Mum of drowned black boy claims his death would have been probed if he was white

Christopher Kapessa’s angry family say ‘it’s as if his life has no value’ (Image: WALES NEWS SERVICE)

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The mother of a black boy who drowned after allegedly being pushed into a river claims his death would have been fully investigated if he was a white child.

Teenage schoolboy Christopher Kapessa lost his life after entering the River Cynon near Fernhill, Wales, two years ago.

The 13-year-old could not swim and was found dead in July 2019.

Parent Alina Joseph said she was first told that her son had "jumped off a bridge" and later that he had "slipped" before he drowned.

However, she claims evidence subsequently came to light to suggest Christopher was allegedly pushed into the river by a 14-year-old boy.

Now, she says his death would have been properly probed if he wasn't black, WalesOnline report.

Alina Joseph is demanding justice for her son

Speaking to BBC Wales Investigates, she said: " We had a knock on the door to say Christopher is missing and my daughter came upstairs screaming Christopher’s jumped off a bridge.

“I could hear the sound of the helicopter and I was like 'oh my gosh, what’s he gone and done'. It felt like seconds ago Christopher came and told me he’s going to play football and all of a sudden, helicopters.

"Why would he jump off a bridge? That was what I was thinking. He’s going to get a proper telling off.

"The police just shouted out Alina they’ve found Christopher, we need to go to the hospital. I came out of the house, the sky looked gloomy – looked like something is wrong. When they put on the sirens I said this is not good.

"There he was at the end of that hallway lying there cold with all this stuff in his mouth wrapped up like a baby.

The 13-year-old could not swim – and died after entering the water

His mother has spoken of the harrowing moment she discovered he had died
(Image: Media Wales)

"I was screaming 'Christopher'. There was no response."

Following her son's death, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Ms Joseph that there was sufficient evidence to charge a 14-year-old boy with Christopher's manslaughter but it was not in the public interest to do so. The family is now fighting the decision in the High Court.

"You can do anything harsh to black people and get away with it," she said. "They've tried to disregard it as if Christopher's life has no value. You know, if that isn't racism, I don't know what is.

"I do believe that if Christopher was a white child and amongst 14 or however many children and those children were black, the investigation from the get-go to the very end would have been very different.

"The police would have done things differently, taken it seriously, they would have used so many different approaches to serve justice for that white child.

She claims evidence came to light to suggest her son was allegedly pushed into the river by a 14-year-old boy

"What about Christopher's future? He had a good future ahead of him."

Initial investigations by South Wales Police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident.

However, following complaints made by Christopher's family, the case was picked up by the force's major crime investigation team.

A referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Although no one has been charged with an offence in relation to Christopher's death, Ms Joseph revealed last year that she received a letter from the CPS saying there was evidence that her son was pushed into the river by a 14-year-old boy.

Ms Joseph said the letter revealed that there was enough evidence to prosecute the boy for manslaughter, but the CPS concluded that there was no public interest in doing so.

The teenager was described as being "mature and intelligent for his age" and having a "good school record" and there was no evidence that the boy had meant to harm Christopher.

The CPS said he was allegedly pushed into the river during a "foolish prank".

Consideration had to be given to the impact that bringing a prosecution against him would have on his future, it added.

On June 10, lawyers representing Christopher's family will ask the High Court to undertake a judicial review of the CPS' decision not to pursue a prosecution.

" Christopher's death can't just be in vain. As a mother, you don't just stop parenting once they've died. Christopher is not allowing me to just sit down there and give up. If it’s going to take 10 years or 15 years, I just have to deal with it I’ve got no choice," Ms Joseph said.

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