Family of child actor and aunt slam 'disappointing' 12 year prison sentence of killer driver Joshua Dobby

Hatty Collier, Tristan Kirk
Killed: Makayah McDermott: PA

The family of a child actor and his aunt who were mowed down and killed by an “out of control” millionaire’s son as he fled police have criticised his “disappointing” jail term.

Joshua Dobby, 23, careered through the streets of south London at three times the speed limit before crashing into 10-year-old Makayah McDermott and his aunt Rozanne Cooper, 35.

He stepped over the badly maimed body of another young child injured in the crash as he fled the scene in Lennard Road in Penge, south London, without glancing back.

Dobby, who had 53 previous convictions, dating back to the age of 13, admitted two counts of manslaughter and injuring the girl in August last year.

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey today to 12 years in prison with a further three on extended licence.

DC Ian Payne speaks outside The Old Bailey in London with the families of Makayah McDermott and his aunt Rozanne Cooper (PA)

In a statement released after the sentencing, the family of Makayah, who had just earned his big break as a child actor in a production of the Wizard of Oz, and Ms Cooper hit out at the length of Dobby’s jail term and said he had shown “no remorse” for his actions.

"The family are disappointed with the length of custodial sentence passed by the judge today,” the family said.

“We came here today to see justice done and in the hope that Joshua Dobby would show remorse & sorrow for killing our beautiful Rosie and our wonderful Makayah – but he has shown none.

Joshua Dobby killed a child actor and his aunt

“They were taken from us with still many years of their lives to live and have left our family with a deep void that will never be filled.

“We, as a family would like to thank the police, all our friends, relatives and everyone for their comfort and support during our dark days since Rosie and Makayah were taken from us.”

In an impact statement read out in court, Ms Cooper’s father Martin, who was at the scene of the crash, said he had been left feeling like he "let down" his family by being unable to stop Dobby.”

Dobby drove the stolen Ford Focus in the wrong direction on one-way streets in Penge, running red lights, and swerving at high speeds around oncoming traffic.

Rozanne Cooper, the aunt of the children, also died (Facebook)

With a police car in hot pursuit, Dobby lost control of the car as he took a left turn at 55mph, the vehicle striking a bollard and being propelled into the air, landing on Ms Cooper and Makayah as they walked to the park to go on the swings and have ice cream.

Dobby, who fled from the scene but was quickly captured nearby, had been in a similar car chase in Kent five days earlier, but got away after deliberately speeding at traffic on the wrong side of a dual carriageway and forcing police to abandon the chase on safety grounds.

At the Old Bailey this morning, Dobby, came face-to-face with grieving relatives as he apologised for his actions, saying: “It was reckless and it was stupid. I understand it's caused hurt and anger.

"I know sorry doesn't cut the mustard but I'm truly sorry for what I've done."

He admitted he had taken £60 worth of crack cocaine and heroin the previous day and was funding a drug habit with petty crimes.

Two killed: Police at the scene after the crash (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

In a letter to his girlfriend from prison, Dobby wrote: "I swear by almighty God that I will never put another drug in my body. I take oath on that.

"Two innocent people have lost their lives because of my selfish f***ing actions and it all boils down to drugs. It should have been me that lost my life but it wasn't.”

After the crash, he also told police he "didn't know what he was doing" and conceded in an interview with a probation officer that he was "out of control".

But Dobby insisted today that he was not high at the time of the crash or affected by drug withdrawal symptoms.

He was spotted by police at around 2pm on August 31 driving the stolen car in Penge, hoping to sell it for cash to buy more drugs.

The court heard police who were pursuing commented that the situation was "low risk" and they are under investigation for their handling of the incident.

In the previous car chase, Dobby got away by driving so dangerously the police had to back off for the safety of the public.

He sped at up to 80mph, driving at oncoming traffic, taking roundabouts in the wrong direction and overtaking on blind bends at speed.

Dobby, who has never had a driving licence, was on licence from an 18-week prison sentence for handling stolen goods at the time of the crash, and has an April 2010 conviction for aggravated vehicle taking which ended in a crash.

It also emerged that Dobby is the estranged son of millionaire Mark Dobby, who lives in a £2.7m house in Kent and runs a pet food wholesale company as well as an investments company and a property lettings agency.

At the time of the crash, he was 'sofa-surfing' with friends or sleeping in a car.

Mitigating, Tyrone Smith QC said: "His upbringing can only be described as horrific. 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."

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC also sentenced Dobby for 16 months concurrent for dangerous driving relating to an incident on August 26 last year on the A228 near Snodland in Kent.

He took account of Dobby's life which was "unhappy and very difficult and not always of your own making" which contributed to "poor decision making" and found he was a significant risk to the public in the future.

Even though Dobby did not have a driving licence, the judge further disqualified him for 15 years.

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