Christopher Kapessa was pushed into the the River Cynon, near Fernhill, Wales, in July 2019 as a prank by a friend and, as he was not a strong swimmer, fell under the water and later died
The fate of a teenager pushed into a river during a “prank” was sealed when someone uttered five simple words which led to his death.
Christopher Kapessa had been playing near the River Cynon , near Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in Wales, on July 1, 2019, when he was pushed into the river, and drowned. The 13-year-old Mountain Ash Comprehensive pupil was deliberately pushed into the river, assistant coroner David Regan ruled earlier today, after a two-week hearing at South Wales Coroner’s Court.
The group of teenagers had been spending time by an area known as the Red Bridge when a boy, named today as Jayden Pugh, pushed him into the water. Four witnesses had told the inquest Pugh, now aged 19, shoved Christopher after saying words to the effect of “shall I push him in”.
Christopher, who was not a confident swimmer according to his mother, began panicking and shouted for help. Other children, including the Pugh, jumped in and tried to rescue him, but Christopher disappeared below the surface at about 5.30pm. Emergency services recovered him from the water at 7.25pm. He was later declared dead at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
Christopher’s heartbroken mother Alina Joseph earlier told the hearing she was taken to hospital after being told Christopher was involved in an accident but was not told he had died. She said: “Nobody told me Christopher had died until I worked it out for myself.”
“There are no words to explain how I felt, no words to describe how this has left our family. Life will never be the same after Christopher’s death. I will continue to fight for justice for him.”
Mr Regan added: “Christopher was a loving member of his family. It’s clear from the evidence of his mother Alina Joseph, his death has left a large hole in all of their lives.
“He was a keen footballer, good at maths. He was full of fun, laughter, and jokes. The evidence of his peers was he was well liked in his friendship group at school.
“In my judgement, Christopher was deliberately pushed into the back from behind by [the boy] using his hands. [The boy’s] actions deprived Christopher of the opportunity to decide whether or not to enter the water. I have no hesitation in finding Christopher did not consent to being pushed into the river.
“He pushed Christopher into the water in a misplaced sense of fun, as a prank, and not with any malicious intent. The push was a dangerous prank, however the child responsible for it did not intend to cause Christopher’s death and himself jumped into the water with other children in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue.”