Christopher Kapessa died after being pushed into River Cynon, coroner says | UK News

Assistant coroner David Regan found the 13-year-old had been deliberately pushed into the water “in a misplaced sense of fun, namely as a prank”.

A 13-year-old boy died after he was deliberately pushed into a river, a coroner has said.

It comes after another boy, who was 14 at the time, insisted he did not push Christopher Kapessa into the River Cynon in Rhondda Cynon Taf on 1 July 2019.

Jayden Pugh, now 19, told South Wales Central Coroner’s Court in Pontypridd he accidentally “fell” into Kapessa on a ledge above the river.

However, assistant coroner David Regan found Christopher had been deliberately pushed in.

He gave the narrative conclusion on Monday after a two-week hearing.

Pugh “pushed Christopher into the water in a misplaced sense of fun, namely as a prank,” Mr Regan said.

Emergency services recovered Christopher from the water but he was later declared dead at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

Christopher’s mother, Alina Joseph, told the inquest her family had received racial abuse while living in the village of Hirwaun between 2012 and 2018.

Christopher Kapessa

Mr Regan concluded that Christopher had been “deliberately pushed into the back from behind”.

He added that Pugh’s actions “deprived Christopher of the opportunity to decide whether or not to enter the water”.

“I have no hesitation in finding that Christopher did not consent to being pushed into the river.”

Mr Regan described Christopher’s 2.5-metre fall from the ledge into the river.

The water was 2.5 metres deep and, according to Christopher’s mother, he was not a confident swimmer and began to panic and shout for help.

Other children present, including Pugh, jumped in and tried to save him.

Mr Regan said the children had “acted very courageously in doing so”.

Millie Morgan speaking to Sky’s Dan Whitehead

Millie Morgan, 18, jumped in to try and save Christopher.

She told Sky’s West of England and Wales correspondent, Dan Whitehead, that Christopher was “a shining star”.

“He’d walk in a room and everyone would be laughing. Like a proper joker,” she said.

“He was kind and funny and really good at football. He just brought joy.”

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Ms Morgan said it was “supposed to be a nice day out with a group of friends”.

“I think I was the last to jump in because it’s obviously scary. You could see he was giving up and he couldn’t try anymore,” she added.

“When I jumped in, he went under. And I tried going under but obviously the water was just pitch black and green and freezing and it was so deep.”

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