Cardiff riot: Ely crash death boys were followed by police
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Cardiff riot: Ely crash death boys were followed by police

Mar 31, 2023

Police have confirmed for the first time that officers were following two boys whose deaths just minutes later sparked a riot in Cardiff.

Harvey Evans, 15, and Kyrees Sullivan, 16, died in the Ely area on Monday.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael initially said police did not chase the boys but CCTV showed their electric bike was followed by police.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon would not answer questions about it at a press conference on Wednesday.

She said the South Wales Police officers' van was on Grand Avenue when the fatal crash happened on Snowden Road, about half a mile away.

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Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon would not answer questions about CCTV

Ms Bacon said only the bike was involved in the fatal crash, but would not comment on why police were spotted following the teenagers on CCTV, citing the ongoing police watchdog investigation.

She told a press conference: "I want to be as transparent and open as I can with the communities of Ely so they understand what has happened.

"I've set out the timeline based on the factual information that we have.

"But the IOPC are conducting an independent investigation on whether any pursuit has taken place so I can't fully answer your question today."

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it had sent investigators to attend the police post-incident procedures and had obtained initial accounts from key police witnesses.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said he felt "profound sorrow" for the two teens, as well as the wider "utterly decent hardworking" people of Ely.

He also said the police had questions to answer and there was "repair work to be done" on their relationship with the community.

Ms Bacon laid out a timeline of events and said the crash, which killed the two best friends, took place half a mile away from the police vehicle.

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Watch: What the CCTV tells us about teens' final moments

Harvey and Kyrees' deaths sparked a riot which saw cars set alight, fireworks thrown at police and 15 officers injured.

Some residents claimed that the boys were being chased by police when they were killed in the crash.

Mr Michael initially said officers had not been chasing the teenagers when they died, but at Wednesday's press conference, Ms Bacon said officers were following the boys.

She added that she was aware of concerns about the timeline of events, including CCTV footage.

She outlined the timeline from when the boys' bike first travelled towards the police vehicle on Frank Road at 17:59, to the crash which happened about two minutes later.

"I've been really clear that I've given you factual and accurate information," she added when quizzed over whether BBC footage contradicted her timeline of events.

"The situation yesterday morning was still very unclear. I've explained to you the huge amount of work that has had to be undertaken to get to the point where we are.

"I would have wanted to speak to our communities sooner and I haven't been able to because we haven't had that level of information."

AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE: BBC Wales correspondent Tomos Morgan

The police have said that, in the minute or so before the crash took place, they turned into a main road and were half a mile away from the scene of the crash on Snowden Road.

The only reason why they didn't continue on the road towards where the crash took place is because there are bollards between Stanway Road and Snowden Road.

So, the police were on the main road and they are correct: They were not behind the boys, they weren't in the area where the crash took place.

But the only reason they weren't there is because they knew they couldn't follow the boys any further because the road was blocked.

This is a force under pressure.

South Wales Police referred itself to the IOPC and did that after the BBC had put out new footage that showed the police were following the two boys before the crash.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the incident - the reason which Ms Bacon said was why she could not comment.

Up to 150 people gathered in Ely after the boys' deaths and rioters threw fireworks at police and set cars alight.

The aftermath was described as a "warzone" by a BBC reporter at the scene.

Tributes have since been stamped to lampposts and laid out across the street.

In a statement on Wednesday, Harvey's mum said: "He lived life to the full, he had a big heart and deep down he truly cared."

Kyrees's family described him as "a loving, caring, handsome young man".

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Police refer themselves to watchdog after crash deaths

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