We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Mamadou Gassama meeting French President Emmanuel Macron after rescuing the boy Pool/ABACA

Father of boy saved by 'Spiderman' from French balcony convicted for negligence

Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom after footage showing him rescue the boy went viral.

THE FATHER OF the little boy who was rescued dangling from a fourth-storey Paris balcony by a Malian migrant dubbed Spiderman received a three-month suspended jail sentence Tuesday for leaving the child home alone.

Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom in May after footage of him scaling the facade of the apartment building with his bare hands to save the child went viral.

Gassama, who was living illegally in France at the time, was rewarded with French citizenship and a job in the fire service.

But the 37-year-old father found himself in hot water for leaving the child unattended in their sixth-floor apartment while he went shopping — the boy was just four at the time.

Apart from the suspended sentence he was also ordered to take a parenting course.

The public prosecutor had asked for the father to be given a six-month suspended sentence, noting that had Gassama not sprung into action the child “might now be dead”.

The father told the court that after spending the day at the Disneyland theme park near Paris with his son on May 26, he decided to pop out for some provisions, leaving his son in front of the TV at his insistence.

Expressing remorse he said he had not realised that by leaving the sliding door to the balcony open the child was in grave danger.

He also admitted to being gone longer than he thought — around an hour — because he was playing the popular Pokemon Go game on his phone.

The child told the police he thought his father had gone back to Disneyland without him and decided to follow him.

Finding the apartment door locked he climbed over the balcony and then appears to have fallen, before miraculously managing to grab the rail of a balcony on the fourth floor.

Footage of the incident, filmed by a bystander, shows him dangling in mid-air with a neighbour on the adjoining balcony desperately trying to hold onto him.

Gassama, 22, then scales the building Spiderman-style and pulls him to safety.

Under France’s penal code parental negligence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 euros ($35,300).

The boy’s mother was on a visit to her native Reunion island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, at the time.

Both parents were said at the time to be extremely shaken by the incident but hugely grateful to Gassama.

© AFP 2018.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel