Christopher Kapessa drowned in River Cynon as result of ‘dangerous prank’

Christopher’s mother accused the CPS and South Wales Police of institutional racism, claiming the decision would have been different if her son was white.

In July 2021, the family won the right to a judicial review into the decision not to prosecute Pugh but in January 2022, judges at the High Court dismissed the application.

During the inquest, police described how Pugh had been dubbed a “killer or murderer” on social media, with one campaign linking Christopher’s death to the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

At times, Pugh’s family were moved from the area and police safeguarding measures were put in place to protect them and their home.

But Mr Regan said: “There has been no suggestion during this inquest that Christopher’s death resulted from a racially motivated act.”

Following the coroner’s findings, a CPS spokesman said: “Christopher’s death was an unimaginable tragedy and our thoughts remain with his family.

“Each case is different and the CPS’s role is to make an independent assessment on whether to bring a prosecution, not to determine the innocence or guilt of a suspect.

“We have always made clear the reasons why our test was not met to charge anyone in connection with this heartbreaking case.

“Our decision that a prosecution was not in the public interest was considered and upheld as lawful by the Administrative Court in 2022.”

‘A heartbreaking case’

Assistant Chief Constable Danny Richards, of South Wales Police, said: “The tragic death of Christopher Kapessa deeply shocked and affected many people in the local community.

“Our thoughts remain with his family and friends who have had to relive the terrible tragedy through the recent inquest proceedings.

“South Wales Police made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who have examined our initial response and investigation into the circumstances surrounding Christopher’s death.

“We hope that this independent scrutiny and the outcome of the inquest proceedings will give us a greater understanding of the issues which have been raised about this case.”

David Ford, from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said: “This was a heartbreaking case in which a 13-year-old boy lost his life and our thoughts remain with Christopher’s family, friends and all those affected by his death.

“After our investigation was completed in February 2021, we provided Christopher’s family with the details of our findings and explained the reasoning behind the complaint outcomes.

“While it is clear that aspects of communication with Christopher’s family could and should have been handled better by South Wales Police, we found no evidence to justify bringing any disciplinary proceedings against individual officers.”

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