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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Tara Cobham and Joe Middleton

‘Our hearts are truly broken’: Families of ‘best friends’ killed in Cardiff crash pay tribute


The families of two teenage best friends killed in a crash in Cardiff that sparked riots have paid tribute, saying their “hearts are truly broken” as they pleaded for “peace within the community”.

Harvey Evans, 15, died alongside Kyrees Sullivan, 16, after the crash in the Ely area on Monday evening.

Video footage on social media appears to show the two boys on an electric bike being followed by a marked police van minutes before the fatal crash that prompted a riot hours later.

Their families have now paid tribute to the boys, saying they were “loved by not only their families but by their community as well”.

Harvey’s family said their hearts were “truly broken” over the loss of the “much-loved son, grandson, brother, nephew, friend and boyfriend”.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and 15-year-old Harvey Evans were killed in a collision while riding an electric bike in the Ely area of Cardiff on Monday evening (Sourced)

The statement added: “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.”

The family of Kyrees said both he and Harvey were “best friends since they were young and went everywhere together”.

Their statement said: “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.

“He was loved so much by his grandparents and aunties and uncles and his many cousins.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, who died in a road traffic collision (Family handout/PA)

“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 & laughs.

“They were loved by not only their families but by their community as well. Belinda, Craig & families would like to thank everyone for all their kind words, flowers, and messages since they lost their son.”

After initially dismissing rumours the teenagers were being chased by police, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales Alun Michael admitted on Wednesday morning that it was a “possibility”.

Shortly before midnight a car was set on fire and burned fiercely, while a second vehicle was overturned and also torched (PA)

This followed the release of CCTV footage appearing to show a police van driving behind an electric bike on Frank Road in Ely, some 900m from the scene at 5.59pm, minutes before the crash.

A witness told PA they saw a police van following the two teenagers on an electric bike minutes before they were killed in a collision.

The woman, who only wished to be called Leanne, said the police van on the other side of the road as it passed her.

She said: “It was faster than they normally go round here. If you’re coming round that corner - no lights and no sirens - how do I know you’re there?

“What happens if I had been crossing the road at that exact point?

“Minutes later I heard about a crash, but I didn’t put two and two together. What were the police chasing them for?”

Anger is growing among family and friends who have claimed South Wales Police were chasing the boys.

Council workers securing the area immediately around a car that was set alight in Ely (PA Wire)

Kyrees' uncle told The Times: "My nephew and his best mate are dead because they chased him on a little electric motorbike."

Bridy Bool, said to be Harvey’s godmother, added: “I know they were being chased by the police as there are videos going around that the police were chasing them

“They didn’t have helmets on and there was no reason for them to be chased. Harvey had just eaten his tea and had left his mum’s. He had been at home all day with his mum, and he went with his friend, and this happened.”

Paying tribute to Harvey, she described him as “such a young boy, a sociable boy”. She said: “He had loads of friends and he loved motorbikes and football.”

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon outlined a timeline of events before the fatal crash unfolded.

She told reporters the bike turned around after seeing the police van in Frank Road and was then followed by the officers, who did not turn on their lights or sirens.

Specially trained public order officers were deployed on Snowden Road, including officers from neighbouring police forces (Getty Images)

They turned into Stanway Road, which is closed to traffic at one end, and local residents believe Harvey and Kyrees carried on to pass through the bollards to avoid the police - forcing officers to turn into Howell Road and on to Grand Avenue to loop around the estate.

Ms Bacon said that at the time of the collision the van was in Grand Avenue - half a mile away from Snowden Road. When officers learned of the collision they were on Cowbridge Road West and turned on their blue lights and headed to the scene.

“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,” she said.

After the briefing was over, the officer were asked by a reporter why the CCTV footage that has appeared on Tuesday and Wednesday appears to show a police van following the boys prior to the crash.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said she wanted to be “as transparent as possible” with the residents of Ely and that the police watchdog, the IOPC, will be looking into if there was a pursuit of the boys.

Hundreds of bunches of flowers have now been placed at the scene.

On Monday night, specially trained public order officers were deployed on Snowden Road, including officers from neighbouring police forces, as several vehicles were set alight, property was damaged and officers were injured.

Scenes being livestreamed on YouTube showed young people throwing fireworks and other missiles at a line of police officers with riot shields who were blocking one end of the street.

Shortly before midnight a car was set on fire and burned fiercely, while a second vehicle was overturned and also torched.

One person was attacked because rioters thought they were an undercover officer, according to a senior officer at the scene.

A vigil and balloon release has been planned to pay tribute to the boys on Friday evening.

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