London: A troubled British teenager who threw a six-year-old French boy off a viewing platform at London's Tate Modern art gallery may never be released from custody, a court was told on Thursday, as questions were raised about how he was allowed to carry out the attack.
Jonty Bravery, 18, has admitted trying to kill the child at the popular riverside tourist attraction on August 4 last year, in front of horrified crowds.
His victim, who was on holiday with his family, broke his spine, legs and arms as he plunged 30 metres (100 feet) on to a fifth-floor roof below.
A judge at a London court was told he suffered brain damage, was in a wheelchair and requires round-the-clock care until at least 2022.
"Whether he will ever make a full recovery is not known," prosecutor Deanna Heer said, adding he was "fortunate not to die" in the attack, which was "a whisper away from murder".
His parents told the court in a victim impact statement they had barely left their son's side, and described what happened as "unspeakable".
Bravery followed proceedings via videolink from a high-security psychiatric hospital in southern England.
At one point he was seen to crouch on the floor and pulled his T-shirt over his head. At other times he appeared to be asleep.
'Yes, I am mad'
The court was told that medics appeared to agree Bravery, who has pleaded guilty to attempted murder, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a personality disorder.
A psychiatric report indicated he had psychopathic traits but had not been formally assessed for the condition.
At the time of the attack, well-built Bravery was 17 and living in supported accommodation and under one-on-one supervision by social services in west London.
But he was allowed out unaccompanied for short periods.
On the day, he was seen wandering about the Tate's viewing gantry and acting unusually moments before he "scooped up" the young boy and threw him head first over the railings.
The court was told he wanted to prove he had a mental health condition and was not getting proper treatment.
Heer said Bravery was smiling, and laughed and shrugged when challenged about what he had done. But he said: "Yes, I am mad... It's not my fault. It's social services' fault".
"He said he wanted to be on the news so that everyone, especially his parents, could see what a mistake they had made by not putting him in hospital," she added.
Judge Maura McGowan, who said she would pass sentence on Friday, was told the minimum term in such a case was 20 years in custody.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Joanna Dow recommended Bravery be detained in hospital and it was "hard to envisage" he would ever be released into the community.
Bravery's lawyer Philippa McAtasney said his parents felt their son, who was first diagnosed with ASD aged five, had been "let down by the system".
She said it "beggars belief" he was allowed out unsupervised at all and, whether in prison or hospital, he now risked being detained "for a very, very long period".
"The likelihood is this young man is unlikely ever to be released," she added.
Bravery had shown no remorse and apparently signalled his intention to carry out such an act in a secret recording made by care staff.
But the "shocking, prophetic" content was not shared, the lawyer added.
The young boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, still struggled with speech, eating and drinking, and movement, his parents said in May.
But he could now stand and take a few steps with the aid of a walker, they added on a GoFundMe page, which has raised almost 234,000 euros ($260,000; Dh954,980) for his care.