UK

Man cleared of rioting after Swansea disorder following teenager’s death

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man has been cleared by a jury of rioting during disorder in Swansea last year.

Kye Dennis, 25, of Fforestfach, was found not guilty following a trial at Swansea Crown Court.

He was one of three men who bought an old black Vauxhall Astra for £250, hours before it was used in a riot in the Mayhill area of the city on May 20 last year.

The Astra and a silver Ford Ka were set alight and rolled down Waun Wen Road during the disorder, which was sparked by the sudden death of 19-year-old Ethan Powell.

I didn’t do nothing wrong

Some 27 people aged 15 to 44 were charged with riot-related offences.

Twenty-six have since pleaded guilty.

Dennis denied wrongdoing and said he was only there to “pay his respects” to Mr Powell during a vigil that later turned violent.

The defendant, who ran a recovery and scrap business, collected the car in Carmarthen and took it to Swansea but had no idea what was going to happen to it.

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” he told the court.

He was arrested by police a month after the riot and told officers: “I was there but I didn’t do anything. When it got bad I left. It was disgusting.”

Giles Hayes, defending Dennis, said despite hours of footage being recovered by police, none showed his client acting violently.

Before the verdict was returned, Judge Paul Thomas QC warned those sat in the public gallery that the jury’s decision “must be met with silence”.

But one member of the public was ordered to the cells over the lunch adjournment after ignoring the warning.

He was later brought back to court and, addressing the judge, said: “I am sorry for what happened just now. I didn’t mean for it to come out. It just came out by accident.

“One of my good friends was in the dock and his children are at home and stuff and we got a good result.

“I didn’t mean for it to come out. I am really sorry.”

The judge said he accepted his apology and would not take the matter further.

“I would suggest that if you are in this position again, you may not find a judge who is as lenient as I am with the matter,” he said.

“You came very close to serving a prison sentence for contempt of court and you need to know that.”

Mr Powell was found unresponsive at his grandmother’s home in Lambert Road near the city’s marina on May 18 2021. He died later in hospital.

An inquest into his death found he died of an “unintentional overdose” and a police investigation concluded there were no suspicious circumstances.

During the hearing, Mr Powell’s family reiterated their disapproval of the riot and said they in no way instigated it.

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