Cops: Teens who died in Cardiff crash that led to riot weren't chased
Police insist two teenagers who died in e-bike tragedy that sparked Cardiff riots were NOT being chased at time of crash – as grieving uncle blames officers for deaths and witnesses blast ‘lying’ cops after CCTV emerged showing ‘pursuit’
- Cars were torched and 15 officers injured in horrific scenes on Monday night
- Did you witness the crash or events leading up to it? Email [email protected]
A police boss today insisted that two teenagers who died in a road accident which sparked riots in Cardiff were not being chased at the time – as a grieving uncle blamed officers for their deaths and witnesses accused the force of ‘lying’.
Cars were torched and 15 officers injured in horrific scenes on Monday night after claims that Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, were being pursued by a police van while riding an e-bike.
Yesterday, Alun Michael – Labour’s police and crime commissioner for the area – denied to the BBC that any police chase had occurred. But CCTV footage then emerged a police van following a bike 3,000ft from the crash site minutes earlier.
South Wales Police has now admitted that officers had been following the boys and referred itself to the police watchdog, but continues to insist there were no police vehicles on the street when the fatal collision took place.
Mr Michael told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘I was assured and I’m still assured that youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident.
Best friends Kyrees Sullivan, 15, and Harvey Evans, 16, (pictured together while they were younger) were knocked off their bikes by a vehicle near their homes on Snowden Road, in the deprived suburb of Ely at around 6pm on Monday
Yesterday, Alun Michael – Labour’s police and crime commissioner for the area – denied to the BBC that any police chase had occurred
‘It is being carefully investigated, but there wasn’t a police vehicle in the road where and when the accident happened. What emerged subsequently was footage of a police van following youngsters on a bike a little earlier. That too is being investigated.’
Yesterday, the South Wales’ police and crime commissioner denied there had been any police pursuit, saying: ‘It would appear that there were rumours and those rumours became rife of a police chase, which wasn’t the case.’
Asked today whether he was wrong to issue such a ‘categorical’ denial, he said: ‘I said to you I was assured and I’m still assured that they were not being chased by the police at the time of the accident.’
After he confirmed he had been receiving these ‘assurances’ from the police, he was asked whether he should have been more ‘questioning’ of what officers were telling him.
‘It’s not a question of taking their word – it’s about taking the information about what happened,’ he said. ‘It’s very important that if further information is available then that is investigated too.’
Mr Michael later conceded that the CCTV ‘leaves open the possibility’ that a police chase took place.
But he added: ‘As I say I was assured there was not a police chase at the time the accident happened. That there may have been something earlier is of course something that should be fully investigated.’
Locals have accused South Wales Police of ‘lying’ and say they have ‘lost confidence’ in the force.
It has referred itself to the Independent Office for Policing Conduct (IOPC) following the disorder to ‘ensure the matter receives independent scrutiny’.
But CCTV footage then emerged a police van following a bike 3,000ft from the crash site minutes earlier. The boys can be seen riding in security footage on their bike 5.59pm. Five seconds later, a police van is seen following behind
The van was seen driving past at 5.59pm. South Wales Police say they were not chasing best friends Kyrees Sullivan, 15, and Harvey Evans, 16, before the collision near their homes in Ely, Cardiff
Police received reports of a serious collision on Snowden Road at 6.03pm on Monday. Officers in a vehicle on Grand Avenue then responded to the scene and administered CPR. CCTV footage of the alleged chase was filmed on Frank Road at 5.59pm
Kyrees Sullivan (left) and Harvey Evans (right) died after they crashed an e-bike
The footage showing the police van following Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, was reportedly filmed on Frank Road in Ely – about half a mile from the site of the crash on Snowden Road.
The clip is time-stamped at just after 5.59pm, with the fatal collision reported to police at 6.03pm.
It was quickly circulated on social media and friends of the boys’ families confirmed yesterday that they believed it showed them sharing the £4,000 e-bike. Neither appeared to be wearing a helmet.
‘My nephew and his best mate are dead because they chased him on a little electric motorbike,’ Kyrees’ uncle told The Times.
Harvey’s godmother, Bridy Bool, insisted the boys had done nothing to spark a police ‘chase’, adding: ‘They were bare-faced innocent children.’
Cardiff remained on edge last night after police confirmed they had been following the two boys before they died in the crash.
Locals alleged that ‘police have lied’ about pursuing the boys despite video ‘evidence’ showing they were ‘speeding after them’.
‘If they didn’t chase them, then they wouldn’t have died,’ a resident who branded officers as liars told The Sun, adding: ‘That’s what the police are like around here anyway. They will bully, chase and do whatever they can to all the little kids around here. It’s disgusting.’
Another claimed the Ely community has ‘lost confidence’ in South Wales police and said residents are ‘worried it’s all going to go off again’.
Cardiff Councillor Rodney Berman argued the emergence of the CCTV video poses ‘serious questions’ about the ‘version of events’ detailed by the force and crime commissioner.
The Liberal Democrat leader said: ‘Given there is concern over the timeline provided of events leading up to the crash, which appears to contradict local reports and video evidence, this incident needs to face an immediate, impartial investigation.
