Teenager Accused of Throwing French Boy From London Gallery to Stand Trial Next Year

By Reuters

LONDON—A British teenager will go on trial next year accused of throwing a six-year-old French boy from a 10th-floor viewing platform at London’s Tate Modern gallery.

The 17-year-old, who wore a blue T-shirt at a short hearing in London’s Old Bailey Court, was remanded to a youth detention center. He is accused of attempted murder.

He is due to enter a plea on Nov. 7 and his defense lawyer said they would obtain a psychiatric report before then. His trial was set for Feb. 3 next year.

The judge Nicholas Hilliard made an order that neither the teenager nor the boy could be identified.

The teenager was arrested on Sunday, Aug. 4, shortly after the boy—who was visiting London with his family—was found on the fifth-floor roof of the gallery. Police said they don’t believe the suspect and victim knew each other.

Nancy Barnfield was at the gallery with her family when she heard a “loud bang,” and then saw a woman screaming “where’s my son, where’s my son?”

She said a man (the suspect) on the platform was restrained by other visitors until police arrived. Barnfield said he “just stood there and was quite calm.”

The boy was taken by air ambulance to a hospital and a previous court hearing on Tuesday was told that he had sustained a bleed on the brain and fractures to his spine, legs and arms from his fall. He is now in a critical but stable condition.

Police said it was being treated as an isolated incident and that there was no link between the boy and the 17-year-old.

The Tate Modern, situated in a former power station next to the River Thames, was the most popular attraction in Britain in 2018 with almost six million visitors, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

The 10th-floor terrace is part of a pyramid-shaped extension that opened in 2016 and offers panoramic views over London.

Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery
Emergency crews attending a scene at the Tate Modern art gallery, London, on Aug. 4, 2019. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

The gallery reopened on Monday, but the viewing platform remained closed.

“Tate is working closely with the police to help with their investigations,” a spokeswoman said. “All our thoughts are with the child and his family.”

By Michel Holden

The Associated Press contributed to this report.