Christopher Kapessa: Boy died after dangerous prank at river, inquest ruleson January 22, 2024 at 2:07 pm

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A 13-year-old boy died after being deliberately pushed into a river, an inquest has ruled.

Christopher KapessaImage source, Family photo

A 13-year-old boy died after being deliberately pushed into a river in a “dangerous prank”, a coroner has ruled.

Christopher Kapessa drowned after getting into difficulty in the River Cynon near Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in July 2019.

Coroner David Regan said evidence from Jayden Pugh, who said that he had slipped and fallen into Christopher, was “untrue”.

He said Christopher was pushed Mr Pugh, now 19, as a “prank”.

Mr Regan said there had also been “no clear or general understanding as to Christopher’s ability to swim” amongst his friends before they went to the river that day.

Mr Regan said Christopher fell 2.5m (8ft) from the ledge into the river, into water that was 2.5m deep, and said he was likely to have suffered from cold water shock, which would have led to the involuntary ingestion of water.

He was later declared dead at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

Mr Regan said there was “no evidence that Christopher’s death was caused by any racially motivated action” and that there was no “evidence of animosity” between any of the children, who all spoke of Christopher as a friend.

He said the actions of children who jumped into the river, which included the boy who pushed Christopher, were “very courageous”.

A bridge over the river Cynon

Mr Regan recorded a narrative conclusion at the end of the inquest in Pontypridd, saying: “Christopher Kapessa, aged 13, died by submersion when initially pushed by another child into the River Cynon.

“The push was a dangerous prank. However, the child responsible did not intend to cause Christopher’s death and himself jumped into the water, with other children, as an unsuccessful attempt at rescue.”

Concluding the inquest, Mr Regan gave his condolences to Christopher’s family, wishing them “all the best for the future” adding that he was “very sorry” for their loss.

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