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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
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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.”

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ICYMI: The 4 key things the IOPC are investigating after Ely crash kills two teenagers

In an update on its investigation into what led up to Monday’s fatal crash, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating:

- The nature of the police interaction with the two boys prior to the collision and the appropriateness of the police officers’ decisions and actions

- Whether at any time the decisions and actions of the officers in the police vehicle constituted a pursuit

- Whether the interaction between the police officers and the boys was reported appropriately by the officers prior to and following the collision

- Whether the actions and decisions of South Wales Police over the interaction were in line with legislation, local and national policies and procedures.

Martha Mchardy27 May 2023 00:00
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Great uncle of teenager killed hits out at police

John O’Driscoll, 15-year-old Harvey Evans’s great-uncle, said the police “should have stopped” when they saw the two teenage boys were not wearing helmets, as he was among the one thousand people attending the vigil on Friday evening for Harvey and his best friend Kyrees Sullivan, 16.

“What happened on Monday with the riot, that was wrong,” he said, referring to violent scenes that took place in the hours after the teenagers were killed in the crash. “The boys were wrong, but it was out of frustration. It was because a lot of the boys get abused by the police around here and so that’s why things kicked off.

“Harvey was my great nephew, we have a big family and we’re all close. They were just young boys. Everyone rides bikes and scooters around here.”

“Yes we find them annoying but that’s just what they do, but as soon as those coppers saw they had no helmets they should’ve stopped,” he added.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 08:10
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Vigil in pictures

Around a thousand people attended the Friday evening vigil. Many of those gathered held blue balloons and wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of the boys. Dozens of blue and orange flares were also lit and fireworks were set off.

Some in the crowd were in tears as the balloons were released into the sky and a moment of silence was held before the crowd broke out in applause. The family requested that no people on Sur-Ron bikes and no police attend the vigil.

Around a thousand people attended the Friday evening vigil
Around a thousand people attended the Friday evening vigil (PA)
Harvey Evans was killed alongside Kyrees Sullivan, 16, when their Sur-Ron electric bike crashed in the Ely area of the city on Monday evening
Harvey Evans was killed alongside Kyrees Sullivan, 16, when their Sur-Ron electric bike crashed in the Ely area of the city on Monday evening (PA)
Many of those gathered at the vigil held blue balloons and wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of the boys
Many of those gathered at the vigil held blue balloons and wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of the boys (PA)
Some in the crowd were in tears as the balloons were released into the sky and a moment of silence was held before the crowd broke out in applause
Some in the crowd were in tears as the balloons were released into the sky and a moment of silence was held before the crowd broke out in applause (PA)
Tara Cobham27 May 2023 08:22
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Bike was birthday present to young victim

Family members of two boys killed in Cardiff while riding an electric bike have said it was an early birthday present to the younger of the victims - an occasion he will never get to celebrate.

Following a community vigil for Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, in Ely on Friday night, the younger boy’s aunt and grandmother said next month should have seen his 16th birthday.

Speaking for the first time since the fatal crash on Monday evening, Harvey’s aunt Hayley Murphy and grandmother Dawn Rees told the BBC Harvey had loved e-bikes and scooters and “did everything” with his pal Kyrees.

“They loved each other like brothers,” Ms Rees said.

Ms Murphy also voiced her lack of faith and trust in the police - sentiments which were echoed by other family members at the 1,500-strong vigil earlier that night.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 09:47
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Mother ‘begged police for hours to know if boys were alive'

Speaking for the first time since the fatal crash on Monday evening, Harvey’s aunt Hayley Murphy and grandmother Dawn Rees told the BBC the boy’s mother had stood at the police barrier for more than two hours begging to know if her son and his friend were still alive.

Ms Murphy said: “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.”

The rioting saw nine people arrested and left 15 police officers injured.

The claims of a pursuit were denied by Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, but the force has since confirmed a van was following Kyrees and Harvey.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation into the circumstances.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:16
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Victim’s uncle speaks of huge turnout at vigil

Another of Harvey’s uncles spoke at the vigil of the huge turnout for his nephew and the 15-year-old’s best friend Kyrees on Friday night.

He said: “We’re all tarred with the same brush here, especially given what happened on Monday.

“But this is the true Ely. Look how many people have turned out to pay their respects.

“The only difference between Monday and today is that the police aren’t here.”

It was understood the police had been asked not to attend.

Many of those gathered held blue balloons and wore white T-shirts adorned with pictures of Kyrees and Harvey, while others stood silently in tears.

A moment of silence was held before the crowd broke out in applause.

Since Monday, hundreds of floral tributes and messages have been left at the scene of the accident in Snowden Road.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:57
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IOPC has appealed for witnesses

Earlier, the IOPC appealed for witnesses who may have seen the moments before the crash.

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.”

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 12:03
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Politicians and community leaders have met to discuss tragedy

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.”

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 12:32
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Harvey and Kyrees ‘loved each other like brothers’, says grandmother

Remembering Harvey, his aunt Hayley Murphy and grandmother Dawn Rees told the BBC he loved e-bikes and scooters and “did everything” with his pal Kyrees.

“They loved each other like brothers,” Ms Rees said.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 12:59
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ICYMI: Police timeline of minutes before crash

A timeline revealing how the minutes unfolded before the Cardiff car crash that left the two teenagers dead was revealed by police.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, South Wales Police’s deputy chief constable Rachel Bacon said the force was aware of “concerns in the local community” around the timeline of events, so laid out what the force knows so far.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 14:44

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