The father of a little boy whose life was saved by an illegal immigrant in France was playing Pokemon Go at the time, according to prosecutors in Paris.
Lawyers said the man left his son alone while he went shopping, and returned later than planned as he got carried away with the smartphone game.
In the meantime, the four-year-old boy almost fell to his death from the fourth-floor balcony at the family’s home in the capital. However, he was saved by Mamoudou Gassama, an illegal immigrant from Mali who risked his own life to climb the block of flats and rescue the boy. The hero has been hailed as France’s real life Spider-Man, and has been offered citizenship in France by President Emmanuel Macron.
Mamoudou Gassama was honoured for his ‘courage and devotion’ after rescuing the boy (Picture: AP)
The hero of Paris has been offered citizenship and a job by French President Emmanuel Macron (Picture: Rex)
But the boy’s father has been arrested and could face jail time for leaving the boy in the potentially dangerous situation. Prosecutor Francois Molins told BFM-TV: ‘His behaviour constitutes an offence, failing to honour parental responsibilities, which carries a possible sentence of two years in jail.’
He was detained overnight for alleged parental neglect and is due to appear in court in September. The circumstances surrounding the child’s mother are unclear. Incredible video footage showed 22-year-old Gassama scaling the building at speed to reach the boy before he could fall, as a crowd of onlookers nervously watched from the street.
Newspaper Le Parisien quoted him as saying: ‘I did it because it was a child. I climbed… Thank God I saved him.’ Macron told Gassama ‘bravo’ and commended him for ‘an exceptional act’, while vowing to give him a job with France’s emergency services.
The president added: ‘We’ll obviously be setting all your papers straight and if you wish it, we will start the process of naturalisation so that you can become French.’
Gassama told Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo he arrived from Mali a few months ago and wished to stay in France. Hidalgo said: ‘I replied that his heroic gesture was an example for all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France.’