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Teenager was crying after allegedly pushing boy who drowned in River Cynon – inquest

11 Jan 2024 3 minute read
South Wales Central Coroners’ Court, Pontypridd. Photo via Google

A teenager was crying and told friends “it was an accident” after allegedly pushing a 13-year-old boy into the River Cynon shortly before he drowned, an inquest heard.

Christopher Kapessa died after the incident in the River Cynon near Fernhill in Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales, on July 1 2019.

South Wales Central Coroners’ Court in Pontypridd has been told that another boy, then aged 14 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pushed Christopher from a ledge into the water.

Christopher began panicking and shouted for help – with other children jumping in to rescue him before he disappeared below the surface.

Emergency services attended and Christopher was recovered from the water, but later declared dead at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.


Giving evidence to the inquest, a 17-year-old boy – who cannot be named – told the hearing that Christopher had wanted to jump in the river but was “scared he would drown”.

“I remember saying ‘Chris, if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to’. He was debating it,” he said.

“He wanted to go in but he didn’t at the same time because he was scared he would drown.”

The witness said Christopher was stood on a ledge for about 10 minutes before the teenage boy “pushed his back” with his hands, causing Christopher to enter the water.

He told the court: “He hit the water and when he came up from under the water he started panicking, he was going wild, you could see he was panicking.”

After Christopher entered the water, the witness said he told the boy accused of pushing him: “You stupid c***.”

The boy described how other children present at the site, known as the “red bridge”, then jumped into the water and attempted to rescue Christopher.

He described how the boy alleged to have pushed Christopher into the river swam over and “was trying to save him”, but had to return to the land.


The witness said: “He was crying. He was saying he didn’t mean it, it was an accident.”

Another 17-year-old boy described how Christopher had been saying he wanted to jump into the river, but was unsure because “he couldn’t swim”.

“He was looking to see if he could jump in,” the boy told the inquest.

“He was trying to big himself up. He was a bit scared too. He was asking us should he jump in.

“I turned round to speak to a few of the boys. I turned round as soon as I heard a splash.”

When asked at what point Christopher began asking for help, the boy replied: “Straight away he said it, as soon as he was in the water.”

Witnesses have described how the group of friends, including Christopher, met at the site after school.

The teenage boy accused of pushing Christopher into the river is due to give evidence at the hearing on Friday.

The inquest continues.

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