‘I would also like to appeal to communities across Cardiff to remain calm and to allow appropriate actors to investigate. ‘
Residents have hung balloon that spell out the boys’ names in Ely, where they died on Monday
Tributes left for the two teenagers in Ely, Cardiff, whose death in a car crash sparked a riot
Tributes were paid to the two teenagers, with friends describing 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
Cars were torched and 15 officers injured – 11 of whom required hospital treatment – in horrific scenes on Monday night after claims that Kyrees and Harvey were being ‘chased’ by police.
Up to 150 thugs went on the rampage after the crash in scenes which were branded ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’ by Downing Street.
Footage livestreamed on YouTube showed how thugs turned the neighbourhood into an ‘absolute war zone’ by launching fireworks, rocks, paving slabs and even a door at the police before charging at them until 3am.
Young men were also seen ripping off their shirts and covering their faces as fires raged in the street.
One person is understood to have been attacked because rioters thought they were an undercover officer.
South Wales Police said ‘a number of arrests’ have taken place, with more expected.
Local resident Ahmad Abdullah, 34, told the BBC he saw ‘hundreds of youngsters chasing police officers up the road, throwing stones’ and heard rioters saying ‘they would not stop until they killed a police officer’.
The father-of-three, whose taxi was among the vehicles damaged, added: ‘The people in this community don’t feel safe now. We feel it could escalate at any time.’
Up to 150 thugs went on the rampage after the crash in scenes which were branded ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’ by Downing Street. Pictured: An automobile burns on Highmead Road during unrest following a serious road crash earlier on Snowden Road
Riot police with dogs were deployed at the scene of a serious road crash in Ely on Monday
Pictured: Police officers on Howell Road in Cardiff as they face a ‘large scale disorder’ at the scene of a serious road traffic collision on Snowden Road in Ely
The Ford Focus car of Jane Palmer set alight on Highmead Road, Ely, Cardiff, during a ‘large scale disorder’ following a serious road traffic collision on Snowden Road in Ely
A police car with a smashed windsrceen
A car burns on Highmead Road during riots following a serious road crash in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Cardiff
Jane Palmer watched from a window as people set fire to her car, saying: ‘I’m disabled so now I’m trapped without my car. Why are they doing this? It’s just silly.’
Another resident alleged the riots were caused by ‘lots of children’ who were being ‘encouraged’ by adults.
‘It was very scary,’ one local told The Mirror. ‘There was a lot of people. Lots of children, I was very surprised at how many children and how many adults encouraging them. They were throwing stuff at the police.’
The claim was echoed by a resident who alleged the ‘frightening’ rioters were as young as 11 years old.
Another said that in the six years she has lived in Ely ‘I’ve never seen anything like this’.
Amid the chaos, Kyrees’s mother, Belinda Sullivan, pleaded on Facebook with the rioters to stop because her son’s body remained at the scene of the collision.
She wrote: ‘My son is still laying on the floor due to this riot I’m sat at home heart broken there are two families broken right now.
‘I just want to see my son and I can’t because of this riot that have happened pls I beg you all to stop and let my son be moved to hospital so I can see him we need to see our sons.’ [sic]
An overturned, burned out car yesterday, after overnight riots in the Ely area of Cardiff
Locals survey the scene on Snowden Road in the deprived suburb of Ely
Before the CCTV footage emerged, South Wales Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis said residents of Ely had been left ‘frightened by the actions of this large group who were intent on causing crime and disorder’.
‘The level of violence towards emergency services and the damage to property and vehicles was totally unacceptable,’ he added.
A clean-up operation was under way yesterday, with police on high alert over fears of more violence.
Yesterday Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru Senedd member for South Wales Central, called for a full investigation to ‘ensure peace is restored and that this never happens again’.
Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said people were ‘deeply worried and concerned’ and appealed for ‘calm’.
Speaking to MailOnline, friends of the two boys said they were ‘motorbike heads’ who had grown up together on the tough estate in the west of Cardiff (Pictured: Harvey Evans)
Violence quickly erupted following false social media rumours of a police chase being responsible for the deaths, with riot officers sent in to quell the disturbance and make arrests. (Pictured: Kyrees Jordan Sullivan with his mother Belinda)
Kyrees and Harvey, from the suburb of Ely where the crash took place, were known for riding the e-bike around the streets despite a clampdown on illegal riding.
Tributes were paid to the two teenagers, with friends describing 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.
Ms 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 added that he was best friends with Kyrees, who was ‘into the same things’.
One teenager told MailOnline the pair had been involved in incidents with a local police officer who was picking on them.
John Silver, 19, said: ‘Kyrees and Harvey were best friends, they grew up together and always had bikes. They started with cycles but they were on electric bikes when they were killed, just enjoying themselves.
Cardiff council workers try to sweep up the mess left by yobs
One worker clears bricks and paving slabs that were hurled at police
Police collect evidence at the scene on Tuesday after a large group of rioters caused serious disorder in Ely overnight
‘They are legal but the police don’t like the boys on them. One officer in particular would try to run them off the road whenever he saw them.
‘The police say they weren’t chasing the boys but if that officer was in the area they would want to keep away from him.’
Mr Silver said the boys loved to ride off-road motorbikes on mud tracks alongside the Ely estate.
He added: ‘They were motorbike-heads but used electric bikes on the roads around their homes. They both had one. They are legal, quite safe and don’t give off emissions. I don’t know why the police think they’re a problem.
‘Kyrees and Harvey were just young lads having some fun on their bikes. They were nice kids and not causing any harm.’
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