Mum of drowned teen Christopher Kapessa 'forcefully denied' opportunity to grieve her son

  • Alina Joseph sat down with ITV Wales reporter Hamish Auskerry

The mother of Christopher Kapessa has described how she has been "forcefully denied" the opportunity to grieve her son's death.

Alina Joseph said her fight for justice for Christopher has been "very painful and traumatic".

"It has impacted in everything I do as a mother", she said.

A coroner, Mr David Regan, concluded that Christopher died after being deliberately pushed into a river in south Wales in July 2019.

However, he also concluded that there was no evidence that the personal responsible intended to cause any harm to Christopher.

In an interview with ITV Wales, Alina Joseph said the inquiry into her son's death had impacted her massively.

"And what makes it worse," she added, "is not being able to grieve properly. I've been denied, forcefully denied that because I had to ask question.

"The first justice would be for the person responsible for his death to have gone through the justice system, not just been invited to the police station.

"It's not that I'm a bad person seeking this kind of justice - it's the law that says if one has committed a criminal offence, particularly the death of somebody else, they have to go through the justice system."

Christopher's mother, Alina Joseph, made a statement outside of the coroners' court. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Ms Joseph, criticised decisions made by South Wales Police and said she did not trust the force because of the way her family had been treated.

She said: "The second justice is for South Wales Police, as well as the CPS, to change their attitudes and behaviours, especially in regard to a black and minority ethnic [family].

"How they treat us, how they treat our communities, it is one-sided. They need to start making those changes, not just putting it on a piece of paper but actually actioning it out."

At the conclusion of the two-week inquest into the 13-year-old’s death in July 2019, Mr David Regan lifted reporting restrictions on the teenager accused of the push. 

He has now been named as 19-year-old Jayden Pugh, who was 14 at the time of the incident.

Mr Regan told the packed court that he rejected Mr Pugh’s account that he slipped and fell into Christopher, because no other child witness has recounted that version of events. 

However, Mr Regan also concluded that there was no evidence that he intended to cause any harm to Christopher. He said it is his view that the push by Mr Pugh was done through a "misplayed sense of fun… namely as a prank and not with any malicious intention".

Assistant Chief Constable Danny Richards of South Wales Police issued a statement following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Christopher Kapessa.

He 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 re-live 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.

The IOPC said there was no disciplinary case to answer but recommended management action for the officer involved, with additional training on dealing with bereaved families, equality and diversity, and unconscious bias.

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