Drug addict jailed for mowing down family in Penge

A drug addict who ran down and killed a young boy and his aunt while trying to escape police in a stolen car has been jailed for 12 years.

Rosie Cooper, 34, and Makayah McDermott, 10, died after Joshua Dobby drove into them as they walked along a street with other family members in Penge, southeast London, in August.

Dobby, a convicted car thief with 53 previous convictions, was out on licence at the time.

Before losing control, he drove the stolen vehicle, a Ford Focus hatchback, at three times the speed limit along one-way streets, jumping red lights before hitting a bollard and then running into the Cooper family.

After the crash he fled the scene and was heard to shout: "I've killed her! I've killed her!" as police pursued him on foot.

"I was driving, I admit it. I should have just stopped," Dobby said after he was arrested.

"I don't want to go back to jail. Now I might have killed innocent people."

The family had been on their way to play on the swings and have ice creams.

Makayah, who was a child actor, suffered 40 injuries, while Ms Cooper had 53 wounds. A little girl also suffered serious leg injuries.

Dobby has admitted their manslaughter as well as injuring the girl.

In a statement, Makayah's grandfather Martin Cooper told how he watched helplessly as Dobby drove the car at his daughter and four grandchildren.

"On that day, I was there. I watched the car drive into and over all five members of my family," he said.

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

"For the sake of a day or two on the run, he sacrificed the life of my daughter and grandson, killing them and mutilating my granddaughter."

Makayah's father, Omar McDermott, said he felt "bitter, vile, hollow, defeated and cold".

The victims' family hit out at the length of sentence handed down to Dobby.

"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," they said in a statement.

"But he has shown none."

At the time of the crash, Dobby, who had admitted never having a driving licence, had been on his way to sell the stolen car to buy more drugs.

The 23-year-old, who wept in the dock during sentencing at the Old Bailey, told his girlfriend in a letter from jail: "After all this s***, I swear by almighty God that I will never put another drug in my body. I take oath on that.

"Two people have lost their lives cos of my selfish f*****g actions and it all boils down to drugs.

"It should have been me that lost my life but it wasn't. I still have a life and I'm determined to do something with it for the sake of that child."

Dobby admitted he had been "stupid and reckless" while giving evidence, saying: "I understand I have caused a lot of hurt and pain. I'm truly sorry for what I've done."

In mitigation, Tyrone Smith QC said Dobby had had a "fractured upbringing", including time in care.

A "principal family member" was also an addict.

"His upbringing can only be described as horrific," Mr Smith said.

"Those people responsible for parenting him failed in the most lamentable way to protect him from drugs, provide a safe and loving environment and maximise the positive aspects of his character."

Dobby said he would not have committed his offences were it not for his addiction.

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