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Police watchdog appeals for witnesses to Ely crash

A police watchdog has appealed for witnesses who saw the moments before two teenagers were killed in road accident.

The deaths of Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, in Ely, Cardiff on Monday evening sparked a riot that led to nine arrests and 15 officers being injured.

The exact circumstances of the teenagers’ deaths have not been established, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had already carried out house-to-house inquiries.

Word quickly spread on social media that a marked police van had been following the pair, who were riding a Sur-Ron electric bike, minutes before the crash.

Harvey Evans, left, and Kyrees Sullivan
Harvey Evans, left, and Kyrees Sullivan (Family handouts/PA)

The claims were later denied by Alun Michael, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, but CCTV from the area has since confirmed the pursuit.

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The IOPC said it had recovered CCTV footage from the Ely area and is reviewing initial accounts from the police officers involved.

It said the investigation was examining the “nature of the police interaction” with Kyrees and Harvey and the “appropriateness” of the officers’ decisions and actions.

The watchdog is also considering whether the police officers’ actions in the van constituted a pursuit, and whether the interaction between the officers and the boys was “reported appropriately by the officers prior to and following the collision”.

Hundreds of floral tributes and ballons have been left in Snowden Road to the two boys (Bronwen Weatherby/PA)
Hundreds of floral tributes and balloons have been left in Snowden Road (Bronwen Weatherby/PA)

IOPC director David Ford: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Kyrees and Harvey, as well as all those affected by the loss of two young lives in such a close-knit community as Ely.

“Our investigators have been conducting inquiries and securing evidence in the immediate vicinity of where the events took place, speaking to local residents, distributing leaflets and gathering as much relevant information as possible.

“I am truly grateful for the co-operation and assistance we have received from people within the local community.

“We are working hard to establish the exact circumstances of what took place in the period leading up to the collision. I would like to reassure everyone in the community that our work will be thorough, impartial, and independent of the police.”

On Friday evening, a vigil and balloon release will take place to pay tribute to the boys.

Earlier, politicians and community leaders met to discuss the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “This week, two families are grieving for their sons and the people of Ely have experienced a collective trauma.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of Harvey and Kyrees.

“Representatives of the local community and public agencies, including Action in Caerau and Ely, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council today met in Ely.

“We have agreed to jointly sponsor a grassroots-led initiative to create a community plan for Ely, to respond to the long-term needs of residents. It will be focused on actions and outcomes for people in Ely.”