched the web for ‘ways to get away with rape’ and watched videos of murder attempts on the tube
On August 3, 2019, Jonty Bravery woke and did what a great many other teenagers were doing. He surfed the web.
Yet the searches that he made that day, and again these morning, would offer a grim glimpse to the atrocity the then-17-year-old appeared determined to commit.
‘Guaranteed ways to head to jail’, was one search.
‘Where could i buy sulphuric acid in Northolt?’ was still another.
A few months early in the day, a trawl through his iPad history apparently disclosed an unhealthy interest in macabre ways of causing wanton problems for strangers.
He visited a web page entitled: ‘How to have away with rape’, and a news article with the headline: ‘CCTV footage shows tube push murder attempt.’
Bravery (left and right in a court sketch) threw the six-year-old boy from a tenth-floor balcony at the Tate Modern in London
Bravery would later disclose to a psychiatrist he’d researched the simplest way to kill someone.
The Old Bailey heard that he subsequently narrowed it down seriously to three possibilities: strangling a female or a daughter or son, drowning a young child, or throwing someone off a tall building.
On August 4 2019, his twisted fantasy very nearly became a reality.
He researched the tallest building in London – the Shard – and headed there right after midday.
Put off by the entry fee, that he instead searched for an alternative.
Witnesses at the Tate Modern viewing platform reported concerns about Bravery’s odd behaviour.
He found his target – a six-year-old French boy – around 15 minutes later and threw him on the edge. Miraculously the boy survived, but with life-changing injuries.
Confronted by horrified members of the public like the victim’s parents – distraught and disbelieving in equal measure – Bravery sought to deflect blame onto social services.
The air ambulance gets to the Tate Modern after Bravery performed the attack he had warned his carers about – and admitted it was element of a warped plot to have back his iPad
It was their fault that he did this, Bravery would say. He said that he felt failed and must be arrested because he had perhaps not been given the correct treatment for his condition.
Bravery was five years old when that he was identified as having autism, and was said in court to have a mental disorder which contributed to him committing the violent atrocity.
He was residing in supported accommodation in Northolt, West London, at the time that he struck, and had a brief history of violence against staff.
In April 2019, Bravery punched a care worker and a part of Burker King restaurant staff whilst on a supervised day at Brighton.
Following his arrest, that he assaulted a custody officer and urinated in the waiting room.
That August, after his detention at the Tate Modern, Bravery told police he ‘wanted to be on the news in order that everyone, particularly his parents, could see what a mistake they had created by not putting him in hospital’.
His father, Piers Bravery, attemptedto raise understanding of autism and its particular treatment in a series of social media marketing posts which may have since been deleted.
In one tweet to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, posted less than 3 months before the attack, Mr Bravery said: ‘Yes, @MattHancock, you do have a duty. You certainly are a public servant so do your job preventing more young ones dying and being abused in these repugnant institutions.’
The Old Bailey heard his parents ‘abhor’ what their son did and can’t forgive him, but feel ‘let down by the system’.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has ordered a critical case review.
Parent’s heartbreaking statement: How is it possible to tell a young child that some body tried to kill him? All our lives have been in ruins
The act committed by they against our son is unspeakable.
Words cannot express the horror and driving a car that his actions have brought upon us and our son. How is one to explain to a young child that some body deliberately tried to kill him?
How can that he now ever trust mankind? How can he perhaps not see in most stranger a potential ‘villain’ who may cause him immense pain and suffering? Months of pain, fear and physiotherapy, hours and days spent without talking, without moving and without eating, away from his home, away from his friends and away from his family…
Questions about his future and his health remain unanswered, as well as these questions: ‘Will I have the ability to walk again?’, ‘When are we going home?’, ‘Will I return to school, see my friends again?’
What has our life become considering that the attempted murder of our six-year-old son? After going right through the fear of losing him, and being unable to understand this gratuitous and senseless act, we have been now up against numerous psychological and material problems.
Our life is in ruins. Since the afternoon of the attack, we’ve not left our son’s side, following him to any or all the various hospitals where he’s got been treated. We spend our days in hospital with our son. Either certainly one of us, or his grandmother, spends the night time with him in his room on a camp bed or perhaps a chair.
He is still in a wheelchair today, wears splints on his left arm and both of his legs, and spends his days in a corset moulded to his waist, sat in his wheelchair. He is in permanent restraint…
The nights are always extremely difficult, his sleep is very agitated, that he is in pain, he wakes up many times and he cries. We have now been so scared of losing him that now it really is physically impossible for us to be apart from him lots of hours, and only when we realize a family member is by using him…
He said to a psychiatric nurse who asked him about any of it that he wish to ‘slap’ the person who did this to him. We are extremely focused on the future. From what the doctors said, he has many years of physiotherapy in front of him, and we have no prospects or plans for the future apart from being by his side.
Our son is alive. He is fighting. And that’s all that matters to us. What happened on the top of the Tate Modern that day is unforgivable.