Blue balloons released in emotional vigil for Cardiff teenagers who died in crash after being followed by police

26 May 2023, 19:39 | Updated: 26 May 2023, 19:58

A vigil was held for Kyrees Sullivan, 16 (top right), and his best friend, Harvey, 15 (bottom right, furthest right) who died in the crash
A vigil was held for Kyrees Sullivan, 16 (top right), and his best friend, Harvey, 15 (bottom right, furthest right) who died in the crash. Picture: LBC/Police

By Will Taylor

Well-wishers let off a series of blue balloons in tribute to two teenage best friends who were killed in a crash in Cardiff.

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A crowd of about 400 people packed into the street where the boys died, in the Ely area of the Welsh capital, to pay tribute to Kyrees Sullivan, 16 and Harvey Evans, 15.

Mourners released blue balloons, which had been requested by their families, as a mark of respect during the vigil.

Their deaths sparked a riot and Kyrees' mother Belinda Sullivan accused police of effectively killing her son, who had been riding on a Sur-Ron bike.

A friend of the families said on Facebook: "We know tensions are still high right now. But we ask if for the balloon release people can keep their anger inside.

"The mums asked if no Sur-Rons can be seen around out of respect and let us all come together for the love and life that they had here with us."

John O'Driscoll, Harvey Evans's great-uncle, said: "What happened on Monday with the riot, that was wrong.

"The boys were wrong, but it was out of frustration. It was because a lot of the boys get abused by the police around here and so that's why things kicked off.

"Harvey was my great nephew, we have a big family and we're all close.

"They were just young boys. Everyone rides bikes and scooters around here.

"Yes we find them annoying but that's just what they do, but as soon as those coppers saw they had no helmets they should've stopped."

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Vigil for Cardiff teenagers

The pair were seen on CCTV being followed by a police van moments before the fatal crash, though South Wales Police said officers were not in the area when the fatal smash happened.

However, community tensions with police boiled over and a riot broke out after the crash, leaving residents fearful as vehicles were torched.

Nine people have been arrested over the disorder and more detentions are expected.

Read more: Nine arrests over Cardiff riots that broke out following crash that killed two teenagers

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, was one of the crash victims
Kyrees Sullivan, 16, was one of the crash victims. Picture: Police

But anger among residents has hardly been quelled by police statements since the deaths.

Initially, South Wales Police denied claims the boys had been pursued by officers as "rumours" until the footage emerged.

Then, the force's deputy chief constable Rachel Bacon said that happened because the situation was "unclear" at the time.

Harvey Evans with his family
Harvey Evans with his family. Picture: Police

But at a vigil on Wednesday evening, Ms Sullivan, mother of Kyrees, said: "The police killed my son. I've got nothing else to say."

The balloon vigil on Friday came as a meeting was held between community representatives and public officials, chaired by Wales's first minister Mark Drakeford, convened.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The meeting started with everyone marking a moment of reflection for the family and friends of Kyrees Sullivan and Harvey Evans."

Police continue to ask for any information about what happened.

The force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The agency's director David Ford said: "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 would welcome anyone we haven't yet spoken to yet, who believes they have footage or witnessed anything relevant between 5.35pm and 6.10pm on Monday, to come forward to us.

"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."

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