Police van caught on CCTV following two teens minutes before they died in e-bike tragedy was half-a-mile away at time of fatal crash and was NOT in pursuit, top cop says – as grieving families say ‘our hearts are truly broken’
- Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in a crash in Cardiff on Monday
- There were riots after their deaths as thugs attacked police and destroyed cars
- Did you witness the crash or events leading up to it? Email [email protected]
A police van caught on camera following two teenagers who died in an e-bike crash was half-a-mile away when the pair were fatally injured, a top cop has said.
South Wales Police (SWP) insists officers were not pursuing Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, when they crashed on a council estate in Ely, Cardiff, on Monday night.
Their deaths sparked riots in the area after it was claimed the ‘best friends’ were being chased by police moments beforehand – something SWP initially dismissed as a rumour before CCTV emerged showing a marked van following the boys minutes before the crash.
Now the force, which has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has admitted the teens were being followed by a van 85 seconds before the crash, but say it did not have its lights or sirens on and turned away after the boys cut through an alley where it couldn’t go.
It comes as the families of the two boys paid tribute to them, describing them as ‘best friends since they were young’ and revealing their passing had left their hearts ‘truly broken’.
Best friends Kyrees Sullivan, 15, and Harvey Evans, 16, (pictured together as youngsters) were knocked off their bikes by a vehicle near their homes on Snowden Road, in the deprived suburb of Ely at around 6pm on Monday
In the aftermath of the fatal incident on Snowden Road, there were scenes of violence as people rioted by throwing rocks and fireworks at the police, injuring 15 officers, as well as setting cars on fire.
The violence came after it was claimed the boys were killed while being chased by the police SWP denied this but the emergence of two videos showing a marked police van following the pair as they rode an e-bike on a nearby road cast doubt on this.
At a press conference this afternoon Rachel Bacon, Deputy Chief Constable of SWP, said she was ‘aware of concerns in the local community’ about what happened, but insisted the van itself was half-a-mile away when crash happened.
She said police initially denied the pursuit because: ‘The situation yesterday morning was still very unclear.’
She insisted she gave an ‘honest account’ but admitted that there were still ‘hundreds of hours’ of investigative work to take place.
Timeline of the crash according to police
17:59.40 CCTV shows the bike travelling towards the police vehicle in Frank Road. The bike then turns around.
18:00.52 The bike is followed by the police vehicle, which you have already seen on CCTV images. Blue lights or sirens were not illuminated.
18:01.18 Police vehicle is at New Ely Church roundabout and travels through Archer Road, Stanway Road and Howell Road.
18:02.31 Police vehicle turns onto Grand Avenue.
18:02.17 – 18:02.41 approximate time of the road traffic collision in Snowden Road.
At the time of the collision, the police van is in Grand Avenue, half a mile away from Snowden Road.
18:06.59 The police vehicle is on Cowbridge Road West when it receives information about a road traffic collision, illuminates blue lights and makes its way to the collision scene.
Despite the force being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct DPP Bacon said no officers had been interviewed under caution or suspended over the boys’ deaths.
She said: ‘On Monday evening a serious road traffic collision happened in Snowden Road, Ely which tragically claimed the lives of Kyrees Sullivan and Harvey Evans, two friends who lived in the community of Ely.
‘Our thoughts are with the families and friends of Kyrees and Harvey and everyone affected by this terrible incident. We can only begin to imagine the grief they are experiencing at this time.
‘The families continue to be supported and updated by family liaison officers.
‘I am aware of concerns in the local community regarding the timeline of events which culminated in the fatal collision, including CCTV footage which shows a police vehicle following a bike in Frank road.’
She said a timeline of events had been established after ‘clear witness accounts, analysing tracking data from police vehicles and studying CCTV’.
According to the official police timeline the bike was being followed by the police van, with no blue flashing lights or siren, at 52 seconds past six on Monday evening.
The alleged chase ended at 18:02.31 when the marked police van turned into Grand Avenue, Ely.
