“It’s heartbreaking. We gave Harvey the electric bike as a birthday gift,” lamented a family member of the victims, shedding light on the origins of a devastating incident that led to the loss of two young lives. Ely, a community grappling with sorrow, united in a vigil to remember 16-year-old Kyrees Sullivan and 15-year-old Harvey Evans. The poignant event saw the younger boy’s aunt and grandmother sharing their sorrow, emphasizing that Harvey’s 16th birthday was just around the corner.
Amidst the gathering, a cascade of balloons, fireworks, and flares painted the sky, paying tribute to the lives cut short. However, the tragic deaths also set off a chain reaction, manifesting in episodes of civil unrest. Allegations arose, asserting that the police were pursuing the boys prior to the fatal collision. This unrest was further fueled by the circulation of CCTV footage, revealing a South Wales Police van tailing the teenagers on their Sur-Ron electric bike, igniting a firestorm of disorder and turmoil in Ely.
Hayley Murphy, Harvey’s aunt, and Dawn Rees, his grandmother, recounted their harrowing experience of desperately seeking information about the boys’ well-being. They expressed frustration at the lack of answers from the police, until a video depicting the alleged chase emerged, triggering the subsequent events. Speaking to BBC, they shared their anguish and dissatisfaction with the handling of the situation.
In the wake of the unrest, South Wales Police reported nine arrests and disclosed that 15 police officers were injured. While Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, denied the existence of a pursuit, it has been confirmed that a police van was indeed tailing Kyrees and Harvey.
Family members of Harvey voiced their deep-seated distrust and skepticism towards the police, sentiments echoed by others in attendance at the vigil. They pointed out a history of mistreatment and harassment of young boys within their community, fueling their frustrations. The family acknowledged that bike and scooter riding was a common activity among local youth and emphasized that the police should have intervened upon noticing the boys’ failure to wear helmets.
Floral tributes and heartfelt messages now adorn the site of the tragic accident on Snowden Road, serving as a somber reminder of the lives lost. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the collision. They are appealing to potential witnesses who may possess crucial information leading up to the crash and are diligently examining the nature of the police interaction with the boys.
The IOPC’s primary objective is to ascertain whether the actions of the police officers constituted a pursuit and whether they appropriately reported their encounters with the boys before and after the collision. The organization expressed gratitude for the cooperation and support received from the local community during their investigative efforts.
In the aftermath of this heartrending tragedy, political figures and community leaders convened to address the situation. Collaboratively, they formulated plans for a grassroots-led initiative, with sponsorship from local community representatives, public agencies, and esteemed organizations like Action in Caerau and Ely, the Welsh Government, and Cardiff Council. This initiative aims to construct a comprehensive community plan, focusing on addressing the long-term needs of Ely’s residents and providing support to heal the collective trauma experienced by the community.