Penge police chase deaths driver Joshua Dobby jailed

Rosie Cooper and Makayah McDermott Image copyright BBC/Oli Regan
Image caption Rozanne Cooper, 34, and her nephew Makayah McDermott, 10, died in Penge on 31 August

A drug addict who killed an aspiring child actor and his aunt during a police chase has been jailed.

Joshua Dobby, 23, was out of jail on licence when he knocked over Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rozanne Cooper, 34, in Penge, south London, last August.

Dobby had previously denied manslaughter but changed his plea last month at the Old Bailey.

He was jailed for 12 years for two counts of manslaughter with a further three to serve on licence.

Dobby, of no fixed address, was being pursued by police as he drove a stolen black Ford Focus at three times the speed limit down one-way roads and through red lights, before losing control.

The court heard he hit a bollard before ploughing into Makayah and Ms Cooper, and three other members of the family, two aged 13 and one aged eight.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The court heard Joshua Dobby had 53 previous convictions when he killed Makayah and Ms Cooper in the crash

After the fatal crash, he jumped out of the car and stepped over 13-year-old Yahla McDermott who had suffered serious injuries, and ran from the scene.

At the time, on 31 August, the family had been on their way to get ice creams and play on the swings in a park, the court heard.

'Nothing to live for'

Yahla described lying trapped under the car when she saw Dobby flee.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPolice statement from Cooper family

In a victim impact statement, she said: "I couldn't feel my legs. An ugly man's foot stepped over me and ran."

Ms McDermott, who told the court she was ashamed of her scarring, said "I feel like my life is over... because there is nothing to live for."

Following the hearing, they said said they were "disappointed" in the length of Dobby's sentence.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Flowers were left at the scene paying tribute to those killed in the crash

"We came here today to see justice done and in the hope that Joshua Dobby would show remorse and sorry for killing our beautiful Rosie and our wonderful Makayah. But he has shown none," they said in a statement.

'No attempt to swerve'

Earlier, Makayah's grandfather accused the killer of treating the lives of his family as "worthless" and "expendable".

In a pre-sentence statement, Martin Cooper told how he watched helplessly as Dobby lost control and drove the car at his family.

"I watched as the driver of the car made no attempt to stop or apply the brakes and no attempt to swerve," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Forensic police officers examined the car after it crashed in Lennard Road

Giving evidence, Dobby admitted he had been coming down from smoking crack cocaine and heroin when he killed Ms Cooper and Makayah.

He was on his way to sell the car for £300 to buy more drugs at the time, the court heard.

The defendant had 53 previous convictions dating back to the age of 13, including a conviction for aggravated vehicle taking, having crashed a car into railings with police in pursuit, aged 16.

Just five days before the crash police had abandoned a pursuit of the same Focus because it was too dangerous, the court heard.

Dobby, who never has never been able to drive legally, was on licence from an 18-week prison sentence for handling stolen goods at the time of the crash.

Mitigating, Tyrone Smith QC told how Dobby had a "fractured upbringing", estranged from his father with time in care and a "principal family member" who was also an addict.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites