Cardiff riots: CCTV ‘shows police van driving behind bike minutes before fatal crash’

Deaths of two teenagers in road collision followed by clashes between police and scores of rioters

Andy Gregory,Tara Cobham
Tuesday 23 May 2023 23:44 BST
Comments
CCTV shows police van following electric bike before Cardiff crash

Newly-emerged CCTV footage appears to show a police vehicle driving behind an electric bike minutes before a fatal crash which killed two teenagers and sparked a riot in Cardiff.

Two teenage boys – Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15 – were killed while riding an electric bike in Ely on Monday evening, in a crash police said was followed by “large-scale disorder” in which 15 officers were injured, with cars torched and fireworks set off.

South Wales police and crime commissioner Alun Michael suggested on Tuesday morning that rumours of a police chase prior to the crash had become “rife” shortly before locals clashed with officers, but said this version of events “wasn’t the case”.

However, CCTV footage emerged hours later appearing to show a police van driving behind an electric bike on Frank Road in Ely, some 900m from the scene at 5.59pm, minutes before the crash.

South Wales Police said it would review the footage but that there were no police vehicles on the road of the crash when it took place.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, has announced it will send investigators to assess whether or not it will carry out an independent probe into the crash.

CCTV footage has emerged appearing to show a police van driving behind an electric bike
CCTV footage has emerged appearing to show a police van driving behind an electric bike (Wales News)

In a press conference on Tuesday evening, South Wales Police said the footage would help the force to piece together events prior to the collision.

Chief superintendent Martyn Stone said: “We’ve received CCTV footage which shows a police vehicle following a bike at just prior to 6pm. This footage is being recovered as part of the investigation and will assist us in piecing together the circumstances leading up to the collision.

“The families are being kept up to date. We can confirm that ... when the collision occured, there were no police vehicles on Snowden Road. A police vehicle in Grand Avenue responded to the report of a collision, attended the area, and officers performed CPR.

Harvey Evans, left, and Kyrees Sullivan
Harvey Evans, left, and Kyrees Sullivan (Sourced)

“The investigation has involved the studying of CCTV and tracking data from the police vehicle. At this stage, we do not believe any other vehicles were involved.”

Ch Supt Stone said 11 officers were admitted to hospital and four treated at the scene in the wake of Monday night’s disorder.

He added that local residents who were “understandably very frightened ... have our assurances we will be doing our best to arrest all of those responsible”.

“A number of arrests have already been made and more will follow,” he said, without specifying how many.

Riot police and dogs sought to contain the disorder on Monday night
Riot police and dogs sought to contain the disorder on Monday night (Getty Images)
A resident’s Ford Focus was set alight on Highmead Road during the unrest
A resident’s Ford Focus was set alight on Highmead Road during the unrest (PA)

As the unrest unfolded, Kyrees’s mother Belinda took to social media to describe her heartbreak at being unable to reach her son’s body for hours due to the ongoing violence.

She wrote on Facebook shortly after midnight on Tuesday: “My son is still laying on the floor due to this riot I’m sat at home heartbroken there are 2 familys [sic] 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.”

(PA)

Jenny Samson, a relative of one of the victims, said the police’s behaviour was “disgusting”.

She told Sky News: “We were all at the scene and the police wouldn’t let the mums and dads come and see their own kids lying on the floor.

“They just kept saying, ‘We’ll let you know in a minute.’ It was disgusting how they treated them.”

A disabled woman, who also lives nearby, said she was left “trapped” after rioters torched her car.

Jane Palmer watched from inside her home on Highmead Road as her Ford Focus was set alight. Her family tried to stop the fire using water from their garden hose.

“I’m disabled, so now I’m trapped without my car,” she said. “Why are they doing this? It’s just silly now.”

Council workers cleared debris from the area around a car that was set alight in the riot
Council workers cleared debris from the area around a car that was set alight in the riot (PA Wire)

Scenes livestreamed on YouTube showed young people throwing fireworks and other missiles at a line of police officers with riot shields who were blocking one end of the street, as a helicopter could be heard hovering overhead.

Police, including mounted officers on horseback, were seen outside Ely police station in the early hours of Tuesday after suggestions it could be targeted, and shortly before 3am rioters moved down Highmead Road, followed by police who were trying to disperse them.

The riot was condemned by various politicians from across the political spectrum on Tuesday, with Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson saying: “The reports of disorder, violence, arson and specifically attacks on police officers are appalling and unacceptable.”

As police held their press conference, WalesOnline reported that around 100 people had turned out to pay their respects at the site of a tribute set up to Harvey and Kyrees, with flowers and balloons left at the scene.

Bridy Bool, who lives nearby, said that Harvey and Kyrees were “best friends”, adding: “Harvey was such a young boy, a sociable boy, he had loads of friends and he loved motorbikes and football.”

A woman reported to be Harvey’s godmother was quoted by the MailOnline as saying: “He was a social butterfly, loved his motorbikes, loved bikes, loved his football. He was a typical 15-year-old.”

A man reported to have helped circulate the CCTV footage on social media added: “If the police say they weren’t chasing the boys, what have they got to say about the video?

“There’s two of them on the bike just before six o’clock – there would have to be two different lads on a single bike at the same time for it not to be Harvey and Kyrees.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in