Father of boy saved by Paris 'Spiderman' convicted for negligence

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 on 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.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Will you continue to use WhatsApp following the company announcing a change terms of service which would force users to share personal data?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the terms of service do not bother me enough to switch
53% - 8247 votes
No, I will be switching over to a new service
43% - 6789 votes
I've never used WhatsApp
4% - 618 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo