‘There is a lack of trust in police if you are a mother of Black boys’: Woman whose son was shot dead says officers interrogated her after he died

Exclusive: ‘They have reduced his memorial to two black bin liners left at the roadside in their efforts to dehumanise,’ Angella Kelson says in first media interview

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
Sunday 25 July 2021 17:29
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<p>Ms Kelson describes her son Kyle as deeply ‘loving and loyal’</p>

Ms Kelson describes her son Kyle as deeply ‘loving and loyal’

A woman whose son was shot dead in London last year said the police interrogated her after he died and did not believe he lived in the “prestigious” area where he was killed.

Kyle Kelson was shot in the head in Brocks Drive, North Cheam, a leafy suburban area near Croydon, on 19 June last year.

Four young white men have been charged with the 25-year-old’s murder and are due to stand trial in December.

In her first interview since Kyle was killed, his mother Angella Kelson told The Independent the Metropolitan Police had fired questions at her when they came to tell her of his death at 5am.

The 51-year-old, who lives just minutes from the street where he died, said: “I was on my own. Nobody else was with me. There was a lot of quizzing. They said: ‘It’s a very prestigious area’.

Kyle Kelson was a carer for his severely disabled sister

“They implied as he was black he must have come from somewhere else. It was a lot of questions rather than ‘I am sorry to inform you’. His death does not fit the narrative of black-on-black crime.

“There is a lack of trust of police if you are a mother of black boys. Stop and searches and disproportionate deaths of black people in custody don’t help.”

Ms Kelson said Kyle, who she described as deeply “loving and loyal”, was one of the main carers for his sister who is severely disabled and non-verbal as well as being in a wheelchair.

To compound her grief, the mother-of-two said she felt like her son’s death had been disrespected by local residents due to racism in the predominantly white area.

She explained she is now trying to move to a different part of London, feeling scared for her own safety, but the local authority has said she must downsize if she relocates, which means her disabled daughter will no longer have a bedroom.

Ms Kelson, whose property has been fitted with stringent surveillance measures in the aftermath of her son’s death, said she was not willing to “lose“ her daughter as well.

She added: “I’m being held to hostage in the house. I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] since the death of my son and the bad treatment afterwards.”

Kyle, who previously worked for a scaffolding company and an electrical store, had stayed home to care for his sister so his mother could go back to university and study later in life.

“He and his sister had a very close relationship,” Ms Kelson said. “She needs two people to hoist her up and help her. He was always there.”

Ms Kelson said she was angered by the fact a memorial on the street where her son died had been recently disassembled, with flowers and photos placed in two black bin bags by the side of the road after just a few days.

She said the local council had told her residents had complained about the memorial after just one day and that it had to be removed due to complaints about people visiting at night.

“It’s on a public footpath,’” she said. “It feels like locals are being supported by the local authorities to dishonour the memory of my son.

“They have reduced his memorial to two black bin liners left at the roadside in their efforts to dehumanise and deny him the dignity that should be afforded to the dead.

“I’m sure they are mothers and fathers like myself, but it appears that their lack of moral compass and empathy does not support them to understand that no one deserves to die the way my son did that night.”

The young father leaves behind a three-year-old son

Ms Kelson said the council denied placing the memorial in bin liners but went on to highlight several memorials in the local area which had remained in place for years. “This is a blatant case of selective grief,” she added.

She explained many council workers that she has dealt with over her son’s death have wrongly assumed he died in a case of black-on-black crime.

She said as a woman of colour she has suffered a combination of sexism and racism in the local area, explaining that a few years back she went to the police when she was spat at in the street.

Ellen Milazzo, Victim Support’s Head of National Homicide Service, said: “When communities do not come together, it can impact the grief and shock felt by the bereaved and compounds the trauma of losing their loved one.”

A spokesperson for the Met Police said they had “established a strong family liaison relationship with the Kelson family and we continue to support them”.

The representative added that four men have been charged with Kyle’s murder but they cannot comment “further on the case while proceedings are active”.

“I am in grief but unable to grieve,” Ms Kelson said. “Life is never going to be the same without him. Kyle’s son misses his dad. He is trying to learn to be at peace with it at his young age.”

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