Cardiff riots: Police were not chasing boys at time of crash, politician says

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Two teenagers whose deaths in a road accident sparked a riot were not being chased by police at the time of the crash, a senior politician has insisted.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in the Ely area of Cardiff while riding an electric bike.

A video circulating on social media appears to show a police vehicle following a bike being ridden by two people a few minutes before Monday evening’s collision.

South Wales Police said the collision had already happened when the first officers arrived on the scene in Snowden Road.

Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, said he had been “assured and I am still assured youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident”.

The South Wales force said the video clip – taken from a nearby house’s CCTV cameras – would form part of its investigation but insisted there were no police vehicles on Snowden Road at the time of the crash.

Chief Superintendent Martyn Stone said: “A police vehicle in Grand Avenue responded to the report of a collision, attended the area and the officers performed CPR.”

Cardiff road crash & riots
(PA Graphics)

In the crash’s aftermath, Mr Michael gave interviews in which he said there were “rumours” of a police chase, “which wasn’t the case”.

On Wednesday, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Information emerged after we had done the interview which has to be investigated, and the question has to be asked of whether there is a connection between earlier events and the road traffic accident itself.

“We have to look at the facts of what actually happened on Monday. I am assured and I am still assured youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident.

“The road traffic accident is being carefully investigated but there wasn’t a police vehicle in the road where and when the actual accident happened.

“The impression that was given was that of youngsters being chased by the police and an accident happened, an immediate one to the other.

“That, I am still assured, is not what happened, but information emerged of the vehicle and the youngsters in the same street, a different street, shortly before the event. That of course then comes into something that should be investigated.”

Car set alight
The Ford Focus car of Jane Palmer set alight in Highmead Road, Ely (Bronwen Weatherby/PA)

“I was assured there was not… police chasing the individuals at the time the accident happened. That there may have been something earlier is of course something that should be fully investigated.”

Specially trained public order officers were deployed, including officers from neighbouring police forces, as several vehicles were set alight, property was damaged and officers were hurt.

Police said arrests were made after the disorder, which left 15 officers requiring medical attention – 11 of which were treated in hospital.

At about midnight, Belinda Sullivan, Kyrees’s mother, pleaded on Facebook with the rioters to stop because her son’s body remained at the scene of the crash.

Floral tributes
Flowers and tributes left for the two teenagers (PA)

Tributes were paid to the teenagers, with one local resident, Bridy Bool, calling Harvey a “sociable” boy with “loads of friends” and who loved motorbikes and football.

She said he was best friends with Kyrees, who was “into the same things”.

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