A thousand people gather for an emotional vigil for two boys killed in Cardiff crash that caused furious riots on the streets of Ely as police watchdog appeals for witnesses
- Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in a crash in Cardiff on Monday
Around a thousand people have gathered for a vigil at the spot where two teenagers died in a road crash that sparked furious riots in Cardiff as a police watchdog looking into their deaths has appealed for witnesses.
Crowds gathered at the vigil on Friday evening in memory of Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, who were fatally injured in a crash on Monday.
Dozens of blue and orange flares were lit as the families of teenagers arrived at the scene on Snowden Road where hundreds of floral tributes and messages have been left since the incident.
People wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of the two boys and carried blue balloons that were later released into the air.
They held a moment of silence before breaking out in applause, with some fireworks also being set off.
Around a thousand people have gathered for a vigil at the spot where two teenagers died in a road crash that sparked furious riots in Cardiff
Crowds wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of the two boys and held a moment of silence before breaking out in applause
Dozens of blue and orange flares were also lit as the families of Harvey and Kyrees at the scene on Snowden Road
The mothers of the teenagers asked that there be no people on Sur-Ron bikes, which the two boys had been riding before they died, at the vigil.
The PA news agency also understands that the families requested the police not be present.
Childhood best friends Kyrees and Harvey were fatally injured after they crashed in the suburb of Ely, Cardiff, at 6pm on Monday.
Timeline of the crash according to police
17:59.40 CCTV shows the bike travelling towards the police vehicle in Frank Road. The bike then turns around.
18:00.52 The bike is followed by the police vehicle, as seen on CCTV images. Blue lights or sirens were not illuminated.
18:01.18 Police vehicle is at New Ely Church roundabout and travels through Archer Road, Stanway Road and Howell Road.
18:02.31 Police vehicle turns onto Grand Avenue.
18:02.17 – 18:02.41 approximate time of the road traffic collision in Snowden Road.
At the time of the collision, the police van is in Grand Avenue, half a mile away from Snowden Road.
18:06.59 The police vehicle is on Cowbridge Road West when it receives information about a road traffic collision, illuminates blue lights and makes its way to the collision scene.
Their deaths sparked a riot that led to nine arrests and 15 officers being injured after rumours spread on social media that they were being pursued by the police.
The claims were later denied by Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.
But CCTV from the area has since emerged showing a marked police van following them less than two minutes before the crash.
The exact circumstances of the teenagers’ deaths have not been established, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had already carried out house-to-house inquiries.
The IOPC said it had recovered CCTV footage from the Ely area and is reviewing initial accounts from the police officers involved.
It said the investigation was examining the ‘nature of the police interaction’ with Kyrees and Harvey and the ‘appropriateness’ of the officers’ decisions and actions.
The watchdog is also considering whether the police officers’ actions in the van constituted a pursuit, and whether the interaction between the officers and the boys was ‘reported appropriately by the officers prior to and following the collision’.
IOPC director David Ford: ‘Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Kyrees and Harvey, as well as all those affected by the loss of two young lives in such a close-knit community as Ely.
‘Our investigators have been conducting inquiries and securing evidence in the immediate vicinity of where the events took place, speaking to local residents, distributing leaflets and gathering as much relevant information as possible.
‘I am truly grateful for the co-operation and assistance we have received from people within the local community.
‘We are working hard to establish the exact circumstances of what took place in the period leading up to the collision. I would like to reassure everyone in the community that our work will be thorough, impartial, and independent of the police.’
Childhood best friends Kyrees and Harvey were fatally injured after they crashed in the suburb of Ely, Cardiff, at 6pm on Monday
Balloons were released into the sky in tribute to the teenagers and some fireworks were set off
Hundreds of floral tributes and messages have been left since Monday where the crash occurred on Snowden Road
One video shows a police van following an e-bike less than two minutes before the accident that killed the two boys. This image shows the e-bike
A marked police van then follows behind the bike about one second later
Earlier today, politicians and community leaders met to discuss the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘This week, two families are grieving for their sons and the people of Ely have experienced a collective trauma.
