Child (6) ‘thrown’ from 10th floor at Tate is French national, say police

Boy (17) in custody in London on suspicion of attempted murder

A view of the 10th floor balcony at the Tate Modern in London Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

A view of the 10th floor balcony at the Tate Modern in London Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

 

The six-year-old boy allegedly thrown from a 10th-floor viewing platform at Tate Modern was a French national visiting London with his family, the Metropolitan police have said.

Police are appealing to witnesses who saw a male whose “behaviour seemed out of place, suspicious or worrying” to come forward.

The young boy was found on a fifth-floor roof and treated at the scene before being taken to hospital. He remains in a stable but critical condition.

A 17-year-old boy who had initially been detained by members of the public in the immediate aftermath of the incident was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. He remains in police custody.

The police were called at around 2.40pm on Sunday, August 4th to reports of a boy thrown from the 10th-floor viewing platform of Tate Modern in London.

The family were being supported by police, the Met said.

The incident is being treated as an isolated event with no distinct or apparent motive, the police said, adding there was nothing to suggest the suspect was known to the victim.

Det Ch Insp John Massey said: “My team is also very keen to talk to you if you witnessed a male whose behaviour seemed out of place, suspicious or worrying in the hour or two before the incident in or near the gallery. It may be that this is something which has only just come back to you. If so, please still make that call to the investigation team.”

A Tate Modern spokeswoman said the gallery would open on Monday as usual but the viewing platform would be closed. A photocall for a new exhibition, scheduled for Monday morning, had been postponed, she said.

Visitors were prevented from entering or leaving the gallery while emergency services dealt with the incident.

The Met said members of the public were providing witness statements.

A journalist, Olga Malchevska, was on the viewing platform when the boy fell and described what happened as “absolutely terrifying”. She told BBC Breakfast: “I saw that woman who was running and shouting ‘My son, oh my son’ and she was crying desperately.”

Speaking later, she said she was on the platform with her four-year-old son when the incident took place.

“I just felt like something is going on, I should take my child out of there immediately and we tried to go towards the exit,” she said. She could hear people say “Oh my God, the boy dropped.”

Nancy Barnfield, an administration worker from Rochdale near Manchester, was on the viewing gallery with a friend and their children when her friend heard a “loud bang”.

Ms Barnfield said she turned around and saw a woman screaming, “Where’s my son, where’s my son?”.

Members of the public quickly gathered around a man who was nearby, she said. “We did not notice the mum before, we noticed her after because she was hysterical by then.”

The Labour MP Neil Coyle, whose Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency covers Tate Modern, said the thoughts and prayers of the community were with the boy and his family.

The Tate spokeswoman said: “Tate is working closely with the police to help with their investigations.”– Guardian