Taxpayers gave an estimated £150,000 a year to provide care for the troubled teenager who pushed a six-year-old boy from the top of the Tate Modern, it emerged yesterday.
A furious political row blew up after the Mail revealed Jonty Bravery, who has a personality disorder, was allowed to visit the London art gallery on his own – with some blaming ‘austerity’.
But figures obtained by the Mail show a huge amount of public money was spent on the 18-year-old, who was in council care. Bravery, who suffers from autism, admitted to two care workers his plan to throw someone from a tall building.
In a shocking audio recording obtained by the Mail and BBC News, Bravery vowed to ‘push somebody off’ a building almost a year before he hurled the French boy from the London landmark’s 100ft viewing balcony last summer, nearly killing him. Yesterday commentators blamed the attack on cuts to public services. But the Mail has seen records suggesting that £150,000 a year was spent on Bravery’s round-the-clock care. He had a team of up to six carers and was housed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council in a private two-bedroom flat where the rent was about £650 a month.
Bravery’s care was outsourced to a private firm, Spencer and Arlington. It meant he had two carers all day and all night, working in shifts. They helped him with domestic chores and kept him company at his flat in Northolt, west London. One of the carers claimed to the Mail that on the day Bravery was allowed to visit the Tate unsupervised he did have staff assigned but they were permitted to stay at the flat while he went out alone. Yesterday political commentator and broadcaster Iain Dale stormed off a TV set in a row over the case.
Grace Blakeley, an economics commentator for New Statesman magazine, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘This is all because of the way in which the council has to cut things out. Very, very vulnerable children with severe mental health problems just don’t get provided for. It’s another story you can trace back to austerity.’
Another guest, BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nihal Arthanayake, added: ‘He went out on his own presumably because there wasn’t somebody who could accompany him. There wasn’t the resources.’
Mr Dale angrily told them: ‘Utter, utter rubbish. It had nothing to do with cuts – it’s to do with people doing the sensible thing… you don’t need to have thousands of pounds to be sensible.’
The Care Quality Commission, which regulates the care industry, yesterday launched an urgent probe into the case. Bravery has pleaded guilty to attempted murder and will be sentenced later.