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Cardiff bike crash – latest: Family of teen killed reveal what started riot after ‘police chase’

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in an electric bike crash in Ely on Monday, sparking a night of riots in Cardiff

Tara Cobham
Saturday 27 May 2023 16:19 BST
Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in an electric bike crash in Ely on Monday, sparking a night of riots in Cardiff

Family members of the two boys killed in Cardiff while riding an electric bike have revealed what sparked the riot that followed the teenagers’ deaths.

Following the vigil for Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, attended by a thousand in Ely on Friday night, the younger boy’s aunt and grandmother spoke of the community’s anger at the lack of answers following the revelation of footage of “police chasing” the teenagers on Monday evening, shortly before they died.

CCTV footage of a marked South Wales Police van following the teenagers as they rode a Sur-Ron electric bike quickly spread on social media after the incident, leading to violent clashes and disorder in Ely.

Harvey’s aunt Hayley Murphy and grandmother Dawn Rees have now revealed to the BBC: “We were stood at the barrier and we were begging them, begging them, to tell us if they were alive or dead, and they wouldn’t tell us nothing – and then someone ran into the crowd and said ‘I’ve got a video of the police chasing them’, and that is what started it.

“That’s what got everyone angry, so I understand because we wasn’t getting no answers.”


Police say timeline shows vehicle was in Grand Avenue

This is the timeline of events given by Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon:

“At 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 then followed by the police vehicle. You can already see on CCTV images that there were no blue lights or sirens in use.

“18.01.18 police vehicle is at New Church Ely roundabout and travels through Archer Road, Stanway Road and Howell Road.

“18.02.31 police vehicle turns onto Grand Avenue.

“18.02.18-18.02.41 this is the approximate time of the road traffic collision that took place on Snowden Road. At the time of the collision, the police vehicle is in Grand Avenue, half a mile away from Snowden Road.”

She said: “This is a complex investigation and we had to be sure of the facts before confirming them. We have been busy obtaining witness accounts, analysing tracking data from police vehicles and studying CCTV, and this is what we know now.”

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 17:16

We must catch violent offenders, says police chief

South Wales Police must focus now on bringing to justice offenders during a night of violence in Ely, Cardiff, on Monday, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said.

“All I can tell you is that we have done our best given the circumstances we have faced with the information we have had,” she said.

“We have been as honest and direct, and I’m here today to give the information we have now.

“I’ve still got hundreds of hours of investigation that will need to take place.

“I know you’re not going to get all the answers you want today, but speaking to the communities of Ely, we are here to protect you, we absolutely understand it was a terrible night.

“We need to focus on bringing those offenders to justice.”

Ms Bacon said South Wales Police has done the best it could have given the circumstances surrounding Monday night and Tuesday morning, and still had hundreds of hours’ worth of footage to go through.

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 17:24

No officers questioned under caution

No police officers have been questioned under caution since Monday’s disorder in Ely, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said.

She then left the press conference amid confusion as numerous questions were being asked.

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 17:26

Families remember ‘best friends'

The families of Harvey Evans and Kyrees Sullivan paid tribute to the “best friends” as they released a photograph of the pair as young children.

“They were loved by not only their families but by their community as well,” they said.

Harvey (left) and Kyrees (right) when they were younger
Harvey (left) and Kyrees (right) when they were younger (Handout)
Jane Dalton24 May 2023 17:29

More photos of boys who died

(Family handout/PA)
(Family handout/PA)
Jane Dalton24 May 2023 18:00

Watch: Officers have not been interviewed under caution, say police

South Wales Police: Officers have not been interviewed under caution
Jane Dalton24 May 2023 18:20

Reputation damage will take years to recover, says first minister

It will take years for the Ely community’s reputation to recover, the Welsh first minister has predicted.

Mark Drakeford said he had “sorrow” for the family and friends of the teenage boys who died on Monday, but also for the wider community.

“My main thoughts were of just profound sorrow for two young lives that have been lost and their families and their friends, and everything it will mean to them,” he told the BBC.

“But also profound sorrow for that wider community in Ely, which is full of utterly decent, hard-working people that ask only to lead their lives in a way that is peaceful and unmolested, and the reputational damage that is done by the scenes that we saw takes years for a community to recover.”

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 19:06

First minister defends crime commissioner

The first minister of Wales has defended a police and crime commissioner (PCC) who denied officers had been chasing two teenagers on a bike minutes before they were killed in a road accident.

Mark Drakeford suggested Alun Michael, the PCC for South Wales, was “entitled” to rely on information supplied to him by South Wales Police.

Mr Michael had denied there had been a pursuit but was contradicted within hours by video footage showing a marked police van following two boys on a bike.

He later said he had been “assured and I am still assured youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident”.

Mr Drakeford said calls for Mr Michael to quit were to “trivialise the reaction to these tragic events”.

“I’m very determined not to turn anything that happened in Ely into a political football involving individuals,” he told the BBC.

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 19:14

First minister to urge authorities to examine cause of violence

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said he was looking to hold a meeting with public authorities to see whether more could be done in the community of Ely following the disorder.

He said: “13,000 people live in Ely. It is larger than almost any Welsh town, so it’s an area which has a huge mix of people in it and what we saw on Monday in no way at all represents the bulk of people who live in that part of Cardiff.

“The events themselves, as we know, will be investigated by police.

“I hope myself to convene a meeting on Friday of main public authorities to look at not what happened on Monday night but the background of precipitating causes to see just what more we can do to give confidence to people on the estate, that the police have the resources they need to respond effectively and promptly to incidents that happen, and whether there is more that can be done to help young people growing up in that area.”

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 19:45

'Police have questions to answer’

Mr Drakeford said there is “repair work to be done” between police and the community of Ely.

He said: “Well, I think there is repair work to be done in that relationship.

“I think there has been an anxiety, not just this week but over a period of time, that the police don’t have the capacity they need to respond to crime committed or antisocial behaviour that takes place, and if people don’t have confidence that if things go wrong and they don’t get the response that is needed, that can breed a longer-term sense of lack of trust in public authorities.”

He said: “There are questions for police to answer, we know they have referred themselves to the independent investigation service, we must allow that to do its job.

People must wait for South Wales Police to be investigated before making a judgment, he said.

Jane Dalton24 May 2023 19:55

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