Tate Modern: Boy thrown from balcony ‘practicising gentle judo and making progress with breathing and swallowing’

The family of a boy who was flung from a 10th floor balcony in 2019, aged six, have shared an update on his condition  (PA Archive)
The family of a boy who was flung from a 10th floor balcony in 2019, aged six, have shared an update on his condition (PA Archive)

A young boy who suffered catastrophic injuries when he was thrown from the 10th floor of London’s Tate Modern is practising a gentle form of judo and adapted archery as his condition improves, his family says.

The French youngster was just six years old when he was badly hurt in the attack, while visiting the art gallery during a holiday with his parents in August 2019.

He was hurled from a viewing platform by autistic teenager Jonty Bravery, who a court was later told had been out with the intention of selecting and killing someone.

The young victim survived a 100ft (30m) fall but suffered life-changing injuries, including a bleed on the brain and broken bones.

Jonty Bravery, who threw a six-year-old boy from the viewing platform of the Tate Modern (PA Media)
Jonty Bravery, who threw a six-year-old boy from the viewing platform of the Tate Modern (PA Media)

Bravery – who had been living in supported accommodation at the time of the attack but was allowed out unsupervised – was convicted of his attempted murder in 2020 and jailed for 15 years.

In a fresh update issued on Sunday the victim’s family told how the boy, affectionately referred to as “our little knight”, has made “considerable progress in swallowing and breathing”.

Posting on a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than 400,000 euro (nearly £355,0000) for the boy’s treatment and rehabilitation, they wrote: “Since September, we have returned to Paris several times to consult specialists because we have to monitor the development of our son’s back, shoulder and hip, given his growth.

“We will now have to do this check every six months, to make sure that he does not need a corset again. Similarly, some new operations may unfortunately become necessary.

“In prevention, specialists recommend appropriate physical activity. This is why we have registered our son for equine therapy and the swimming pool with his specialised educator.

Emergency responders at the scene in the aftermath of the attack (PA Media)
Emergency responders at the scene in the aftermath of the attack (PA Media)

“And the latter also accompanies him, since the end of October, to judo. She does it very gently and does not let go of an inch on the tatami, of course.

“From time to time, we also take him for adapted archery. Our son has always loved sports, he is delighted to do all this.”

They added that they have found a new speech therapist who has helped the youngster make “considerable progress in swallowing and breathing”.

“He’s able to blow out candles again, he hardly makes any more wrong turns when he drinks liquids, and he’s starting to keep the rhythm of the songs better,” they said.

“He is also pursuing orthoptics and his sight is improving further, as is his memory thanks to cognitive remediation sessions with his neuropsychologist.

“He remembers more and more things he did or was told during the day.”

Police officers outside Tate Modern in the aftermath of the attack (PA Archive)
Police officers outside Tate Modern in the aftermath of the attack (PA Archive)

The family said that the boy had “very positive” school results, and added: “Our son’s teacher and guide are both very happy with his progress: he manages to follow in class despite his difficulties, because he is extremely courageous and hardworking.

“Thus, despite the fact that he still has to automate the writing of letters, he nevertheless manages to improve in spelling and to obtain very good marks in dictation, which he is very proud of.

“Moreover, thanks to all his mobility progress (balance, left arm, muscle strengthening, etc.), he is increasingly able to play alone at home and in the hospital.”

They described this as “a huge step towards his autonomy”, even though he is still “very dependent” for simple daily tasks such as tucking in his t-shirt, cutting meat and washing his hair.

Visit the Gofundme page here.