Kyrees and Harvey were in a collision between 18:02.17 – 18:02.41 and died at the scene in Snowden Road, Ely.
She said: ‘There was no police vehicle in Snowden Road at the time of the collision and we believe there were no other vehicles involved in the incident.
‘We have made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct to ensure the matter receives independent scrutiny. We will provide them with all the information we have, and they will undertake an independent investigation.’
She said that despite the boys deaths ‘nothing can excuse the level of violence and disorder which followed’.
She said: ‘Property was damaged and people were scared in their own homes.
‘Our focus now is to fully investigate the circumstances of the collision and the appalling scenes that followed.’
She added: ‘We have already recovered around 180 pieces of body worn footage from police officers at the scene and this number is expected to grow.
‘Officers are also going through hundreds of hours of public CCTV and videos posted on social media.’
In questions that followed she admitted no officers had been suspended over the incident and that more facts were still coming to light.
She refused to answer questions on why the boys were being chased or say when the police stopped the chase.
She said: ‘I want to be as transparent and open as I can with the community of Ely so that they understand what has happened. I have set out a timeline based on the factual information that we have but the IOPC are conducting an independent investigation regarding any pursuit has taken place.’
At a press conference today Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon (pictured) said the police van seen on CCTV following the boys was half-a-mile away from them at the time of the crash
Kyrees and Harvey, pictured here when they were children in a photo released by their family, were followed by a police van minutes before they died
A new video shows a police van following an e-bike just minutes before an accident that killed two boys. This image shows the e-bike
A marked police van then follows behind the bike about one second later
This afternoon the families of Kyrees and Harvey released tributes to the pair, while also calling for ‘peace within the community’ while the investigation into their deaths takes place.
Harvey’s family said: ‘Our hearts are truly broken by the sudden death of Harvey, our much-loved son, grandson, brother, nephew, friend and boyfriend.
‘He lived life to the full, he had a big heart and deep down he truly cared. He was a best friend to Kyrees and our thoughts and prayers are with his family also.
‘We ask for peace within the community and request that people leave the investigation to the police so we can get the answers we so desperately need to lay Harvey to rest.
‘As Harvey’s mum, I want to remember our son as the fun and loving son that he was, and not as the media are portraying him now.’
Kyrees’s family also paid tribute and thanked the local community for their support since his death.
‘Kyrees was a loving, caring handsome young man, a loving son to Belinda and Craig, little brother to Aleah and Jordan and a special uncle KyKy to Myra,’ they said.
‘He was loved so much by his grandparents and aunties and uncles and his many cousins.
‘Him and Harvey along with Niall were best friends since they were young and went everywhere together, they both had so many friends and were very well liked doing many things together, having fun and laughs.
‘They were loved by not only their families but by their community as well.
‘Belinda, Craig and families, would like to thank everyone for all their kind words, flowers, and messages since they lost their son.’
The family of Kyrees Sullivan, pictured here in an undated handout photo, called him a ‘loving, caring handsome young man’
The family of Harvey Evans, pictured right with them in this undated handout photo, said ‘he had a big heart and deep down he truly cared’
A family friend said today: ‘I’m just absolutely devastated and heartbroken for my friends. My heart is hurting. That’s the little boy I used to babysit and push around in a pram.
‘It is so, so sad. They both went to see their boys yesterday and they are both very numb and haven’t got much to say at the moment.’
The friend said the original CCTV video of the ‘chase’, which has circulated on social media, supported claims a police van was following the pair on the day of the incident.
They believed the boys had got away from the police by riding up Stanwey Road, which is blocked off to traffic at one end, and had then ridden on to the adjacent Snowden Road where the crash happened.
READ MORE: Police face watchdog probe as CCTV emerges ‘showing officers in van following boys on e-bike minutes before fatal crash that sparked Cardiff riots’
South Wales Police have said they are investigating claims of a pursuit but said the collision had already happened when the first officers arrived on the scene.
