Teens killed in crash were not chased – police commissioneron May 24, 2023 at 10:15 am

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“I am still assured that the youths were not being chased,” South Wales Police’s Alun Michael says.

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Two teenagers whose deaths led to riots in Cardiff, were not being chased by police when they were killed in a bike crash, a police commissioner insists.

Alun Michael, South Wales’ police and crime commissioner, said he was assured the “youths were not being chased”.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in the crash on Snowden Road, Ely, shortly after 18:00 BST on Monday.

CCTV footage shows a police van following a bike about half a mile from the crash site just minutes earlier.

“I was assured, and I am still assured, that the youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident,” Mr Michael told Radio Wales Breakfast on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Mr Michael said: “It would appear that there were rumours, and those rumours became rife, of a police chase – which wasn’t the case.”

The deaths sparked a riot in Ely which saw cars set alight, fireworks thrown at police and 15 officers injured.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15

After the CCTV footage circulated, South Wales Police said it was “studying” the video and police vehicle tracking data, adding there were “no police vehicles on Snowden Road” at the time of the crash.

The CCTV footage, which has been analysed by BBC Verify, is time-stamped to 17:59 on Monday on Frank Road.

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Mr Michael has denied being misinformed when he previously claimed that no police chase had occurred.

“What happened was footage emerged of something that happened a short time before the road traffic accident, and that too needs to be investigated,” he said.

“That was not available to the police or to me at the time when we responded to the first thing that happened, which was a road traffic accident.”

aerial map showing where the boys were seen on CCTV and where the crash occurred

Mr Michael claimed the CCTV footage was filmed five minutes before the crash occurred.

“There was no police vehicle in the road where the crash happened. There was a police van in another street and the police were called quickly to the accident and conducted CPR,” he added.

“That is being investigated as well and the matter is being referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) so anything that comes in needs to be investigated fully so we have the full picture.”

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said Mr Michael had “serious questions to answer” following the police’s response to the incident.

“The role of police and crime commissioners is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account,” she said.

“Alun Michael this morning spoke rather as a spokesperson and defender for South Wales Police.”

Ely tribute

Cardiff Council said the clean-up operation cost about £22,500 after three cars were burnt out, tonnes of debris was left on the street and a lamp-post was broken.

The council said 14 staff and 10 vehicles were involved in the clean-up, which saw almost five tonnes of waste removed from the site.

Vicar at the Church of the Resurrection in Ely, Canon Jan Gould, said “can’t even begin to imagine” the amount of pain and grief the family of Kyrees and Harvey will be feeling.

She added it was “absolutely 100% vital” communication between the police and the community was handled properly.

“This is a very difficult community for the police to work in, we have some people in our community here that are very antagonistic toward police… a police presence anywhere will wind them up.

“But we also have a very large part of our community that are very reassured by police presence, so the police are treading this very fine line between these two different groups trying to maintain order.”

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Following the crash about 100 to 150 people gathered in Ely and at about 20:00 the force tweeted that it was working to “de-escalate” disorder.

The force said it had received a large number of calls from “understandably frightened” residents.

During the disorder, 15 officers were injured and 11 were taken to hospital, according the force.

Following the incident, First Minister Mark Drakeford – whose Cardiff West constituency includes Ely – said he was “very concerned” by the “upsetting reports”.

Tribute in Ely

Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who represents the Cardiff West constituency in the UK parliament, said on Tuesday it was “highly unfortunate” that the information initially provided by the police appears not to have been “entirely correct”.

“It’s important, if we’re going to have trust and confidence between the community [and] the local police force… there has to be openness and clarity,” added Mr Brennan.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said what had happened was “appalling and completely unacceptable”.

Police watchdog, the IOPC, has said it is sending investigators to assess “whether the IOPC will carry out an independent investigation”.

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