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Saturday May 18, 2024
Saturday May 18, 2024

Teenager’s tragic drowning unveils disturbing racism: Family recounts abusive ordeals leading to Christopher Kapessa’s death



13-year-old Christopher Kapessa’s mother reveals a history of racial abuse her family faced in the lead-up to the tragic drowning incident

The heartbreaking case of 13-year-old Christopher Kapessa’s drowning has taken a distressing turn as the boy’s mother, Alina Joseph, shared details of the racial abuse her family endured before his untimely death. Christopher drowned in the River Cynon near Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taff, in July 2019, allegedly pushed by another boy, then aged 14, from a ledge into the water.

Alina Joseph, in her testimony at the South Wales Central Coroner’s Court, recounted the distressing experiences her family faced since their move from London to Hirwaun in South Wales in 2011. She stated that her seven children, including Christopher, encountered severe racist abuse from the community, leading to feelings of isolation.

Living in Hirwaun, the family reported instances of racial hate letters, derogatory graffiti on their property, and violent incidents involving their sons. Despite contacting the police, Joseph expressed dissatisfaction with the authorities’ response, claiming that even incidents of property damage were dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

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The racial abuse extended to Christopher at his secondary school, where another child allegedly subjected him to racist comments, resulting in a one-day exclusion for the offender. Joseph emphasized her efforts to teach her children resilience but noted that as they grew older, they began defending themselves against continued attacks.

The inquest heard from a 17-year-old witness who stated that he saw the accused boy push Christopher into the water. Describing the incident, he noted the initial uncertainty about Christopher’s swimming ability and the subsequent panic when it became apparent that he couldn’t swim. The witness mentioned efforts by others to rescue Christopher.

The tragic incident raises concerns not only about the circumstances surrounding Christopher Kapessa’s death but also the deep-seated racial tensions the family faced within their community. The inquest continues, shedding light on the events leading up to the fateful day in July 2019.


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