But the friend said: ‘The reason why the police wasn’t on the scene is because the boys have gone through a blocked street and the police knew they couldn’t go that way so they have turned on v to Grand Avenue, which led the boys to cut through on to Stanway Road on to Snowden Road.
‘The police have already stated they were on Grand Avenue and they were not on the scene. They weren’t on the scene because they lost them.’
Cars were torched and 15 officers injured in horrific scenes on Monday night after claims that the boys were being ‘chased’ by police.
Initially Labour’s police and crime commissioner for the area dismissed the claims, telling the BBC that allegations of a police chase were ‘rumours’ circling on social media.
But the first piece of CCTV footage from minutes before the crash then emerged, showing a police van driving just a second behind the boys.
Last night, South Wales Police admitted officers had been following the boys and referred itself to the IOPC). But Chief Superintendent Martyn Stone insisted that there were no police vehicles on the street when the fatal collision took place.
The teenagers, from the suburb of Ely, were known for riding the e-bike around the streets despite a clampdown on illegal riding. Friends described them as ‘motorbike heads’ who had grown up together on the tough estate in the west of Cardiff and were ‘just enjoying themselves’ when they died.
Harvey’s godmother, Bridy Bool, said Harvey was ‘a typical 15-year-old’ who ‘loved motorbikes, bikes and football’ and who had eaten dinner with his mother Nadine just ten minutes before he died.
She insisted the boys had done nothing to spark a police ‘chase’, adding: ‘They were bare-faced innocent children.’
In the first video, the van was seen driving past at 5.59pm. South Wales Police say they were not chasing best friends Kyrees Sullivan, 15, and Harvey Evans, 16, before the collision near their homes in Ely, Cardiff
The boys can be seen riding in security footage on their bike 5.59pm. Five seconds later, a police van is seen following behind him
Police received reports of a serious collision on Snowden Road at 6.03pm on Monday. Officers in a vehicle on Grand Avenue then responded to the scene and administered CPR. CCTV footage of the alleged chase was filmed on Frank Road at 5.59pm
The footage showing the police van following the boys was reportedly filmed on Frank Road in Ely – about half a mile from the site of the crash on Snowden Road.
The clip is time-stamped at just after 5.59pm, with the fatal collision reported to police at 6.03pm.
It was quickly circulated on social media and friends of the boys’ families confirmed yesterday that they believed it showed them sharing the £4,000 e-bike. Neither appeared to be wearing a helmet.
Mr Stone told a press conference in Cardiff on Tuesday: ‘We have received footage that shows a police vehicle following a bike at just prior to 6pm.
‘This footage is being recovered as part of the investigation and will assist us in piecing together the circumstances leading up to the collision.
‘The families are being kept up to date.
‘We can confirm the following investigations have been carried out so far and when the collision occurred there were no police vehicles on Snowden Road.’
‘A police vehicle on Grand Avenue responded to the collision, attended the area and officers performed CPR.’
He revealed police received reports of a serious collision on Snowden Road at 6.03pm on Monday, but did not say who reported the crash.
‘The investigation has involved studying CCTV and tracking data from the police vehicle,’ Mr Stone told reporters. ‘At this stage, we do not believe that any other vehicle was involved.’
MailOnline approached South Wales Police to clarify several points, including where the collision occurred, who reported it and why officers are interested in tracking data from police vehicle that was not on the road at the time of the crash.
Despite the huge interest in the case, reporters were told the press office closed at 5pm, which was before the chief superintendent made his statement to the press.
Up to 150 thugs went on the rampage after the crash in scenes which were branded ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’ by Downing Street. Pictured: An automobile burns on Highmead Road during unrest following a serious road crash earlier on Snowden Road
Pictured: Police officers on Howell Road in Cardiff as they face a ‘large scale disorder’ at the scene of a serious road traffic collision on Snowden Road in Ely
Before the CCTV emerged, South Wales Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis said Ely residents had been left ‘frightened by the actions of this large group who were intent on causing crime and disorder’.
The level of violence towards emergency services and the damage to property and vehicles was totally unacceptable, he added.
