Teenage suspect will not be prosecuted in connection with Christopher Kapessa's death, CPS confirms

Christopher Kapessa died in 2019.

The mother of a 13-year-old boy who died after he was pushed into a river during a "foolish prank" has criticised the decision not to prosecute the teenager responsible.

Christopher Kapessa's body was found in the River Cynon, near Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taff, on July 1 last year.

An investigation was launched into the death of the year eight Mountain Ash Comprehensive School pupil in late July 2019, but Christopher's mother, Alina Joseph, accused the police of failing to properly investigate what had happened.

She claimed inquiries stopped after a day after it was decided her son's death had been an accident.

Christopher's body was recovered from the river Cynon

This year, South Wales Police had passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider bringing charges but the CPS said there was no "public interest" to bring a manslaughter case despite "evidence to support a prosecution".

This decision has now been confirmed in a review carried out by the CPS after Christopher's family appealed against the original decision.

Christopher's mother Alina Joseph, from the Cynon Valley, said: "Every breath I take is a breath without my child, constantly inflicting emotional turmoil and distress till this very day.

"The decision taken by the CPS not to prosecute those responsible for the death of my son goes against all the principles of equality and justice and inequality that many campaigners have fought to eradicate for many years.

"Sadly, my son Christopher has also fallen victim to the collective failures from organisations that are supposed to provide a professional service.

"When will the inequalities in justices end?

"I also ask, if the tables would be reversed, would we have had the same outcome?

"I keep hoping for justice, but it seems that I have to fight for it at every given step and turn."

Jenny Hopkins, who oversees the appeals and review unit at the CPS, said: "Christopher Kapessa's death was an awful tragedy and on behalf of the CPS I want to offer our deepest condolences to his family.

"Although there was evidence to support a prosecution for manslaughter, it was not in the public interest to prosecute".

Christopher Kapessa died after he was allegedly pushed into the River Cynon.

In March, Christopher's family accused the CPS and South Wales Police of institutional racism.

The CPS said there "was nothing in any of the statements of the young people which suggested any racial issues or that this was a hate crime".

"Christopher's tragic death occurred after a group of children went out to have fun by the river", Jenny Hopkins continued.

"The evidence showed that Christopher was pushed into the river as a foolish prank, with nothing to suggest that the suspect intended to harm him, although that was the awful consequence.

"Factors we took into consideration when reaching our decision included the young age of the suspect, who was 14-and-a-half at the time, his lack of a criminal record, and otherwise good character.

"We recognise our decision will be upsetting for the family who may feel the suspect's life has been prioritised over Christopher's.

"We have applied our legal test to the evidence and I hope they can understand how and why we came to the decision."

A South Wales Police spokesman said the force was "committed to implementing any opportunities for learning".

"We can only imagine how difficult the past year has been for Christopher's family and the pain and grief that they are enduring after his tragic death," he said.

Christopher Kapessa's family also made a complaint to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, about how South Wales Police managed the investigation.

"Our investigation into South Wales Police's investigative steps following the recovery of Christopher Kapessa's body from the River Cynon was partially suspended while the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed its charging decision following a request from Christopher's family," a spokeswoman said.

"Our investigation is considering whether South Wales Police acted in accordance with relevant policies and procedures in investigating Christopher's death.

"While we have made good progress, we have some outstanding lines of inquiry which we will work to complete now the CPS has made its decision.

"We will continue to update Christopher's family, the force and the coroner."