Two boys who tragically lost their lives in a collision while riding an electric bike had received it as a birthday gift for the younger victim, according to family members. The community of Ely gathered for a vigil in memory of 16-year-old Kyrees Sullivan and 15-year-old Harvey Evans. The younger boy’s aunt and grandmother expressed their sorrow, highlighting that Harvey would have celebrated his 16th birthday the following month.
During the vigil, balloons, fireworks, and flares were released to honor the teenagers. Their deaths led to incidents of rioting, with allegations that the police were pursuing them prior to the accident. The circulation of CCTV footage showing a marked South Wales Police van following the boys on the Sur-Ron electric bike contributed to the unrest and disorder in Ely.
Hayley Murphy, Harvey’s aunt, and Dawn Rees, his grandmother, recounted the anguish they experienced while desperately seeking information about the well-being of the boys. They claimed that the police provided no answers until someone shared a video of the alleged police chase, which triggered the events that unfolded, told BBC.
The rioting resulted in nine arrests and left 15 police officers injured, as reported by South Wales Police. Although Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, denied the existence of a pursuit, the police have confirmed that a van was indeed following Kyrees and Harvey.
Harvey’s family members expressed their lack of trust and faith in the police, sentiments echoed by others at the vigil. They cited mistreatment and harassment of young boys in their community as a cause of frustration. The family acknowledged that riding bikes and scooters was a common activity among the youth in the area and emphasized that the police should have intervened when they noticed the boys were not wearing helmets.
Floral tributes and messages have been left at the accident site on Snowden Road since the incident occurred. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision. They are appealing for witnesses who may have information leading up to the crash and are examining the nature of the police interaction with the boys.
The IOPC aims to determine whether the police officer’s actions constituted a pursuit and if the officers appropriately reported their interaction with the boys before and after the collision. They have expressed gratitude for the cooperation and assistance received from the local community during their investigation.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, politicians and community leaders gathered to discuss the situation. Plans were made for a grassroots-led initiative, sponsored jointly by local community representatives, public agencies, and organizations such as Action in Caerau and Ely, the Welsh Government, and Cardiff Council. This initiative aims to develop a community plan focused on addressing the long-term needs of the residents of Ely, responding to the collective trauma experienced by the community.