THE MOTHER of a 12-year-old boy who was killed after he was hit by a car while out riding his bike has shared her story of an horrendous wait for closure which she says is still ongoing.

Cole Roper, of Cefn Fforest near Blackwood, was killed after he was struck by Damien Wayne, 34, who was at the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra in September 2019.

Earlier this month, at Newport Magistrates’ Court, Mr Wayne was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 18 months.

South Wales Argus: Cole and Helen

Cole and Helen Roper

Mr Wayne, also known by the alias Adam Bailey, pleaded guilty to causing the Blackwood Comprehensive schoolboy’s death by driving a car not covered by a valid insurance policy.

While Ms Roper says she feels sorry for Mr Wayne, she says she wishes for it to be public knowledge that her son was killed by a driver who was “at least eight miles per hour above the speed limit” when he hit her son.

Ms Roper says she was not invited to attend the sentencing last week, or to give a victim impact statement, which she says has added to her upset. She says she would have liked to have seen the man who hit her son.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) denies accusations that Ms Roper was not given the opportunity to attend court and give a statement.

The CPS says Mr Wayne was driving at at least 48mph in a 40mph zone on the A4049 road between Aberbargoed and Pengam on September 7, 2019, when he hit Cole and his friend, but said Mr Wayne tried to avoid the pair, who had veered too far into the middle of the road before colliding with the vehicle.

A spokesman for the CPS said: “Cole’s life was cut tragically short and our thoughts remain with his family.

“Evidence that Wayne was speeding at the time of the offence and how this contributed to Cole’s death formed an integral part of our case.”


“I feel incredibly sorry for the man who hit my son,” Ms Roper said, reflecting on the last year and a half from her home in Cefn Fforest which she shares with her partner and two children - Lillian and Peighton.

“Nobody leaves the house wanting to knock someone off their bike.

“But I believe my son would potentially still be here if the driver was driving at the speed limit, and I feel that has been brushed over in this case.”

Mr Wayne admitted to making a false statement by failing to declare two speeding convictions – from 2016 and 2018 – when obtaining an insurance certificate between January 1 and September 8, 2019.

A letter sent to Ms Roper by the CPS reads: “I hope that you will receive some comfort in the knowledge that Mr Wayne has acknowledged, by his plea, his role in Cole’s untimely death.”

Ms Roper said: “I find it insulting and very upsetting that the CPS has told me to take comfort in a guilty plea for that charge [causing death by driving a car not covered by a valid insurance policy].

“They have told me that the accident would still have happened if he was driving at the speed limit. How can they honestly tell me that?

South Wales Argus: Cole and Helen

Cole and Helen Roper

“How can him travelling over the speed limit not impact on the potential outcome of my boy’s death?”

She says she’s spent much of the time since Cole’s death "trying to convince others that Mr Wayne was speeding at the time of the incident", and she says the conviction last week was a “kick in the teeth”.

“This is my life now,” she said. “I spend it trying to convince people I’m telling the truth about my own son’s death.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d have a journalist in my house because I’m angry. All I’ve ever wanted is a happy and quiet life.

“But I’ve got to finish this for Cole now. I can’t move on until how Cole died is properly recognised.

“I can’t live the rest of my life thinking I should have fought harder for him.”


Cole’s passing has left a big hole not only in the Roper household, but in his large extended family and the wider community.

Family and friends have dedicated a plaque and a tree to him at Cefn Fforest Eco Park, where Cole and his “butties” played music and sang songs on many summer afternoons.

South Wales Argus: The tribute to Cole at the eco park in Cefn Fforest

The tribute to Cole at the eco park in Cefn Fforest

“I love talking about him and remembering him,” Ms Roper said. “My youngest daughter Peighton [aged seven] is with him all the time now. I hear her talking to him, and she sometimes says she can see him when she shuts her eyes. She wears his clothes around the house too.

“We didn’t tread too carefully with her when explaining what happened to her brother. We told her he’s gone, but I know she’ll be all right. We have a large family that have pulled together tremendously.

South Wales Argus: Cole and his older sister Lillian

Cole and his older sister Lillian

South Wales Argus: Best buddies: Cole and Peighton

Cole and Peighton

“He had a lovely, cheeky laugh, which I still hear all the time.”

The family are particularly proud that Cole’s organs were donated, saving the lives of three people, two of which have written to Ms Roper to send thanks to Cole.

“It’s not usually the sort of conversation you have with your young son [organ donation], but we had spoken about it not long before it happened – and he said ‘they can take everything but not my eyes’," said Ms Roper.

“That was the sort of boy he was. So funny and loving. He loved a cwtch, and he adored his family and friends.”

South Wales Argus: Cole and his younger sister Peighton

Cole and his younger sister Peighton

South Wales Argus: Ms Roper says Peighton was besotted with her older brother, and still speaks about him

Ms Roper says Peighton was besotted with her older brother, and still speaks about him

A Gwent Police spokesman said: “Evidence of the driver travelling at excess speed was submitted by Gwent Police’s forensic collision investigator as part of our enquiries into this road traffic collision.

“This information was shared with Cole Roper’s family by specialist officers, who continue to provide support to them.

“Our thoughts remain with Cole’s family at this time.”

Mr Wayne’s representatives in court were contacted last week, but have not commented.