A clean-up operation was under way yesterday, with police on high alert over fears of more violence. Initially Alun Michael, Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, said the ‘trigger’ was false rumours of police involvement in the case.
‘It would appear that there were rumours, and those rumours became rife, of a police chase, which wasn’t the case,’ he told Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘And I think it illustrates the speed with which rumours can run around with the activity that goes on on social media nowadays, and that events can get out of hand.’
Yesterday Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru Senedd member for South Wales Central, called for a full investigation to ‘ensure peace is restored and that this never happens again’. Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said people were ‘deeply worried and concerned’ and appealed for ‘calm’.
Specially trained public order officers were deployed on Monday night, including officers from neighbouring forces, as several vehicles were set alight, property was damaged and officers were injured.
Up to 150 thugs went on the rampage after the crash in scenes which were branded ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’ by Downing Street.
Footage livestreamed on YouTube showed thugs launching fireworks, rocks, paving slabs and even a door at police before charging at them until 3am. Young men were also seen ripping off their shirts and covering their faces as fires raged in the street.
Fifteen police officers were injured – 11 of whom required hospital treatment – while one person is understood to have been attacked because rioters thought they were an undercover officer.
South Wales Police said ‘a number of arrests’ have taken place, with more expected.
Local resident Ahmad Abdullah, 34, told the BBC he had heard rioters saying ‘they would not stop until they killed a police officer’. The father-of-three, whose taxi was among the vehicles damaged, added: ‘The people in this community don’t feel safe now. We feel it could escalate at any time.’
Jane Palmer watched from a window as people set fire to her car, saying: ‘I’m disabled so now I’m trapped without my car. Why are they doing this? It’s just silly.’
Downing Street today said the carnage was ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’ (Pictured left, Kyrees Sullivan, while right, Harvey Evans)
Locals believe the chase started at an area known as Birdies Lane which connects Ely to the neighbouring area of Fairwater.
One resident said: ‘Those boys were chased – it is all there on video for us all to see. That is why people took to the streets to do what they did. Loads of people have seen it and the police are just trying to cover themselves.’
A man who helped to circulate the video on social media added: ‘If the police say they weren’t chasing the boys, what have they got to say about the video?
‘There’s two of them on the bike just before six o’clock – there would have to be two different lads on a single bike at the same time for it not to be Harvey and Kyrees.’
Earlier a friend of the two boys claimed they were being picked on by a local officer who had used a police vehicle to ‘knock them off’ the electric bike they shared.
Other neighbours questioned the safety of a police van being used in a chase at 6pm on a busy housing estate while children are out of school.
READ MORE: Cardiff estate turned into a ‘warzone’ after two teens died in e-scooter tragedy: Workers clear streets as police hit back at social media rumours that ‘chase’ was to blame
Amid the chaotic scene, rumours had spread that the boys had been hit by a bus. But the bus company in a statement today said its vehicle was not involved.
‘We are aware of rumours circulating regarding the unfolding news from Ely. We can confirm that our vehicle was not involved in the incident,’ a spokesperson told MailOnline.
‘Our service 13 bus arrived at Snowden Road after the incident had taken place, and had to remain in place due to the unfolding events. We would like to emphasise that our vehicle was not involved, and our thoughts are with all those affected.’
The boy’s deaths triggered a night of carnage, which Downing Street today condemned as ‘appalling and completely unacceptable’, adding: ‘We remain grateful to the emergency services and first responders for all their support to the community and restoring order.’
Meanwhile, speaking in the Senedd about the incident, Jane Hutt, minister for social justice in Wales, said more arrests are expected.
She added: ‘But clearly this is something where our thoughts are also with the community, such a warm and strong community.’
The area was being cleared up today after up to 150 thugs – many in balaclavas – torched and smashed cars and hurled paving slabs and fireworks at police, injuring 12 officers.
At around 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 collision.
She wrote: ‘My son is still laying on the floor due to this riot I’m sat at home heart broken there are two familys broken right now.
