An 18-year-old British man has pleaded guilty to heaving a 6-year-old boy from the viewing platform of London’s celebrated museum Tate Modern. The boy was nearly killed.
Bravery was arrested over the summer after police launched an investigation into the child’s fall from the museum’s tenth floor viewing platform in August.
The boy was found on the roof of the museum’s fifth floor shortly before 3 p.m. on Aug. 4, police said. The boy, a French national, was airlifted to a British hospital where he was assessed as being in “critical condition,” according to museum officials. Police said he spent a “number of weeks” hospitalized in the United Kingdom before returning to France, where he remains under medical care.
Police didn't immediately identify Bravery — who was 17 at the time of the incident — upon his arrest. His trial had been scheduled for February, but he pleaded guilty to the attempted murder charges last week, authorities said. CCTV footage captured him throwing the child from the museum’s tenth floor, according to the Guardian.
Bravery allegedly tracked down museum staff and admitted to tossing the boy off the viewing platform right after doing it.
“I think I’ve murdered someone. I’ve just thrown someone off the balcony,” he reportedly said.
Police had previously reported that Bravery wasn’t known to the boy or his family.
“This was an incredibly unusual and traumatic event, and I can only imagine the horror the victim’s family felt as they realized what had happened to their child,” Detective Chief Inspector John Massey said. “Following today’s plea and conclusion of this case, the victim’s family have been spared the trauma of a trial and can now focus on their son’s care and rehabilitation.”
The detective noted that police haven’t released an official motive. However, Bravery has autism and supposedly shoved the child off the viewing platform to get attention from the media, the Guardian reported. Bravery also reportedly claimed he heard voices in his head.
“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,” Massey added. “Members of the public and security staff acted swiftly to immediately detain the defendant prior to the arrival of police and I would like to thank them and those who came forward with witness accounts.”
Officials didn’t specify the nature of the child’s injuries, but disclosed that the boy’s condition has improved. He will still face a “long rehabilitative process.” The boy is experiencing communication and mobility issues following the fall as well, according to authorities.
“Life stopped for us four months ago,” the child’s family said in a statement following Bravery’s guilty plea.
The boy now requires physical therapy and a wheelchair to get around, according to his family.
“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,” they explained. “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.”
More than $200,000 has been raised through GoFundMe to help the family cover medical expenses and other costs while the family tends to the 6-year-old’s recovery.
Bravery will be sentenced on Feb. 17, 2020, at London’s Central Criminal Court.
“We are exhausted, we don’t know where this all leads, but we go on,” the family added.
Tate Modern, which receives between 5 and 6 million visitors annually, is a popular destination for tourists and Londoners alike. Representatives for the museum previously said they were cooperating with authorities. Tate Modern declined to further comment on the case on Monday.
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