Teen held for at­tempted mur­der af­ter ‘throw­ing boy aged six from tenth-floor view­ing plat­form’

Daily Mail - - Front Page -

By Ge­orge Odling, Vanessa Allen and Jake Hur­furt

A boy of six was fight­ing for his life last night af­ter be­ing thrown from a 200ft view­ing plat­form at Tate Mod­ern.

The child was snatched from his mother’s arms by a stranger who hurled him over a bar­rier on the tenth floor.

The mother screamed ‘ My son, my son’ be­fore rush­ing to the lifts to try to reach him. He fell 100ft on to a roof on the fifth floor.

A youth believed to have car­ried out the crime was pinned to the ground by visi­tors to the Lon­don art gallery. A boy of 17 was later ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted mur­der.

Scot­land Yard says there is noth­ing to sug­gest that the sus­pect knew the victim, who was flown to hos­pi­tal by air am­bu­lance and is in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

An Ital­ian, who gave her name as Ade­laide, tweeted: ‘A girl was with her son in her arms on the ter­race of Tate Mod­ern, a stranger ap­proached and threw the child down.’

She said the young­ster had been ‘ ripped from his mother’s hands’ and the gallery was im­me­di­ately put into lock­down. En­trances and ex­its were closed, leav­ing thou­sands trapped while paramedics treated the child.

Nancy Barn­field said she and her two young sons were stalked on the view­ing plat­form by a stranger only sec­onds be­fore the hor­ri­fy­ing in­ci­dent. The 47-year-old from Rochdale was

so alarmed that she warned her chil­dren to avoid him. ‘He fol­lowed us around ev­ery­where,’ she said.

‘I told my kids to stay away from that man, it went on for ages. He looked about 19 to 21 years old, act­ing so weird.

‘He had his hands be­hind his back the whole time, his back to the wall, just watch­ing peo­ple. We walked away from him then im­me­di­ately when he was out of sight a woman was scream­ing “My son, my son” and peo­ple were grab­bing him.’

Mrs Barn­field said the hys­ter­i­cal mother ran to the lift to try to find her son be­low. She de­scribed her as around 35 and speaking with an Ital­ian ac­cent.

She said the sus­pect was tall, white and bearded and be­came ‘com­pletely calm and silent’ when de­tained by gallery visi­tors.

‘He didn’t fight back, didn’t shout or any­thing,’ she added. ‘He was just emo­tion­less. The whole sit­u­a­tion was ter­ri­fy­ing. We are so shaken.’

An­other wit­ness said: ‘I heard the im­pact and then scream­ing from above as a woman screamed “He’s my son! He’s my son!” I went in­side be­cause the scream­ing was hor­rific, the boy didn’t make any noise but the peo­ple from the view­ing plat­form were scream­ing.’

Corinne Brookes, 25, ar­rived at the view­ing plat­form sec­onds af­ter the in­ci­dent.

She said: ‘Peo­ple were scream­ing and shout­ing and these two guys looked like they were fight­ing, they were grab­bing each other. The two guys were hold­ing an­other guy, kind of like they were fight­ing.

‘I went in and said to the se­cu­rity lady “Some­thing’s go­ing on out there”. Then I

‘The whole sit­u­a­tion was ter­ri­fy­ing’

saw a woman climb­ing, with her leg and arm over the rail­ing on the bal­cony.

‘At that point peo­ple were grab­bing their chil­dren and scream­ing and cry­ing so I just thought some­thing ter­ri­ble had hap­pened, so I started run­ning down the stairs and other peo­ple were run­ning.

‘As I was go­ing down­stairs a woman was cry­ing her eyes out and I said “Are you OK? What ex­actly hap­pened?”

‘She said “They’ve thrown him off, some­one’s thrown a kid off”.’

Aus­tralian ex­pat Rob Ro­chette tweeted: ‘Just been evac­u­ated un­der a huge panic from the mem­bers’ lounge of Tate Mod­ern.’

The air am­bu­lance, two road am­bu­lances, fire crews and po­lice were sent to the South Bank to res­cue the boy from the roof shortly af­ter 2.40pm.

BBC jour­nal­ist Jonny Dy­mond, who was at the gallery at the time, said visi­tors were fun­nelled into the main hall while all ex­its were closed. He said: ‘There were quite a lot of fam­i­lies with chil­dren, and se­cu­rity guards told us we couldn’t leave.’

Alexandra Or­ton tweeted: ‘ Trapped in­side Tate Mod­ern. Po­lice and air am­bu­lance here. Story from a wit­ness is that a child has fallen (been pushed) from a bal­cony. Quite ter­ri­fy­ing.’

A Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice spokesman said emer­gency ser­vices were called to ‘re­ports of a young boy thrown from the tenth-floor view­ing plat­form’.

She added: ‘ The six-year- old victim was found on a fifth-floor roof. He was treated at the scene and taken to hos­pi­tal by Lon­don’s Air Am­bu­lance. The boy’s con­di­tion is crit­i­cal; his fam­ily are be­ing sup­ported by po­lice.

‘A 17-year-old male had re­mained with mem­bers of the public on the tenth-floor view­ing plat­form.

‘There is noth­ing to sug­gest that he is known to the victim. The teenager was ar­rested by po­lice of­fi­cers on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted mur­der and taken into cus­tody.’

The gallery re­mained closed for the rest of the day. A spokesman said: ‘Tate is work­ing closely with the po­lice to help with their in­ves­ti­ga­tions. All our thoughts are with the child and his fam­ily.’

A Lon­don Am­bu­lance Ser­vice spokesman said: ‘We treated a per­son at the scene and took them to hos­pi­tal as a pri­or­ity.’

The view­ing plat­form, which has a chest-high bar­rier, is part of the £260mil­lion Tate ex­ten­sion known as the Blavat­nik Build­ing. It of­fers a panoramic view over Lon­don.

The gallery was the most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion in Bri­tain in 2018, with 5.9mil­lion vis­its, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Lead­ing Vis­i­tor At­trac­tions.

Res­cue: Paramedics and po­lice on the fifth-floor roof where the child landed

At­trac­tion: The boy fell 100ft from Tate Mod­ern’s tenth-floor view­ing plat­form, cir­cled

Emer­gency: The air am­bu­lance flies in

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