CCTV footage has emerged showing a police van appearing to follow two teenagers on an electric bike moments before a fatal crash that sparked a night of violent rioting in Cardiff.
Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and his best friend Harvey Evans, 15, have been named as the two boys who died in the collision in the Ely area of the Welsh capital on Monday.
Following the crash, widespread disorder, which involved up to 150 people, erupted after rumours started circulating on social media suggesting the teenagers had been killed in a police chase.
Alun Michael, South Wales’ Police and crime commissioner, appeared to dismiss the speculation on Tuesday saying suggestions the pair were being chased by police at the time were “false”.
South Wales Police have referred themselves to their watchdog after CCTV footage showed a police van following two people on an electric bike before a fatal crash which sparked a riot in Cardiff.
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However, the CCTV footage, which was filmed one minute before the crash at 17.00pm BST on Monday on Frank Road in Ely 900m (2,953ft) away from the scene, has now been verified by the BBC.
The footage shows two young men on an off-road bike with a police van just one second behind.
At a police press conference on Tuesday night however, the force said it would be referring itself to the watchdog.
Divisional Commander for Cardiff & The Vale, Chief Superintendent Martyn Stone, said: "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."
'Those boys were chased - it is all there on video'
One local 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."
Specially-trained public order officers with riot shields were deployed to deal with the disorder, including some from neighbouring police forces, as several vehicles were set alight, property was damaged and officers were injured.
A friend of the victims, who did not wish to be named, said the two boys “were best friends” who were well known in the tight-knit Ely community for riding dirt bikes around the area.
Scenes being live streamed on Facebook during the violence showed balaclava clad gangs of people throwing fireworks and other missiles at a line of police officers with riot shields who were blocking one end of the street.
The man hosting the video online said: “We all came up to pay our respects and [the police] tried hitting us with batons, so we reacted.”
Kyrees’ mother 'unable to take him to hospital'
At the height of the violence, Kyrees’ heartbroken mother, Belinda Sullivan, appealed on social media for the rioters to stop and said she was unable to reach her child to take him to hospital.
She said: “My son is still laying on the floor due to this riot. I'm sat at home heart broken.
“There are two families 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.”
Shortly before midnight a car was set on fire and burned, while a second vehicle was overturned and also torched as a police helicopter hovered overhead. People also attempted to drive a car into the line of police officers.
One person was attacked after rioters became convinced they were an undercover officer, according to a senior officer at the scene.
Police, including mounted officers on horseback, were seen outside Ely police station in the early hours of Tuesday after suggestions it could be targeted.
'It’s going to be bad again tonight'
Local resident Ahmad Abdullah, 34, said he heard threats from rioters that they wouldn’t stop until they "killed" police officers at the scene.
South Wales Police said "a number" of arrests had been made and 15 officers were injured in the disorder.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson said the scenes in Cardiff were "appalling and completely unacceptable".
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said he was "very concerned" by the "upsetting reports".
One local, who did not wish to be named, said: “If I’m being honest they [youths] provoke the police on purpose to get them to chase them. They know all the back alleyways and sadly this game has ended like this.”
Pastor David Pritchard, 63, who started working with a youth club in the area earlier this year said: “I think the saddest thing is they just need more activity for the youth – a rock climbing wall or something”.
One local resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said many of the people in the riot were “not from here” but had arrived from further afield after hearing about the incident on social media.
“It’s going to be bad again tonight,” they said.