‘My thoughts are with the families and friends of Harvey and Kyrees.
‘Representatives of the local community and public agencies, including Action in Caerau and Ely, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council today met in Ely.
‘We have agreed to jointly sponsor a grassroots-led initiative to create a community plan for Ely, to respond to the long-term needs of residents. It will be focused on actions and outcomes for people in Ely.’
A friend of the two boys’ families said on Wednesday: ‘I’m just absolutely devastated and heartbroken for my friends. My heart is hurting. That’s the little boy I used to babysit and push around in a pram.
‘It is so, so sad. They both went to see their boys yesterday and they are both very numb and haven’t got much to say at the moment.’
Crowds gathered on Snowden Road for a vigil for Kyrees and Harvey
Blue balloons, some shaped like hearts and the letters H and K, were released into the air during the vigil
Around one thousand people are thought to have come out to the vigil in Cardiff
The PA news agency understands that the boys’ families requested the police not be present
The friend said the original CCTV video of the ‘chase’, which has circulated on social media, supported claims a police van was following the pair on the day of the incident.
They believed the boys had got away from the police by riding up Stanwey Road, which is blocked off to traffic at one end, and had then ridden on to the adjacent Snowden Road where the crash happened.
South Wales Police are investigating claims of a pursuit but said the collision had already happened when the first officers arrived on the scene.
But the friend said: ‘The reason why the police wasn’t on the scene is because the boys have gone through a blocked street and the police knew they couldn’t go that way so they have turned on v to Grand Avenue, which led the boys to cut through on to Stanway Road on to Snowden Road.
‘The police have already stated they were on Grand Avenue and they were not on the scene. They weren’t on the scene because they lost them.’
Red and blue flares were set off during the vigil
One person attending the vigil wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of Kyrees and Harvey
Crowds gathered on Snowden road on Friday evening for the Vigil
Several people were in tears as the balloons were released
According to the official police timeline the bike was being followed by the police van, with no blue flashing lights or siren, at 52 seconds past six on Monday evening.
The alleged chase ended at 18:02.31 when the marked police van turned into Grand Avenue.
Kyrees and Harvey were in a collision between 18:02.17 – 18:02.41 and died at the scene in Snowden Road.
The teenagers, from the suburb of Ely, were known for riding the e-bike around the streets despite a clampdown on illegal riding.
Friends described them as ‘motorbike heads’ who had grown up together on the tough estate in the west of Cardiff and were ‘just enjoying themselves’ when they died.
Harvey’s godmother, Bridy Bool, said Harvey was ‘a typical 15-year-old’ who ‘loved motorbikes, bikes and football’ and who had eaten dinner with his mother Nadine just ten minutes before he died.
She insisted the boys had done nothing to spark a police ‘chase’, adding: ‘They were bare-faced innocent children.’
One witness who caught the pair cycling on CCTV said they appeared scared of the vehicle, having ‘panicked’ and trying to flee after coming across it on the road.
At another vigil on Wednesday, Belinda Sullivan, mother of Kyrees, blasted the South Wales force, telling The Daily Telegraph: ‘The police killed my son. I’ve got nothing else to say.’
A relative of Harvey told The Times: ‘If they [police] see someone on a Sur-Ron [an e-bike brand], they think they are a drug dealer.
‘The police told Harvey’s family that there were no police vehicles in the area, they didn’t get chased and there was no sighting of them. But there it is, it’s all in the videos.’
One witness whose CCTV captured the moment they were forced to jump out of the way of the bike and the van as they drove past said both were travelling ‘at speed’.
They told the newspaper: ‘You could see the boys were panicking and trying to get away from them.’
Five people, aged between 16 and 29, were detained yesterday morning over Monday’s riots in the Ely area of the city and Tremorfa, South Wales Police said.
Four teenagers aged between 15 and 16 were arrested on the night and the following day after violent clashes broke out with police.
Cars were torched and paving slabs and fireworks were thrown at officers armed with riot shields, leaving 15 injured in the shocking scenes on Monday night.
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