UK teen who threw French boy off gallery balcony jailed for life

A troubled British teenager who threw a six-year-old French boy off a viewing platform at London’s Tate Modern art gallery was on June 26, 2020 jailed for life. (File/AFP/Metropolitan Police)
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Updated 26 June 2020

UK teen who threw French boy off gallery balcony jailed for life

  • British media have questioned how he was able to carry out the attack, since he was living in supported accommodation and under the care of social services
  • The young victim was hurled head first off the 10th floor gantry at the gallery and plunged 30 meters (100 feet) on to a fifth-floor roof below.

LONDON: A troubled British teenager who threw a six-year-old French boy from a viewing platform at London’s Tate Modern art gallery was on Friday jailed for life.
Judge Maura McGowan told Jonty Bravery, 18, he would spend at least 15 years in custody for attempting to murder the boy in front of horrified crowds on August 4 last year.
But she also said: “You may never be released.”
The young victim, who cannot be identified because of his age, was hurled head first off the 10th floor gantry at the gallery and plunged 30 meters (100 feet) on to a fifth-floor roof below.
He broke his spine, legs and arms and suffered a head injury. His condition has since improved but he still requires round-the-clock care and may never fully recover.
McGowan said what Bravery had done was “callous” and “beyond imagination.”
She told him he would remain “a grave danger to the public,” adding: “You almost killed that six-year-old boy... The injuries you caused are horrific.
“That little boy has suffered permanent and life-changing injuries.”
Bravery has been detained in a high-security psychiatric unit since the attack, which he said he carried out because he had not been given proper treatment for mental health issues.
The burly teenager, who was 17 at the time, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of five and has a personality disorder.
Psychiatrists said he also had psychopathic traits, although he had not been formally assessed for the condition.
When challenged about what he had done on the day of the attack, he is said to have smirked and replied: “Yes, I am mad... It’s not my fault. It’s social services’ fault.”
British media have questioned how he was able to carry out the attack, since he was living in supported accommodation and under the care of social services.
The court was told he had also indicated he would carry out such an attack, in a secret recording purported to have been made by his carers that was never shared.
McGowan said she had weighed the submissions of medical experts and concluded that he would not get more treatment in a secure unit than in prison.
She reduced the sentence because of his age and his early guilty plea.
But she told him: “I cannot emphasize too clearly that this is not a 15-year sentence. The sentence is detention for life. The minimum term is 15 years.
“Your release cannot be considered before then. You may never be released.”
Bravery, who followed proceedings via videolink, showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.
The boy’s parents were not in court to hear the sentence but issued a statement via London’s Metropolitan Police in which they said Bravery’s actions were “unspeakable.”
“Words cannot express the horror and fear that his actions have brought upon us and our son who is who is now wondering why he is in hospital,” they said.
“How can someone explain to a child that someone deliberately tried to kill him?“
Their son faced “many years” of rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Since January he has been able to eat again but he remained tired, spoke little and was very weak.
Nearly one year on, he is in a wheelchair, has splints on his left arm and both legs, and has trouble sleeping. Family life has been put on hold, they said.
The London council which was responsible for Bravery’s care before the attack said it extended its “sincere sympathies” to the French boy and his family.
“A serious case review is under way,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“We are cooperating fully and will learn from the findings.”


Pakistan rolls out coronavirus surveillance app for incoming travelers

Updated 2 min 34 sec ago

Pakistan rolls out coronavirus surveillance app for incoming travelers

  • 246,351 cases registered since late February

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has developed a mobile app to keep track of travelers entering the country through land routes and airports to ensure a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for those testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

“The app will be rolled out in a few days,” Shabahat Ali Shah, CEO of the National Information Technology Board (NITB), told Arab News this week.

He said the app would help record symptoms of the incoming travelers and keep track of their location. It would also communicate coronavirus test results to them and check if they were violating the self-quarantine requirement.

The government was testing everyone entering the country until recently. Many travelers were kept at big isolation centers established in hotels and marquees for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to government officials, the new app will eliminate the costs associated with the old quarantine protocols and maintain a better record of people’s movements.

Pakistan has registered 246,351 coronavirus infections since late February and over 5,000 deaths.

The government has also been carrying out contact tracing to test suspected cases and sent over half-a-million text messages to those who have come into close contact with COVID-19 patients, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.

“We don’t share contact tracing numbers with the public since they keep changing on a daily basis,” Shah said, adding that people suspected to have the disease were requested to get themselves tested.

Discussing the projections, he said the numbers of coronavirus cases would keep changing but that the government’s actions had proved successful in bringing down the country’s infection rate.

“Smart lockdowns in different areas have helped reduce the disease,” Shah said, adding the decision to lock down virus hotspots was taken on the basis of data collected by the NITB.

He said that the COVID-19 curve would flatten if the government properly managed Eid Al-Adha and Muharram processions in the coming months.

According to independent IT analysts, the app would prove ineffective if “big data” was not properly analyzed.

“Developing an app is not a big deal,” Mustaneer Abdullah, an IT expert, told Arab News. “The real task is to extract useful information through the algorithms and break it down in specific categories to achieve the desired targets. The trouble is that government departments lack that kind of expertise.”

He also pointed out that such apps were hazardous to public privacy in the absence of data protection laws since they sought permission from users at the time of installation to access their photo galleries, locations and contact lists to work smoothly.

“The data collected through these apps can also be a goldmine for scoundrels. People working with government departments could leak user information to digital marketers or fraudsters with total impunity.”

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