‘I just want to see my son and I can’t because of this riot that have happened pls I beg you all to stop and let my son be moved to hospital so I can see him we need to see our sons.’ [sic]
An overturned, burned out car at the scene of Monday night’s riots in the Ely area of Cardiff
Locals survey the scene on Snowden Road in the deprived suburb of Ely
The pair were known for riding the electric motorbike around the streets even though there had been a clampdown on illegal riding.
Harvey’s godmother said he had his haircut and had eaten his dinner with his mother Nadine just 10 minutes before he died alongside his ‘best friend’ while riding together on a £4,000 Sur-Ron electric bike.
Bridy Bool said the youngster ‘loved motorbikes, bikes and football’ – and had done nothing to spark what she described as a police chase.
She said: ‘The poor boy was laying there until 2.40am – they have taken his body and they won’t tell anybody where he is.
‘We don’t know what hospital he was taken to or nothing. His mother is going to send herself into a frenzy as she doesn’t know where her son is.
She added: ‘They just left their mums’ houses, they had just had their tea. He had just had his dinner. He had left his mum’s house for 10 minutes and this happened. He had been home all day with his mum.
‘He had his haircut, come home, had his food and this has happened and he was bare-faced he wasn’t balaclava-ed up.
‘These poor families, they were bare-faced innocent children.’
She said the families had no support and family liaison officers still had not come to the parents’ home because of fears over the riots.
‘They haven’t been told nothing of the incident, they have been left in the dark. The police haven’t confirmed his identity, no one has been told nothing.’
She said her godson was a ‘typical young boy who loved socialising’.
Speaking to MailOnline, friends of the two boys said they were ‘motorbike heads’ who had grown up together on the tough estate in the west of Cardiff (Pictured: Harvey Evans)
Violence quickly erupted following false social media rumours of a police chase being behind the deaths, with riot officers sent in to quell the disturbance and make arrests. (Pictured: Kyrees Jordan Sullivan with his mother Belinda)
She added: ‘He was a social butterfly, loved his motorbikes, loved bikes, loved his football. He was a typical 15-year-old.’
Speaking to MailOnline, friends of the two boys said they were ‘motorbike heads’ who had grown up together. One teenager said the pair had been involved in incidents with a local police officer who was picking on them.
John Silver, 19, said: ‘Kyrees and Harvey were best friends, they grew up together and always had bikes.
‘They started with cycles but they were on electric bikes when they were killed, just enjoying themselves.
‘They are legal but the police don’t like the boys on them. One officer in particular would try to run them off the road whenever he saw them.
‘The police say they weren’t chasing the boys but if that officer was in the area they would want to keep away from him.’
Mr Silver said the boys loved to ride off-road motorbikes on mud tracks alongside the Ely estate. He added: ‘They were motorbike-heads but used electric bikes on the roads around their homes. They both had one.
‘They are legal, quite safe and don’t give off emissions. I don’t know why the police think they’re a problem.
‘Kyrees and Harvey were just young lads having some fun on their bikes. They were nice kids and not not causing any harm.’
Cardiff council workers try to sweep up the mess left by yobs
One worker clears bricks and paving slabs that were hurled at police
He added: ‘It was an electric bike, they often rode it together. I don’t know who it belonged to but it looked like a standard bike with pedals but it had an electric motor on it.’
Another Ely teenager, who did not want to be named, said: ‘People were saying the boys were being chased but I don’t think the police were after them.
‘It’s more that Kyrees and Harvey always have an eye out for the police because they’ve been deliberately knocked off their bikes by them in the past.
‘It went out on social media that the boys were being chased and it all kicked off from there.’
Plaid Cymru Senedd member for South Wales Central, Heledd Fychan, said yesterday: ‘My thoughts go out to the families of both teenagers that tragically lost their lives last night, and my thoughts are with the whole community as they rebuild.
‘There must now be a full investigation to understand how this tragic incident led to the violence that followed to ensure peace is restored and that this never happens again.’
One woman said that the area looked like a ‘warzone’ today, as teams of council workers tried to clear the road of debris.
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