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No evidence racism played role in death of Christopher Kapessa, inquest told

There is no evidence that racism played a role in the death of a 13-year-old boy who drowned after allegedly being pushed into a river, an inquest has been told.

Christopher Kapessa drowned on 1 July 2019 in River Cynon, in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

South Wales Central Coroner's Court in Pontypridd has heard from witnesses that another boy, then aged 14, pushed Christopher from a ledge.

The boy was not prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as it concluded it would not be in the public interest to do so, having found it to be a "foolish prank".

The CPS and South Wales Police were later accused of institutional racism by Christopher's family for not prosecuting the boy.

The decision was upheld by the High Court in 2022.

The now 19-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied deliberately pushing Christopher and told the inquest he accidentally fell into him.

South Wales Police's Detective Chief Inspector Matt Powell, the senior investigating officer in the case, gave evidence to the inquest on Wednesday.

DCI Powell told the inquest that initial accounts from those present "suggested Christopher had fallen into the water".

"There were other accounts that [the boy] had pushed Christopher into the water, albeit in the context of child's play," he added.

Police then re-interviewed those who were at the scene.

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Asked by the counsel to the inquest, Tom Leeper, whether police had found any evidence bullying may have been responsible, Mr Powell said: "No I didn't".

"That became hypothesis five for me, as to whether Christopher was bullied or encouraged to enter the water. I found no evidence of that," he said.

"Certainly no evidence of racism playing a role in him entering the water or any of the events that happened on the riverside."

The inquest continues.